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“A brilliant spark that will fly through the air and set the vapors of our insurrectionary imaginations alight.”

John Jordan, founder of Reclaim the Streets

Patrick Reinsborough

Patrick Reinsborough is a strategist, organizer and creative provocateur with over twenty years of experience campaigning for peace, justice, indigenous rights and ecological sanity. Patrick has helped organize countless creative interventions, including mass direct actions that shut down the Seattle WTO meeting in 1999 and protested the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. He is the author of numerous essays on social change theory and practice, including co-writing Re:Imagining Change (PM Press 2010). He is the co-founder of the Center for Story-based Strategy (formerly known as smartMeme), a movement support organization which harnesses the power of narrative for fundamental social change. He lives with his family in the San Francisco Bay area.

Contributed Modules

Theory: Framing

Contributed by and
January 21, 2014

In the words of media researcher Charlotte Ryan, “A frame is a thought organizer, highlighting certain events and facts as important, and rendering others invisible.” Framing a message correctly can make or break an entire campaign.

Principle: Think narratively

Contributed by and
June 5, 2012

Sometimes the best response to a powerful enemy is a powerful story.

Principle: Show, don’t tell

Contributed by , and
June 3, 2012

Use metaphor, visuals and action to show your message rather than falling into preaching, hectoring or otherwise telling your audience what to think.

Principle: Reframe

Contributed by and
June 2, 2012

The easiest way to win an argument is to redefine the terms of the debate.

Principle: Lead with sympathetic characters

Contributed by and
May 31, 2012

Good actions tell a good story; good stories revolve around sympathetic characters.

Theory: Points of intervention

Contributed by and
May 24, 2012

A point of intervention is a physical or conceptual place within a system where pressure can be put to disrupt its smooth functioning and push for change.

Theory: Narrative power analysis

Contributed by and
May 24, 2012

All power relations have a narrative dimension. Narrative power analysis is a systematic methodology for examining the stories that abet the powers that be in order to better challenge them.

Theory: Memes

Contributed by and
May 24, 2012

Memes (rhymes with “dreams”) are self-replicating units of cultural information that spread virally from mind to mind, network to network, generation to generation.

Tactic: Media-jacking

Contributed by , and
May 17, 2012

To undermine your opposition’s narrative by hijacking their event; to draw attention to your side of the story; to capitalize on your target’s media presence; to reframe an issue; to be a jackass.