Creating power in Oklahoma

The Incorruptibles presented four workshops in Oklahoma the weekend of January 19-21, 2018.  We are thrilled at the speed at which these activists have absorbed our new model and already won elections using it!

BEFORE:

Our Revolution Oklahoma was meeting once a month. They did not have any particular plan to run any candidates for city council in Oklahoma City.

“There is so much more energy in the group now than there was before your workshops.” 
— Melody Ball, Our Revolution Oklahoma

DURING:

Over 50 people took at least one of The Incorruptibles’ workshops in Oklahoma (over 25 in Oklahoma City). Activists at the workshops in Oklahoma City identified which city councilors they believe are on their side and which need to be replaced.

Two candidates (for state house and county sheriff) attended the workshops.

After a full day of workshops on Saturday, a group of 15 of the attendees (including two candidates) went out together for dinner to continue talking about how to apply this new model. The Incorruptibles volunteers and staff had long conversations about slates and pseudo-slates with the attendees, as well as other topics.

AFTER:

“The workshops in Oklahoma were fabulous! Thanks so much for giving us a template; we were just talking tonight, and a board member said that the Incorruptibles’ workshops were the most significant thing we’ve done yet as an Our Revolution group. The clarity of concepts was so helpful.”
— Melody Ball, Our Revolution Oklahoma Board member

Winning campaigns

In Norman, OK, activists used our small dollar donation, community involvement, coordinated campaign, and public forum techniques to elect a progressive candidate for the Norman City Council. Alex Scott, 24, became the youngest city council member ever elected in Norman on April 3, 2018, when she beat the Ward 8 incumbent 58% to 42%. Multiple activists who attended our workshops contacted to tell us that her campaign owes its win in part to our training.

New organization

Activists who attended the workshops formed a new group, Our Oklahoma City, dedicated to taking over the Oklahoma City City Council with progressives. This new group is meeting every week to strategize how they will implement The Incorruptibles’ model in their city.

Requests for training

Both Our Revolution Oklahoma and Our Oklahoma City plan to take The Incorruptibles’ Participatory Democracy workshop (in part to help convince their one progressive city councillor, who plans to step down, to remain on the council). They will also take the Convincing Coalition Partners workshop to help them when they begin to focus on coalition building in the near future.

Running candidates for city council

Our Oklahoma City has identified three of the eight wards as targets based on where they believe they have both natural strength and sitting city councillors they want to replace. One of the activists at the workshop has already stepped up to run for city council:

“When approached with the idea of running in my Ward 6 election (such as when I was walking out of Sunday’s Incorruptibles workshop at the Norman Library), my response is: I am not interested in running for office as a lone ranger. I am very interested in running for city council within an OKC Incorruptibles organization following the run-organize-run model.”
— Sam Fredrickson

The group has plans to cultivate candidates for the other seats through coalition building. They plan to announce their slate of candidates in September in preparation for the February, 2019 elections.

Coalition building

They are already building alliances with other progressive organizations with the goal of taking over Oklahoma City. They are working with the local DSA chapter; they are supporting the imminent teachers’ strike to meet both teachers and other union members who might become candidates or coalition partners; and they have been canvassing for the medical marijuana ballot measure at the state level to meet more activists and begin building their coalition.

Slates of candidates

Candidates for state house, county sheriff, and Norman City Council are following The Incorruptibles’ advice about slates. After discussion with The Incorruptibles, these candidates have joined forces and are now sharing resources in their campaigns. They meet regularly, cut turfs to allow for joint canvassing, and promote each other’s candidacies. The candidate for sheriff has cut ties with an expensive campaign consulting firm because he sees more value in the shared resources with the other candidates.

We can’t wait to see how the group in Oklahoma continues to build grassroots power!