Be fluent in power, and the various ways we can use it for our collective benefit.

Be fluent in power, which means learning about the different forms.

To citizen is to understand power and its various forms. We often hear a story about “powerful people” and “powerless people.” In a democracy (people power), there is no such distinction. We all  have power and we owe it to ourselves to understand how it works and how to use it to create change that benefits the collective. Our power extends far beyond our ability to delegate that power through the act of voting. We have the power to spread ideas, to spend money, to gather in groups, and to withhold or give our attention to something. Every decision we make can be powerful and usually has an impact on others around us. To cite Eric Liu of Citizen University, power is simply the ability to have others do what we want. It is not inherently good or bad. To citizen is to use power responsibly to help improve the lives of the many versus a few. 


KEY Ideas

  • In order to have a culture of democracy, people need to understand power.
  • When you understand power, you can use it to positively benefit the collective.
  • Power is not inherently good or bad; it is present in any room you walk into.
  • Eric Liu’s definition of power (need Eric Liu / CU attribution).
  • We hold power through our attention, voice, and resources.
  • Choosing to use a bank based on its climate investment strategy.
  • Signing a petition.
  • Attending a rally.
  • Using your purchasing power to create change.
  • Joining a union or a coop to stand in solidarity with other workers.
  • Using your influence to model certain choices or behaviors.
  • Sharing ideas publicly on your platform or helping shine light on others ideas using your platform.
  • Being conscious of where you direct your attention as a form of power

Workers’ Rights

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