We spoke with Carol Peterson, learning and strategy lead about Movement Hub’s work.
What is the work that P4NE has funded?
Movement Hub works to strengthen and broaden the climate justice movement in Germany in the long term so that we can win crucial battles for socio-economic transformation. This movement is a vibrant actor for change in Germany and has exercised significant influence over the last decade.
P4Ne has funded Movement Hub‘s work to strengthen social movements that are working on new economy themes and for climate justice in Germany, specifically:
- our work to strengthen progressive communications
- our work to strengthen organising and
- our incubation and organisational development support for strategically important initiatives and organisations
How is it going? How are you making progress on the work?
Movement Hub is in a phase of rapid growth, and we are seeing the results of an internal organisational development process that took place at the end of last year. Our new systems for an expanded team are serving us really well.
At only a year and a half old we are old enough to see some of the first effects of our work on the new economy and climate justice ecosystem. Primarily we have developed clarity on the role that we can play in this ecosystem, we have seen that we can have a powerful catalyst effect in helping movements think through problems and that the work that we do to break down silos and to help movements learn from each other can be really transformational.
We have seen that we can have a powerful catalyst effect in helping movements think through problems and that the work that we do to break down silos and to help movements learn from each other can be really transformational.
In part, we function as a micro-re-granter, but we also provide a range of other services to support progressive movements and organisations such as; referrals, advice, and links to experts. This builds a formidable network.
We are so proud to have been able to support really important work by a range of actors using different theories of change to tackle economic transition questions in the automotive, energy and housing sectors. Movements that raise important questions (and voices) about the environmental effect of Green manufacturing, propose solutions such as the 9 Euro Germany-wide public transport ticket, and seek ways to build coalitions in communities that are not usually associated with new economy initiatives for climate justice work.
We also have the first results on two of our big partnership projects: tenant organising and strategic communications. In 2022 we dived into the challenge of adapting some of the groundbreaking work that NEON undertook in the UK for the German context, such as the Race-Class narrative and Framing the Economy reports. We’ve seen some excellent early results
How do you feel it is contributing to shifting us towards a ‘new economy’?
Grassroots movements play a vital role in the project of transforming our economy so that we can live within planetary boundaries. Think tanks and policy work are also important drivers of change, but grassroots movements, particularly those that are well linked up to other sectors are sometimes uniquely able to achieve paradigm shifts and open up political windows of opportunity that other actors could not achieve alone.
In Germany grassroots democratic movements have taken the initiative on questions of ownership and democratic management, as well as questions of socially and ecologically just housing and industrial transformation. In many of these topics the movement’s actions provided the initiating catalyst for a flourishing of debate and knowledge production in academia and think tanks.
Obviously, movements can be very influential with their press work as well. Probably everyone is familiar with the images that have been generated by the German climate justice movement when tens of thousands of people mobilised in support of the coal phase-out. Less well known is the work of the housing movements and their use of the referendum tool to successfully put a new model for democratically owned and managed housing firmly on the agenda in Berlin.
None of the new economy changes that we seek will be possible without social movements that can capture the public’s imagination and desire for political participation with big bold well-timed actions, but we will also need the slow relationship building work of community organising to connect with people who are not and will never be “activists”. Movement Hub has strategies to support both these types of work.
None of the new economy changes that we seek will be possible without social movements that can capture the public’s imagination and desire for political participation with big bold well-timed actions, but we will also need the slow relationship building work of community organising to connect with people who are not and will never be “activists”.
The landscape analysis carried out by Demos Helsinki lists 8 transformational levers that are used by New Economy actors – every single one of these is used either by Movement Hub or by a group in the ecosystem we support. Embracing the non-linear approach as strategically valuable, we support a whole ecosystem of progressive approaches.
Where do you see the greatest opportunities in the ‘new economy’ field that are yet to be realised?
In Germany there is debate about how to achieve pre-distributional justice. How to fight inequality not just after the fact, but create systems that do not produce it in the first place. A part of this challenge is building the institutions and cultures that are needed for democratic ownership and management of shared assets and infrastructure. No one wants to spend half their week in a management meeting, so there is a push to find out what a desirable and practical form of democratic ownership and management might look like.
In Germany there is debate about how to achieve pre-distributional justice. How to fight inequality not just after the fact, but create systems that do not produce it in the first place.
Movement Hub itself is a flat self-organised structure and we have made some really interesting discoveries about how to run an organisation efficiently, and make timely and good decisions while sharing out management tasks across multiple shoulders. We are not cynical on this point! We would love to support the long-term work that is needed to develop democratic management models that really work for people and explore the role of democracy in pre-distributional justice. The other opportunity that we see and would love to grasp more tightly in the future is to build stronger connections between policy experts and movements.
The other opportunity that we see and would love to grasp more tightly in the future is to build stronger connections between policy experts and movements.
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