Democracy Magnet Words and Building BlocksĀ by Jan Edwards

These words began as part of an e-mail brainstorm by the WILPF [Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom] Challenge Corporate Power, Assert the People’s Rights Campaign.

We were thinking of words to answer the following questions:

  • What would it take to build Radical Democracy?
  • What is being used to build Corporate Power?
  • What would we choose as Cornerstones for our Society?

The words are not meant to be a complete list, nor are there right or wrong answers to the questions. This is meant as a thinking exercise and a starting place for discussion.

Magnet Words

The Words and Questions will print out in color on 4 pages. If your printer can handle it, you can print directly onto magnet paper which is available at Office Depot for about $14 for 5 sheets.

If you cannot print onto the magnet paper directly, you can print onto full sheet label paper and stick the label paper onto the magnet paper sheet. I then covered the label paper with clear contact paper for protection and cut the words out with scissors [or paper cutter works, too.] Another way is to print out everything on regular paper and take it to a copy shop where they can print it directly on the magnet paper.

The extra magnet paper can be cut up, and folks can use markers to write their own words to add to the collection. If you cover the blank magnets with label paper, these hand written words can be removed and the magnets reused for next time. If you get a large collection of handwritten words you can print up the new words and add them to your tray.

One can buy a magnetic white board for $14 from Target. I saw a larger one for $48 at Office Depot. Many white boards are magnetic, but many are not, so be sure to check. [I do not mean to recommend Target or Office Depot, but just so you know some places to find the items.]

If you lay the words out on a tray in front of the magnet board and put up one or all of the questions on the board, hopefully folks will gather around and spontaneous discussion will begin.

Building Blocks

Another idea is to print the words out in a larger size on full sheet label paper, cut them up and stick them to boxes. Then you could actually “Build Democracy” with the blocks. The boxes are about the size of a small brick, and have 4 sides each that are 6″ long which could have words on them. [400 words!] You can have folks write their word suggestions on blank label paper and put them onto a box side. The boxes start out flat and can be taken apart for storage after.[size 6″ x 4″ x 4″ white boxes with tuck in lids available wholesale for $49 for 100 boxes [“Indestructo Mailers” S-1722] from Uline 1-800- 295-5510]

Let me know if you tried these tools and what you think.

A democracy tool by Jan Edwards

Download Instructions

We provide two choices of files for you to print out. The preferred choice is the WordPerfect file. If you use WordPerfect, or programs that can open a WordPerfect file like Microsoft Word, you should download this file by right-clicking on the link and choosing Save Target As. Make sure you download it to a folder where you can find it! The file itself is named DemocracyWords.wpd

Democracy Magnet Words – WordPerfect file

We also provide an Web (HTML) file that you can open in your Web browser (which is Internet Explorer or whatever you are using to look at this page!). You will lose some formatting if you use this file. If you want, once it is in your browser you can copy the whole thing into any word processing program you want!

Democracy Magnet Words (Web page)