The introduction to the series On Organizing
Our terrible dilemma: While the climate scientists tell us our time may well be short, the road ahead seems so long and winding.
Start now. Start organizing.
But, what is the culture of organizing? What are its underlying assumptions, principles, methods, and tensions?
And, most important: What is the purpose of organizing?
As with the series on the Inside/Outside Strategy, Electoral Strategy and Martin Luther King, On Organizing proposes a method of mobilizing people toward the goal of social transformation. Organizing is a means to an end: Participatory Democracy and the Next American Revolution.
Organizing is a way of seeing and being in the political world—a way we must cultivate if we are to rebuild and renew the social movements.
The culture of organizing grows through a sustained engagement with people and assumes that knowing the world and acting in it are inseparable parts of the same process. Organizers value research, analysis and history, but usually assume that learning through experience and teaching by example are the most effective means of education.
This emphasis on practice predisposes organizers to experimentation. We learn from failure as well as success; from allies as well as enemies. Failure and enemies are the mothers of invention. Study them both but above all act, for activism is the greatest teacher of all.
The organizer’s rhetorical, strategic and tactical repertoire is designed to produce social action because it is in the tumult of political life that leaders emerge, relationships develop and transformations in consciousness are realized.
One way to understand the culture of organizing is to explore a series of creative tensions that underlie the organizers work and view of the world.
Next: Continuity and Change