query: accountability sessions

colist-admin at comm-org.utoledo.edu colist-admin at comm-org.utoledo.edu
Thu Jul 18 07:42:01 CDT 2002

[ed:  Matthew's query gives us the opportunity to discuss 
confrontational vs. non-confrontational forms of organizing, along 
with the specific tactic of accountability sessions used by many 
groups.  Please copy COMM-ORG with your responses.]

From: "Gladue, Matthew" <gladuem at archspm.org>

Dear colleagues,

I've both read about and witnessed accountability sessions held by 
the local Gamaliel Foundation affiliate, and seen some others in 
other settings.  

On the one hand, I really like them. They obviously allow people to 
shape their own agenda and run a meeting with real results, and, 
when done well, they shift power from politicians to people. I also 
like that they're a little edgy in their tone.   

On the other hand, the few I've witnessed have adamantly adhered 
to a "hard pin" strategy, in which decision makers are coerced into 
one word "yes" or "no" responses, and only have the microphone 
after they've agreed to an organization's demands.   

I understand the reasoning behind it--it keeps leaders from losing 
control of a meeting. I'm wondering, though, if you and your leaders 
have ever created an accountability session that included more 
opportunity for dialogue without losing control of the group's ability 
to hold an elected official accountable.  

I'm looking forward to peoples' responses. Take care.

Matt Gladue
Office for Social Justice
Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis

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