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Tuesday, 17 May 2011


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Michael G. Noll

Community organizing work does not succeed without activism. Since when are these opposites?

Community organizing work does not succeed if you do not "intimately know" the various facets of those you want to "organize" (or in terms I would prefer, those you want to work with).

Community organizing work does not have one sole recipe, as every communal broth has its own cooks and ingredients, some of them old, some of the young.

Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange

Activism can be about just one issue, while community organizing encompasses that and more. -jsq

Michael G. Noll

Activism as well as community organizing are not simply about isolated issues if looked at holistically. To use the metaphor of a garden, your "one issue" may be tilling the soil on one day, fertilizing the soil another day, taking the weeds out the next day, perhaps watering the plants the following day, and so on. Yet all these activities have one goal: a harvest.

Again activism and community organizing are not opposites. One cannot successfully happen without the other.

Your garden won't grow without the single activities that eventually lead to a harvest. And your single activities will not lead to the ultimate goal either, if not connected with the larger concept of a garden.

In other words, activism and community organizing are interdependent.

Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange

Weeding is good, but cover crops are better, and the garden needs to be planted before the last weed is gone. "In other words, activism and community organizing are interdependent." It's good to see you agree with what Seth and I wrote. -jsq


We can make them dichotomous, in an order to speak about them more distinctly; but my intent (in the comment turned blog-post above) was not to insinuate that the two are anti-thetical or opposing to one another in many ways at all.

That is not to say, though, that the work of one doesn't clearly look much different from the work of the other.

I hesitate to use metaphor, because while they might be good heuristic learning tools, they too often are or become justificatory and prevent us from communicating clearly.

I will refer instead to this narrative, the basis of what I was attempting to communicate about my perception between the differences in activism work (all good and well) and organizing. http://beyondthechoir.org/diary/51/activism-vs-organizing-reflections-on-gramsci-pt2

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