Direct Action Organizing (DAO) — Charles McNair, Jr.

For those interested in taking an active role in their respective
communities, below is a preliminary outline for organizing.

What is Direct Action Organizing (DAO)?

It is slightly different than other types of organizing. As the name implies, it employs direct action. The grassroots (the people) are the backbone of DAO.

In a democracy, Direct Action Organizing is a critical aspect of insuring that the voice of the people are heard and counted. When we talk about Power and “The People,” then we must mention DAO. Here I will give you notes on DAO to better equip you to navigate the power currents that will come against you and your community.

3 fundamental principles of DAO:
  1. Win concrete improvements in people’s lives.
  2. Make people aware of their own power.
  3. Alter the relations of power between citizens and local, state, and federal governments by:

    building strong permanent local, state, and national organizations. Changing laws and regulations to give us more power. Electing people who support us.

Steps to DAO:
  • Identify the problem.
  • Turn the problem into an issue.
  • Develop a strategy.
  • Involve large numbers of people.
  • Objectively assess target's reaction.
  • Proceed to the next campaign, or regroup and revisit the issue with additional power.

The Majority-Strategy is the principle upon which Direct Action Organizing is based.

The issues you choose are supported by the majority of your constituency and will not be actively opposed by organized groups with larger numbers.

  • A problem is a large complex entity that needs to be broken down and attacked issue by issue. An issue is a specific solution, or partial solution that addresses the problem.

Forms of Citizen Power:

  • Type of Power . . . What Matters
  • Electoral votes and money
  • Consumer ability to cut profits.
  • Clearly identified brands.
  • Legal-Regulatory
  • Clear laws and regulations.
  • Free legal help.
  • Strikes – Disruptive Ability to cut profits.
  • Keep institution from functioning.

Criteria for Choosing an Issue:

Improve people’s lives
Heighten awareness of an individual's own power
Alter the relations of power
Worthwhile & winnable
Widely & d
eeply felt
Easy to understand
Clearly defined target
Precise time frame for action
Builds leadership
Prepares you for the next issue
Has a pocketbook angle
Able to raise money
onsistent with values and vision

If you're interested in more in-depth facilitation of DAO and training, feel free to contact me at:

Aluta Continua
«The Stuggle Continues»