videl wrote (edited )

One last thing. This is more general advice on groups. In my experience, group life typically flows in the way that is described there. Helpful to keep in mind.

At this stage everything feels wonderful. The air is rich with possibility, everyone is getting along great. We think our group is fantastic. We might look at other groups and wonder why they seem to struggle so much! But the reason it’s working like this is that we haven’t yet agreed our group culture, and are managing to avoid differences and disagreements. During this stage, it is important that your group:
• Take time to really meet and listen to each other. Create a shared sense of purpose
• Get to know each other better. How is each person under stress, what do they care about, how good are they are sharing their thoughts and emotions?
• Agree structures that will help the group work well
• Create group agreements, particularly around decision-making.
• Recognise that rather than just leaping into doing stuff, giving attention to this stuff is just as, if not more, important.

After a while you might find tensions arising, arguments happening, people who have taken on roles of responsibility being challenged. Things can feel contentious, uncomfortable and upsetting, especially to people who don’t like conflict. But this is a key stage, and if your group can get through it, it will be much stronger and more resilient as a result. What’s happening is that you have reached a stage where there is enough trust in the group for people to feel able to challenge and disagree with each other. Groups often fail at this stage, but it is essential, it is your group working out how to operate. Several things can help get you through this stage: • Good listening • A neutral facilitator • Repeating back: “what I heard you say is…” • Patience • Shared purpose During this stage, some people may leave, and that’s OK. This tends to be when the need for processes and structures is most keenly felt.

In this stage, agreements are reached about how you’re going to work together, roles are defined, structures agreed upon, procedures for meetings. Relationships have deepened to a level very different from the Forming stage. In this stage, all group members move towards sharing the responsibility and commitment to work for the success of the group’s goals. Things that help this stage go well include: • Honouring people who leave: this may not work for everyone. If people choose to step out, find a suitable way to honour everything they have brought to the group • It’s happening: a sense that the group is coming together, is able to work well: it feels like being part of something exciting.

This is when you find yourselves feeling that you are being effective and getting things done easily. That feels good! You’ll find your group competent and motivated, with each person clear as to their role and task. There is good communication and people work well together. The group is good at making decisions together, and can hold people accountable for their tasks. Differences and disagreements are seen as part of a healthy group culture. Achievements are regularly celebrated, and space is made for reflection as to where the group might like to go in the future.

It may be that projects your group initiates will fail, that people leave the group, or even that the whole group stops for one reason or another. It’s important to mark these endings appropriately. If one or more people leave, mark the occasion: share a meal; give a gift, a card. If the group is ending, have a shared event to celebrate all that you have achieved. Make space to talk about the loss and sadness people might be feeling, and to appreciate what it is that you have enjoyed about working with each other. You may need to agree a way to pass on any assets the group may be left with.

In the life of a group it is rare that its evolution happens in the sequence set out here. Often they happen alongside each other. Your Norming could be accompanied by a lot of Storming, for instance!


videl wrote

What does your sister think? I would make sure she's ok with whatever you decide as she'll likely be dealing with whatever consequences if things don't go as you would like. Besides that maybe the 2 of you can come up with a good plan since she's an employee. She would know better than any of us how to best screw the business.


videl wrote

Please use your best judgement with all these ideas. I've never done any school organizing and have just brainstormed these:

  1. Create a zine / school paper to spread around the school. Get people interested in the group and perhaps declare days of action like "on X date we will not wear uniforms" or "on X date we will provide healthier and tastier meals ourselves"
  2. Start a radical meme group on whatever social media platform has the most of your peers on it. Could work well with the zine.
  3. Try and get faculty support. This could look like having the school counselor write a piece for your zine / school paper or provide support during actions.
  4. If you're feeling brave and your school has some sort of talent show or something you could maybe come up with some sort of subversive performance
  5. Agitate students. I've been wondering why it is that students are still going to compulsory school despite all the horrible things going on in the world. Just between school shootings and inaction on climate change, you would have to physically force me to attend. I understand that kids want to see their friends and family pressure to go to school exists but I'm still surprised that a lot of kids haven't just dramatically decreased their attendance. So maybe mention this to other students. Ask "why are we attending school and preparing for the future when the adults won't take any steps to ensure that there will even be a future?" And just talk about how school sucks in general. But try not to be too much of a downer I guess.

In general, I think you want to do work that will get as many students to join you on your days of action where you will then refuse the school's way of doing things and possibly provide alternatives.

Side note: You'd probably be interested in this book Deschooling Society
Doesn't really say much about organizing on the student level but it's a good read and might help you with some ideas still.

Good luck! I wish I was as bright as you when I was your age.


videl wrote (edited )

I was told that they changed the rules about birth certificates sometime between now and when I was born so that in order to get a passport it needs to have both parents on the certificate. The certificate I was given at birth only has one parent so I gotta shell out another $50+ to order a new one before they'll allow me to have a passport.

Another annoying part is that the day I went in to get the passport was the last day before they raised the processing fees for passports so now it's even more expensive.

Reply to comment by /u/ravengrace in Friday Free Talk by /u/ThreadBot


videl wrote

I feel this. A relative of mine watches several cable news shows a day and yet still hasn't heard about the IPCC report. Blows my mind that someone can watch so much news and not hear the announcement that civilization as we know it is over.


videl wrote

Hardly. Tried to get a passport recently but got denied.
Something I'd like to add to your list would be to join or start some sort of local community thing so you have a capable team that already knows how to work together and trust one another if/when things are to get especially bad. Something like Food Not Bombs or Transition Network or something.