Who else has power?

“They” have power too.

“They” might be the people in the groups, businesses, political positions, and organisations where we need change to happen. Understanding how their power works helps us to find the best way to use our own power to make a change.

Power can be obvious, like a boss or a teachers power, but it can also be invisible. Sometimes, for example, people make decisions for groups without talking to them or hearing their views. This can happen a lot in politics, like when councils have a certain number of people who make decisions for the whole community without letting them be part of the meeting or discussion.

 

Map out who has power

A Power Map is a drawing which maps out all the connections and influences a person has. The power map could be centred on you, someone in power you want to influence, or on your group or community.  

 

  1. To start a power map, draw a circle in the middle of a page and put the name of the person, community or organisation whose power you are trying to “draw out” in the middle.

  2. Around the person make circles for all the people, businesses and communities who influence or have have power over them, or who they are “linked to”.  This may include a person’s partner and family as well as people in their social, religious, business or political community. (try to give specific names and details)

  3. Then, around all those people,  add the people who influence or who are connected to all the people you have just written down.  Eventually everyone in the world could be connected somehow to the person being mapped!

  4. Once all the people and places that can influence someone are drawn out,  it’s easier to see who we can “use” to find a way to influence a person we need to act for change.

next steps

It may help you to draw three power maps for your campaign.

  1. A power map that has your group in the middle, and that shows all the people and places that you are connected with - where you have some contacts and power
     
  2. A power map about the person or organisation you are targeting with your campaign. Take some time to get to know them, what they are involved in, who they know, and carefully draw out all the groups and people that have an influence on them.
     
  3. Draw a power map with your “issue in the middle. Then draw around it everyone who is linked to that issue, and everyone who influences all those groups and people.

Look through your power maps and see if you can find any connections in common, or any routes that your group could follow through the connections to force a change.  

If you can’t see a route, the next step is to make a plan to place your group as a powerful influence in their circle. You might push your way in by starting to affect a persons workforce, supporters, or by connecting yourself publicly and stating your wishes though the media.