How To Organize A Rally

How To Organize A Rally

The rally is an action used specifically to build momentum and popular engagement around a particular issue or set of issues, call a people into action, and broadcast information to the people. At its core it is a politicized platform in which revolutionary ideas can be spread to the people.

The rally has been used in countless ways through out history to build popular support for movements and compel a people to act. The Black Power movements of the 60s relied heavily on the formation of rallies, where iconic figures the likes of Ella Baker, Malcolm X, Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichel), Fred Hampton, and others could speak directly to people. Such organizing provided the backbone of popular support for the movement. Although we are well past charismatic leadership becoming the face of resistance movements (which can often happen at rallies), the rally still has very useful functions.

The organizing potential for rallies are enormous. Not only can messages of decolonization be broadcast out to the people, but rallies are ideal spaces for the mass dissemination of information. Print materials such as zines, pamphlets, newspapers, and informational literature must be present at rallies. Oral communication at the rally is one of the most obvious ways that information gets to be disseminated. Speakers at the rally can be organized in strategic ways to get across useful information to the people. Members of your organizing body can be spread out among the crowd, handing out print materials and starting one-on-one conversations with people to pass on information. As a tool of disruption a rally can be held outside of government buildings, in front of corporations and businesses, and in the middle of major roadways. This increases the potential for the radicalization of the people.

Where ever possible, it is also important to uplift further marginalized voices such as femme and queer people. The rally should be generally used as a platform belonging to the voices of the most marginalized among us.

Step One: Identify the Purpose of the Rally

Before planning, identify the main purpose and goals of the rally. What concerns of the people are you organizing around? Are there any calls to action? What do you want people to take away from the rally? What is your message? Listing these will help you decide on the shape and direction of the rally.

Step Two: Form an Organizing Body

The rally will go much smoother if you have a team of comrades who are involved in the organizing. Set up a meeting in which you discuss and decide together the parameters of the action. Come up with a possible date and time for the action as well as a location. When deciding a location, keep in mind accessibility and accommodations for disabled people. Members should include people who experience further marginalizing oppressions. Delegate responsibilities and set up accountability systems for dealing with patriarchy, ablism and anti-queerness.

Step Three: Outlining the Program

Outline the rally program with your organizing group. The basic rally program consists of an opening statement, a number of scheduled speakers, and often a speak-out at the end. The careful selection of your speakers is very important because they are largely the brunt of the rally. Be sure to pick speakers that are good orators and can engage with the crowd on the key issues that the rally aims to address. Poetry and other performances are staples during a rally that help to break up the succession of speakers and engage with the crowd in a different way. You should have revolutionary poets and performers as apart of your line-up.

Step Four: Outreach

Utilize all methods of communication to push the rally out to the people including social media, print, radio, and word of mouth. Be clear on the date and time of the event as well as the location. It might be helpful to make fliers that your organizing team can distribute. Be aware that a large outreach effort may alert the police as to the details of the event.

Step Five: The Rally

You will need to have a megaphone or sound amplifying device. Print out as many copies of the print materials that you are going to distribute as possible. Make the necessary amount of signs before hand that can be distributed in the audience. You will want to arrive at the rally location 15-20 minutes early for set-up and sound check. Members of your organizing group should be given print materials so that they can distribute as they move through the crowd. When a sizable number of people are gathered, and all of your speakers are prepared, you are ready to begin the rally.