Purpose

What We Believe

At the heart of our work is a vision of radical, participatory, and inclusive democracy. We believe governing power should reside with diverse communities and workers. We believe social and political life can be organized around principles that recognize the intrinsic worth and value of all human beings. We believe we are stronger when everyone participates fully in our political, social and economic institutions, and when everyone enjoys the benefits of our shared prosperity. Further, we believe that creating this kind of inclusive, democratic society requires ongoing engagement on the part of diverse coalitions of groups in society, including and especially, leadership from communities of color.

Our work is informed by critical analysis of political, economic and cultural systems, with special attention to structures and practices that perpetuate historic injustices. At this moment we think it is critical to understand the rise of neoliberal political-economic regimes and the role of race and especially structural racism in shaping our institutions.

Our Core Work

GPP was founded and began working with social change groups in 1993. We saw a need to bridge the gap between those who were doing policy analysis and those who were doing base-building and organizing. As groups started incorporating our frameworks, we saw more clearly how organizing groups can get stuck on a treadmill of short-termism. We began to focus on the organizational structures and relationships that can move groups beyond fragmented work toward advancing more coherent political programs for transforming our society. Another way of describing our purpose is: helping to build a powerful progressive movement that is more than the sum of its parts, that has the power to promote a progressive agenda, and that moves a progressive worldview into state and national political discourses.

How We Approach Our Work

GPP weaves theory into practice by mining the best ideas from social and political sciences, as well as from history, including the histories of social movements. We apply these ideas to actual organizing—base-building, coalition-building, networking, campaign and electoral work. We evaluate groups’ experiences applying our frameworks, which leads to further refinement, new ideas and new applications.

Our programs are designed to help organizations link their short-term organizing and campaign work with their mission and with the fundamental questions of economic and political democracy and racial and environmental justice in our society. We work with groups that are committed to shifting resources and priorities towards a long-term strategy. We believe that a set of long-term goals for social transformation can change how groups work day-to-day.

We undertake long-term work with specific organizations. We have found that activists and leaders appreciate the concepts related to power, worldview, and strategy. However, though they like these ideas and want to adopt them, it is hard to change organizational priorities, practices, and culture. So we work closely with organizations over time, helping them change internal cultures in order to achieve more strategic practices.

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When a popular brand, like Nike or Gillette, makes a positive, liberatory statement in its advertising, it matters more than I would have thought. Of course, any blow-back from the ad tends to benefit the brand (otherwise, they would not do it; improving the bottom line is the ultimate goal, still and after all).

The evidence of how it matters came to me in this heartfelt message from my Niece. With her permission, I am sharing it here.

******

So I shared this (the Gillette Ad) yesterday without explanation thinking it didn't need one. My mistake. Based on the controversy I am seeing, clearly it needs explaining. We can go back and forth and debate how advertising treats, respects, disrespects men/women all day long. Women have a very long history of truly insulting advertising to pull from. But here's the thing: There's nothing insulting about this advertisment. Gillette knows not all men are pigs. Most women would concur that not all men are pigs. We KNOW this! That isn't the point of this commercial at all. So hear me out.
What this commerical is asking, what the women in your life, GOOD MEN, are asking, is that you not silently wince when you are in the minority. When a co worker, a friend, an acquaintance makes a sexist, racist joke bullies another, don't silently wince, don't dismiss it, respectfully call that BS OUT! "Hey, Man, not cool. Not funny." No, we women, Gillette, do not believe that this commerical is going to suddenly make the jerks and the mean men in the world do a one eighty and rethink their ways. But you know what might? Seeing, hearing GOOD MEN, you, our husbands, our fathers, our brothers, our sons speak up and say "Not cool, not okay." Make the wrong uncomfortable for them instead of shifting uncomfortably in silence. So they don't take the message to heart, they scoff, what's the point? Why bother? Because your sons, your daughters, your younger co-workers, because others are watching. Because you can help shape the next generation into GOOD MEN. And when enough of the good men in our lives do that, when they set that beautiful example for the young generation maybe, just maybe future generations won't have to fight as hard for equality and respect for all. Maybe the good men and women will make the bad men and women feel uncomfortable enough that we don't have to explain why those jokes, that bullying, those racists undertones aren't okay because most will already know. Wouldn't that be nice?
So men, instead of being offended that Gillette is assuming the good men are listening and willing to speak up with them, be offended at the other guys. You want to get offended at advertising? Go ahead. Be offended at the beer commercial that assumes all men are pubescent boys worshipping endlessly at the altar of alcohol, sports, and sex. Be offended at the commercial that says buy our product and have sex with allllllll the women you want, that's what they're there for and you are just following your instincts, an animal with no deeper thought or context. Be offended at the commerical that suggests that you are too ignorant to be useful to your wife. Be offended at the commerical that shrugs and says "Boys will be boys, why bother?" Don't be offended at the guys and women who think you should expect better from your advertising. Don't be offended at the ones who believe and expect that you can be and ARE better than that. Yes, men need to be better represented in advertising. So what do you say men? Are you ready to speak up against the real offenders, the ones who treat you like base animals who just follow your hormones? Women have managed to get better representation in advertising. Oh, it's not perfect but I am pretty sure that an ad of a man spanking his wife for dinner not being ready wouldn't fly today. That was a real advertisiment. Why are those no longer the norm? Because women SPOKE UP. So men, good men, please, we invite you: SPEAK UP. Speak up against sexism, racsim, violence, bullying in advertisement and in your work place, your hang out places, wherever you see it. But don't get angry when we ask and expect better of you. Be mad at the ones who don't.