Crisis Action’s idea of how to organise for impact was born out of failure.
In 2003, the anti-war movement in the United Kingdom (UK) mobilised one million people from all walks of life and political persuasions to march against the invasion of Iraq. And yet, despite the largest public demonstration recorded in the country, the UK government was undeterred. They invaded Iraq anyway. In the eyes of one brilliant young campaigner, Guy Hughes, this had been an outpouring of opposition and emotion without the calibrated strategy for collective action that would cut straight through to the heart of decision-making. It was mobilisation without smart organisation.
And so Guy founded Crisis Action. It was deliberately a small outfit that would work solely behind the scenes to bring together a range of organisations and individuals to influence power. It would build coalitions that would not be based on consensus, something he believed to have a malign impact on ambitious goals and clear purpose. Crisis Action would instead utilise a new ‘opt in’ model of organising.
With the support of Amnesty International UK, Oxfam GB and other founding partners, Crisis Action began to grow and develop its unique model of clever coalition building.
In 2005, tragically, Guy died in a mountain climbing accident. But his vision of world class clever coalition-building and campaigning continued: he left the blueprint and foundations for the organisation Crisis Action is today, and the methodologies we share with you in the video below and our Handbook for Change here.