Building the Whirlwind

The Movement Story part 1

How relationship-building nurtured the movement

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Before September 27, there was March 15th. Before March 15th, there were grassroots-level organizers connecting and building momentum.

The first significant way that some progressive institutions in Quebec contributed to the climate moment of 2019 was by supporting these grassroots organizations during the year before that massive protest, which had fewer resources than more formal institutions.

This started with building relationships.

It’s not news to anyone that building relationships means building trust. Both individuals and organizations are much more likely to work with people and groups where there is reciprocity and respect. While the dominant idea is that building relationships occurs naturally in the course of organizing and mobilizing, we find it requires flexibility and openness to sharing power.

Building relationships takes intention

In Quebec, there is a widespread ENGO culture of devoting at least one staff person per organization to being in touch with the grassroots. Even if this staff member’s job description officially has them working on leading one of the ENGOs’ campaigns, informally, this person has the freedom to spend a...