How to use this handbook

The PMA methodology is not the property of any single organization, person, or group.

This Organizing Handbook is designed for organizers, educators, activists, and community members who want to use the Peoples Movement Assembly methodology to build power in their community, on their frontline struggle, and in our social movements.

Social Movements throughout history and around the world have used assemblies to make decisions. Movements, particularly in the Global South – Africa, Asia, and Latin America have used assemblies to advance the practice of people power, self-determination, and governance.

In the 21st century, social movements are building power through radical democratic, participatory spaces that respect and trust the collective voice of people in struggle.

World Social Forums are semi-annual convergences that create open space for movements to share, connect, and strengthen beyond the boundaries of political parties, initiated in resistance to the World Economic Forum. The Social Movement Assembly was created to make and implement movement decisions within the World Social Forum. The Peoples Movement Assembly is a political methodology born out of the Social Movement Assembly process and the United States Social Forum (more history on pages 6-7).

Over the last decade, countless organizations and struggles have contributed to the collective efforts to build movements that liberate all people using the Peoples Movement Assemblies. The PMA Handbook is a fusion of that thinking, experience, and work.

  • Section 1: OVERVIEW The Handbook includes a historical timeline and overview of the PMA process in the U.S. in order to locate the assembly within a movement continuum and connect to current examples.
  • Section 2: GLOBAL CASE STUDIES The PMA Handbook includes snapshots of historical and current liberation movements using assemblies and assembly practices to grow power.
  • Section 3: HOW IT WORKS Assemblies are different depending on the group, the purpose, and the function. The PMA Handbook offers insight into the fundamental characteristics of assemblies that are useful for the organizing process Before, During, & After the Assembly.
  • Section 4: TOOLS & TIPS The PMA Handbook offers resources including planning tools, sample agendas, methodology descriptions, notetaking tips, and guidelines for synthesis development.