Popular Education: Constructing Power and Democracy in our Community and Organization

Do you learn better by listening or by doing?

LUPE leaders and staff learned by doing in a training on Popular Education by Colectivo Flatlander member Pancho Arguelles.

Popular Education uses pictures and activities to encourage discussion and reflection on the issues affecting our lives. Popular education is based upon the principles that all people have knowledge, based on their experiences in life, and all people have dignity as human beings. Through reflection, participants bring their own knowledge to the educational process, becoming both students and teachers. Popular Education has as a distinctive element the political intention of building a knowledge that turns into collective action for liberation and social transformation.

Working with Pancho, LUPE is beginning to use popular education methods in our organizing. More than 20 LUPE leaders and all LUPE staff trained with Pancho in using popular education to cultivate democracy in our organization in order to build power.

“We learned the importance of reaching the roots of not only the problem,” says LUPE Executive Director Juanita Valdez-Cox, “but also the solution so we can create real and permanent social change.”

Popular Education helps us identify, through democratic process based in reflection, the change we want and helps us animate our community to participate in that change. Colectivo Flatlander tell us: “If we eliminate the reflection part, we are reducing organizing to mobilizing, if we eliminate the action part, we are just intellectualizing the struggle.”

They continue: “We are looking to construct Power: personal, community and popular power; to transform our lives and our reality, to construct a more just and humane world for everyone. This is our intention, but the intention needs a path.”

Pancho is helping LUPE find our own path, one built with collective knowledge and dignity.

Check out more on Popular Education on Colectivo Flatlander’s website.

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