Spectrum of Allies

13 The Spectrum of Allies

Image of a hand-drawn illustration of the Spectrum of Allies
Photo by Joshua Kahn Russel from Beautiful Trouble.

Defining the Spectrum of Allies

The Spectrum of Allies is a tool that enables organizations to categorize their support groups, their opposition, and the general public. According to Joshua Kahn Russel, an organizer, and strategist for the Ruckus activist society, “movements seldom win by overpowering the opposition; they win by shifting the support out from under them.” Therefore, this tool allows an organization to categorize all social blocs at play on a given issue and to convert the given parties towards their point of view.

Categorizing the Spectrum of Allies

The Spectrum of Allies is categorized into five different slices:

  1. Active Allies: the active allies work in alignment with your organization
  2. Passive Allies: the passive allies agree with your position but do not act
  3. Neutrals: the neutrals don’t have a clear position and therefore avoid action
  4. Passive Opposition: the passive opposition disagrees with your position but does not act
  5. Active Opposition: the active opposition actively works to hinder your organization’s progress

Many activist groups tend to focus on one slice of the spectrum of allies; the Active Allies segment since they already have support from these groups. However, as stated previously, a movement is not won by overpowering the opposition, but rather by getting people to agree with your organization’s points or position.

When implementing the Spectrum of Allies, it is important to first categorize all supporting groups, neutral groups, and opposing parties. Doing this allows your organization to break down the amount of support and opposition, as well as look for ways to shift support towards your organization.


This page contains material taken from:

Russell, J. (n.d). Beautiful Trouble. Retrieved June 10, 2020, from https://beautifultrouble.org/principle/shift-the-spectrum-of-allies/


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An Open Guide to Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) Copyright © by Andrea Niosi and KPU Marketing 4201 Class of Summer 2020 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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