How to write an organising report

We want to publish more reports from anarchists organising in their workplaces, and we want you to write them for us. 

Your experiences are valuable. It is important that we write about organising in order to reflect, learn, and share lessons. We need anarchists to write about wins, losses, failed attempts and mistakes made. It is not enough to simply read accounts of organising in the past (as much as that is valuable), we need to learn about what is working and what isn’t right now.

An organising report needs to cover:

  • The context. What is the industry? What work do you perform? What are the issues that you face? What prompted you to take action?
  • The action. What did you attempt to do? How did you try and address the issue? What problems or barriers did you encounter? How did you overcome these problems? How did the boss or other groups respond?
  • The results. What did you achieve? How are things different now? Was the action successful? Would you have done things differently?
  • The implications. Why should anyone outside your workplace pay attention to this? Is it part of a bigger trend? Are there lessons that can be applied elsewhere? How does this relate to our politics?

When writing an organising report:

  • Start with a strong lead that hooks the reader in. “Heat kills. In January staff at Placeholder Secondary College were working in 40 degree heat”.
  • Follow with a short summary paragraph. What critical issue does the article address? “We organised to track temperature in our workplace and forced management to install air conditioning”.
  • Assume no prior knowledge. Assume the reader does not know your industry, your politics, or the history of the topic you’re writing about. Avoid specialized jargon – or explain the meaning of any specialized terms you use.
  • Try to include some info on the work itself. What is it like to do this job on a typical day? What might be surprising or interesting to readers who don’t work in this industry?
  • The more “how-to” info you can give, the better. What specific details would be useful to readers in a similar situation?
  • Credibility is essential. Don’t guess, check your facts and cite your sources. Avoid hyperbole. The most persuasive writing is plainly stated and factual.

The ideal organising report is short and sharp. Use short sentences, short paragraphs, and aims for 500 – 800 words.

For more information on contributing to Red & Black Notes, check out the Contribute to Red & Black Notes page. This advice on how to write an organising report was adapted from Labor Notes

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