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Reactive Campaigns

Sometimes politics moves fast and as radical organisers its down to us to respond. What if a strike has been called by staff on your campus? A student at your university has been detained by the Home Office and risks deportation? An extreme weather event has added urgency to your climate organising? Or the Government has pledged to raise tuition fees… AGAIN!?

Reactive Campaign Proposal

If you have an idea for a reactive campaign, let us know!

Take a look at these questions to help you submit a proposal. Don't worry if you can't answer them all, fill in what you can and we will be in contact soon to help you with these questions and finalise your reactive campaign proposal.

What is reactive campaigning?

By reactive campaigning, we mean – as the name suggests – running a campaign in quick reaction to a sudden or rapidly developing event. In People & Planet’s context, it might be something that doesn't fit neatly into our current campaign cycle for reviewing campaigns, which happens every 3 years and a deciding new campaigns which happens every 6 years. In the wider context, this could include when your group is running a long-term campaign and then something suddenly crops up that you feel you’re well-placed to address or have a responsibility to contribute to campaigning on.

Why might we campaign reactively?

Possible reasons:

  • We can’t plan for sudden developments
  • Existing campaigning infrastructure can be applied to sudden issues (rather than building from ground up every time)
  • Other struggles need our support at key moments
  • Call-out for solidarity
  • Build our movement or campaign groups around significant moments
  • Particular elements of a wider movement might be more time-bound
  • Take advantage of spontaneous momentum or attention

Are you aware of any recent events and issues that you want to do something about? And you think the People & Planet network could help respond to this recent event by running a reactive campaign? If so, then fill in the campaign proposal form below or get in contact at universities@peopleandplanet.org with your ideas!

If you would like help writing your campaign proposal, get in contact at universities@peopleandplanet.org or on 01865 403225 and we can help.

Process for Deciding Reactive Campaigns

People & Planet is a democratic, student-led organisation. All of our main campaigns are decided on and shaped by students in our network over a 6 year campaign cycle. Any reactive campaign must also be agreed democratically by students in our network.

Once a group has submitted a reactive campaign proposal, staff at People & Planet will review the proposal and provide further information about running the campaign, including:

  • what resources are available
  • what staff support is available
  • whether the campaign is in-line with current aims of People & Planet
  • whether the campaign is likely to be funded (and by how much)
  • the feasibility of the campaign and ability to achieve it’s goal

This information along with the original proposal will then be circulated to all People & Planet groups for feedback, suggestions for amendments and for each group to decide their position on the proposal. Do they...

  • support the proposal and are interested in running this reactive campaign?
  • support the proposal but are not interested in running the reactive campaign?
  • have no opinion on the proposal?
  • or do not support the proposal and do not want to see People & Planet run this reactive campaign?

This feedback and amendments will be collated and worked on by key contacts from each group. Then the final reactive campaign is sent out for final decision, by consensus to all groups.

If agreement is reached, the campaign starts!


The length of time if would take to agree a reactive campaign depends a lot on the types of proposals and the interest and opinion of the People & Planet network. If a proposal is simple, in-line with work already being done by People & Planet and likely to be supported by the network this process could only take a few weeks.

When planning an agreed reactive campaign, a time limit of the length of time spent on planning and running the campaign must be decided upon by students and staff.

Planning a Reactive Campaign

Reactive campaigns are exactly what they say they are, reactive. This means that they need to be able to respond quickly to changing events and have a maximum impact in a short space of time.

Read more about how a reactive campaigning can differ from usual campaigning to help you work out your reactive campaign proposal.

Leeds Students Support the Strike Demo

Case Studies

Staff-student solidarity (USS strike)

Context: UCU announced 14 days of industrial action including strike protesting changes to the USS pension fund which would leave staff poorer at retirement. It was also part of the wider marketisation of HE.

Solidarity was organised on local campuses, tied together by NCAFC nationally.

Goal: University’s/VC’s to support staff strike, call for USS to return to negotiations

Strategy: Strengthen the picket lines, lobby university to drop punitive measures, use direct action for economic and reputational damage.

Tactics: Occupations, joining picket lines, roving picket, fundraising for strike fund, demos, protests (outside UCU #NoCapitulation), alumni donation withdrawal.

Detentions and Deportations

Context: Many asylum seeks are regularly detained by the Home Office in detention and removal centres like Yarls Wood pending deportation. This can happen arbitrarily regardless of the specificites of a case or technical legality of a detention. For example, whole families, students, disabled, queer, mentally ill people could be detained and threatened with deportation to a place where they’d be in danger.

Goals: Get the person/people out of the detention centre and stop the deportation

Strategy: lobby the Home Office, win a legal case, direct action, lobby airline

Tactics: twitter storm, communications blockade airline or home office, send letters of character reference to home office, blockade charter flight, local MP lobby Home Office, attract local media.