"Amateurs Think Strategy, Professionals Think Logistics"

Now, when it comes to political work, I'm definitely an amateur. Literally. The charitable word is "volunteer." I write software for a living, but that work has taught me to value the insights that come with experience and the follow-through that is the mark of professionalism in all contexts. So when I apply myself to my political work, I seek to do with "professionalism," even if not professionally.

This is one of the reasons why, when the board of the People's Progressive Caucus of Miami-Dade sat down to plan our strategy for 2018, one of the first things we did was walk through our resource pool and the resources of our various oppositions. Because a strategy we lack the resources to deploy is no strategy at all, but just a hope and a wish and maybe a set of bullet points.

The unique conditions of Senator Bernie Sanders' campaign for President show what can happen with a critical analysis of resources. He knew going into the campaign that he did not have major corporate donors and that he would never be able to rely on those donors. But he did know that he had a relentless work ethic, the ability to inspire people, and a message that stands out from the noise and gets people to pay attention. Because of that existing resource profile, the Sanders campaign was able to draft a strategy that involved mobilizing record numbers of small donors and a decentralized organizing team to operate the campaign.

Had Senator Sanders followed traditional approaches to campaign resource deployment, he would have ended up with a bevy of expensive consultants and no way to fund them, killing his campaign dead in the water. But instead he thought through his resources, thought through ways they could be deployed and how they could be leveraged to grow the resource pool, and got to work.

We have to approach our local campaigns the same way. Whether it's an issue campaign to drive the local city commission to take down a Confederate statue or an electoral campaign to put a progressive in the State House, we must begin with analyses of material resources and power. We must identify the opposition and their power relationships, we must identify our own power and material stockpiles.

This process comes with a bonus: if we understand the opposition's resources, we can reasonably accurately predict their strategy. That prediction becomes another resource we have in our hands when we generate our strategy.

So next time a local pharmaceutical company raises prices 1400% on a cancer drug, analyze the resource map first. Then attack.

William Byatt