Political Education in Social Movements and Theory

DSA’s National Political Education Committee (NPEC) invites political educators and activists from DSA chapters, OCs and National Committees to participate in a collective research project on Political Education in Social, Labor & Political Movements.

In the words of Lenin, “Without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement.” Without critical and strategic thinking informing our activism, we risk achieving short-term reforms and not the long-term structural transformation we seek. For this project we hope to learn from the work of other social movements, to serve as example, inspiration, or caution for our own work.

Participants will choose a social movement (eg, Bernie Sanders campaign, the Black Panthers, Russian Revolutionaries, Third World movements, early 20th century CPUSA, United Farm Workers, Starbucks strikers, Germany’s SPD Party School) or political thinkers’ education theory (eg, Lenin, Krupskaya, Gramsci, Freire) to report back on. 

Research-wise, we’re seeking a simple “who, what, when, where, why and how,” plus useful/relevant links. Submissions will be aggregated here into a mini-wiki on the methods and principles in political education that we stand to learn from (the inclusion of any party, movement, or theory, however, does not represent an official organizational stance by DSA or NPEC). This project is now underway, with a number of topics just claimed. Those interested in participating can reach out to [email protected] for more information. 

Early examples below! See submission guidelines here.

Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement

The Ethiopian Student Movement (1960–1974)

Paolo Freire and Political Education

Antonio Gramsci on Political Education