The phrase was coined by Gandhi whose famous salt and spinning campaigns combined both direct action and constructive program into powerful forces for change. A constructive program is more than a positive project; it should have political and social significance. It increases the self-reliance of the movement and lessens the dependency on the opposition. A constructive program is comprised of tangible actions that anyone can do (such as making salt or spinning cotton). Constructive program balances noncooperation with the destructive, with cooperation with the life-affirming or beneficial. Even if a constructive program is not directly confrontational to the injustice the movement faces, it should have revolutionary potential – if it succeeds, it should have the capacity to unravel the entire knot of the problem the movement faces.
Here’s a couple other examples of movements that used constructive program: the Civil Rights Movement (especially in the construction of Freedom Schools during the Mississippi Freedom Summer), and the United Farm Workers when they established their Credit Union.
Think for a moment. How might your movement use constructive program?
In the Dandelion Insurrection novel, the characters used local food and urban gardening, creating an Alternet, the Suburban Renaissance’s tool coops and child care programs, and the training retreats of the “Dandelion Farms” to increase the self-reliance and resilience of the movement.
What is The Dandelion Insurrection? It’s a novel about a nonviolent movement for change in “a time that looms around the corner of today”, set in a (slightly) fictionalized United States to oust a not-so-hidden corporate dictatorship. Read the book, live the story.
You can find the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Dandelion-Insurrection-love-revolution/dp/098481325X
Not a fan of mega-corporations? You can also get a copy here: http://www.riverasun.com/online-store/the-dandelion-insurrection/
Author/Activist Rivera Sun, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is the author of The Dandelion Insurrection, Billionaire Buddha and Steam Drills, Treadmills, and Shooting Stars, the cohost of Love (and Revolution) Radio, and the cofounder of the Love-In-Action Network. She is a trainer and social media coordinator for Campaign Nonviolence and Pace e Bene. Sun attended the James Lawson Institute on Strategic Nonviolent Resistance in 2014 and her essays on social justice movements appear in Truthout and Popular Resistance. www.riverasun.com