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Masterclass for Activists


Aug 16, 2020

Episode 3 Strategy for Success discusses how to design and execute a winning strategy.

In this episode, our host Emeritus Professor Ed Davis is joined by Sally McManus (Secretary, Australian Council of Trade Unions), Bill Kelty AC (former Secretary, Australian Council of Trade Unions) and Tom McDonald AM (former National Secretary, Building Workers Industrial Union and ACTU Vice President).

Working people confront a power imbalance in our society and to overcome injustice, says Sally McManus, activists need to learn to be very good at strategy. This episode is rich in stories and learnings that will better enable activists to design and implement successful campaigns.

Strategy has been described as “the art of creating power” and comes into play when values and interests collide.  Union elder Tom McDonald kicks off the conversation by exploring the significance of the ideas of Sun Tzu, the legendary Chinese general, strategist and philosopher from 500 BCE, who famously said that “tactics without strategy” is the “noise before the defeat” but that “strategy without tactics” was the “quickest route to defeat.”

Our panel discuss some of the great moments in forging a fairer Australia, and dive into the winning strategy and tactics used in the fight for equal pay for community sector workers and the epic battle for superannuation for all Australian workers.

Listeners are also in for another treat from Chloe and Jason Roweth, whose songs of struggle have inspired activists across the generations. In this episode they perform Don’t Be Too Polite Girls (Words by Glen Tomasetti to the traditional tune of Flash Jack from Gundagai). Find out more about the Roweths’ music here.

This podcast series has been produced by Deliberately Engaging in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals to build the capabilities of civil society and give people a greater voice. Learn more about the UN Goals and our podcasts here.

The series has been made possible by the support of the Committee to Defend Trade Unions Rights, Tony and Nina Bleasdale, our discussants and musicians, and the ACTU.