Hating on Community Organizers
By Joshua Kahn Russell at Sep 06, 2008
For the last week I've been on a wilderness canoe trip without any phone or computer or cars or humans other than my partner. It was the first time I've been without contact to the rest of society in...as long as I can remember. It's been a new attempt at finding balance in my life - something every organizer I know is desperately searching for, since organizing is a thankless endeavor that takes over your entire life, to the point where you eat, sleep, and breathe the work. The pressure of striving to do your best to have you work guided by deep accountability to the communities and folks you work with is a tremendous responsibility that doesn't seem to be in the lexicon of our elected officials.
I just stepped in to a canoe lodge on the Canadian/Minnesota border, and the first thing I hear about the outside world is a vice presidential candidate dissing community organizing. "I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,' except that you have actual responsibilities" ha ha ha. I've heard a lot of really foul things come out of the mouths of politicans from both major parties. Its expected. But this time I was just suprised more than anything else. Community organizing, whether on the Left or the Right is the lifeblood of this country and the engine of change.
Jay Smooth from Illdoctrine put it best:
When Sarah Palin demeaned community organizing, she didn't attack another candidate. She attacked an American tradition —- one that has helped everyday Americans engage with the political process and make a difference in their lives and the lives of their neighbors.All across the country, in every state and every community, there are community organizers helping people find shared solutions to the shared problems they face. The candidates for President and Vice President should be working to solve our shared problems, too, rather than attack others who trying to do the same.
Yup. And as some friends of mine pointed out, we just saw what the Republicans really think of community organizing and peaceful protest, after turning the Twin Cities into what resembled a warzone, with tazers, mace, teargas, concussion grenades, mass arrests of bystanders and even media, rubber bullets, and the national guard. After that, snarky comments about organizers not shouldering responsibility don't seem so bad, eh?