System Change on a Deadline: Organizing Lessons from Canada’s Leap Manifesto
This reflection piece (essay), published in the Heinrich Heinrich Böll Stiftung Ecology series, documents the lessons learned from organizing the Canada’s Leap Manifesto.
The authors draw on the Leap story to explore how coalition-building can break down traditional “issue” silos, which too often restrict the scope and impact of social justice activism. They consider how these new coalitions can communicate positive, detailed pictures of the world they feel we need, and deploy them to shift the goalposts of what is considered politically possible.
The Leap Manifesto emerged in May 2015, when progressive leaders from across a range of issues and regions met for a two-day gathering in Toronto, titled «From Oil Shock to Energy Shift». The gathering brought together such disparate groups as First Nations leaders and trade unionists representing oil workers; environmental organizations and activists, various NGOs, food justice, anti-poverty, and faith organizations; as well as housing, refugee, and immigrant rights activists.
They essay documents how this unlikely and diverse coalition was able to use the converging crises and opportunities of that moment, to cut across political party divides to work together to imagine a radically different future for Canada that would otherwise have not been possible.