Big-We-Message/ Race-Class-Narrative

Big-We-Message/ Race-Class-Narrative

The Big-We-Message is a simple way to disarm the culture war from the right. It actively engages people who do not identify as climate activists or with progressive movements by naming difference and the shared values that bring us together. With this strategy we seek to provide a more compelling vision of the future that the hate filled messages than currently dominate our public discourse.
Context

Our opposition regularly uses racist fear as a tool to exploit economic anxieties and turn people against one another, even when their economic interests are aligned. In doing so, they regularly scapegoat migrants and communities of colour for problems that have been created by self-interested politicians and their greedy corporate donors. The Big-We messaging architecture fights back at these attacks to build  solidarity and support for change that can improve the life of everyone.

WirFahrenZusammen Campaign Film (based on Big-We-Messages).

Adaption

Movement Hub worked with the Wir-Fahren-Zusammen Campaign (an alliance of climate movement and public transport employees for better working conditions and climate action) to use the Big-We-Messages in their campaign and in this process we developed a set of resources that will make it easy for everyone to use this tool in their campaigns.

This package will be delivered in full in May but until then we put together the following resources for anyone who is inspired to start working with the Big-We-Messages right now.

But how does it work now?

The following questions will help you at the very beginning to create Big-We-Messages:

Who is your target group/audience?
What values does your target group represent, what values do you want to bring into the discourse around your topic?
Who is responsible for the problem, who is your opponent?
What are your demands, how could you package them as a vision?

You can generally use these questions for your public relations work. Below you will find a guide on how to build your own message. However, this is only one step in using the concept. It is also important to think about which racist/classist narratives you want to counter, which values make up the Big We and which target groups your messages should reach.

Scheme

Now create your own Big-We-Messages with this simple scheme (example: Wir-Fahren-Zusammen):

1. Open with shared values that name (and/or point out) a difference that the right uses to divide us (race, class, gender and/or sexuality):

“Whether our name is Yilmaz, Schmidt or Kowalski, we all want a job that gives us enough time for family, friends and leisure.

2. Explain concretely and clearly what exactly the problem is and how it harms us all.

“But more and more journeys are being cancelled. Routes are being cancelled. In the countryside there is often not a single bus running, and in the city we squeeze into trams that are too full”

3. Now place a small “they” against our big “WE”: Name specifically who is responsible for the problem, how they are using strategic racism and “scapegoats” to divide and distract us.

“Transport Minister Volker Wissing and the FDP are ignoring our problems: they are blocking the money we need for better buses and trains.”

4. Show how we can solve the problem by acting together. End with a positive vision.:

“As employees and passengers, we will no longer put up with this. We are joining forces to achieve more money for buses and trains and good working conditions. If necessary, we will go on strike. We all want our local transport to have a future with good jobs.”

On the basis of this model, you can build your own Big-We-Messages.

History

The Race-Class Narrative (RCN) is an empirically tested communication concept developed by communications expert Anat Shenker-Osorio and political scientist Ian Haney Lop├ęz with several partners in the USA in 2017. It has since been used in many campaigns in the USA and was adapted for use in Australia in 2021 and in the UK in 2022.

Based on the Wir-Fahren-Zusammen campaign, we have adapted the race class narrative to the German context and now call it the “Big-We-Message”.