It’s 2018, and we’re excited to continue our Map the Power project this year – to keep pushing forward a collective effort to investigate the networks of billionaires and corporations that hold power in the US.
LittleSis launched Map the Power in 2017 to train and support organizers and activists in power research – in other words, in learning and honing the skills to investigate and map out the networks of powerful corporations and elites that shape our society, politics, and economy.
We kicked Map the Power off with a webinar last May that introduced the project, discussed examples of ongoing local power research work, and gave tutorials on some tools that people could use to begin conducting their research. We also put together a toolkit and zine to help researchers, and we continued to host regular webinars to expand participants’ research skills (you can see some of the webinars here).
As part of all this, we also created some resources to help inspire people about the role of power research in social movement history – for example, with our profiles of the SNCC Research Department and NARMIC, as well as our interviews with Cortland Cox and G. William Domhoff, author of the Who Rules America?
One of the most exciting developments for Map the Power was how research pods linked to local organizing took off in several localities across the country.
In 2017, we began organizing research teams in various places. In Philadelphia, for example, 130 people attended a research training organized by LittleSis, 215 People’s Alliance, and UNITE HERE Philadelphia, and the Philly researchers put together a website that uncovers Trump’s Trump Collaborators in the city.
In 2018, we’re excited to continue working with folks in different cities to build their research teams – and one way we’re doing this is by taking Map the Power on the road to host trainings in new cities.
To kick off 2018, we partnered with Community Labor United (CLU), a community-labor coalition based in Greater Boston, to host a research training that was attended by over 50 people, including researchers, organizers, and members from a range of community groups, youth organizations, and labor unions. We have been partnering with CLU to research and map corporate power in Massachusetts.
CLU’s corporate research project aims to support organizing campaigns that are going on the offensive against privatization in the sectors of: education, health and human services, transit, and infrastructure. Together with a group of volunteer researchers, we’re investigating the corporations and individuals most responsible for creating the conditions for privatization and most directly and substantially profiting from the privatization of the public sphere. Through this research project, we’re hoping to lay a practical foundation for strategic campaign organizing that can build alliances among multiple sectors and helps build progressive people power in Massachusetts!
In 2018 we’re also planning to launch digital research projects that engage our Map the Power and LittleSis community in timely, power research-worthy topics.
Later this month, we’ll announce a research project focused on the ‘Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’ – otherwise known as the Trump Tax Cuts – and its corporate and billionaire beneficiaries. Through this project, we hope to engage LittleSis users in a power research project that can utilize the LittleSis database and put our power mapping tools to good use in telling important stories about the tremendous impact that the new tax bill will have on the redistribution of wealth in the US for decades to come.
If you’re interested in organizing a Map the Power training in your city, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay tuned for more Map the Power updates for 2018 – and if you’re interested in getting plugged in or learning more, please contact us. You can also register for our next new user training on Monday, March 19th at 6pm ET.