Monday, August 15, 2016

Community Organizers and How Conservatives Can Learn From Them

The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book, "A Tyrant's Guide to Killing Liberty."

By Douglas V. Gibbs
AuthorSpeakerInstructorRadio Host

“Community organizing is all about building grassroots support. It's about identifying the people around you with whom you can create a common, passionate cause. And it's about ignoring the conventional wisdom of company politics and instead playing the game by very different rules.” 
― Tom Peters, American writer on business management practices, best known for In Search of Excellence

COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS do not come a dime a dozen. It takes a special kind of activist to be a community organizer because to be an organizer, one must be able to win over people with confidence while clothed as a communitarian, when in reality, the drive is social change and upheaval that reaches way beyond the mere community. The concept of community organizing is an easy game for collectivists to play, while individuals who seek to defend liberty find the practice appalling, and when individualists seek to use such a strategy, the effort is usually compromised by bickering and in-fighting. Statists follow leaders. They are willing to be mindless automatons who are willing to throw their support behind the head organizer, even if they disagree with a few things along the way. The ends justifies the means, so supporting the overall agenda is more important than the immoral hiccups along the way.

In order to present opposition to statism, we must learn to be more like them in some ways. I am not suggesting that we compromise our morals, or become collectivists. I am suggesting that we use grassroots organization in a manner that uses some of the tools we see used by statist community organization.

As Saul Alinsky points out in Rules for Radicals, “The building of many mass power organizations to merge into a national popular power force cannot come without many organizers. . . organizations are created, in large part, by the organizer.”

Statism has convinced the public that it is they who care about community, while their opposition believes in the selfishness of psychotic individualism. Community efforts to accomplish fantastic humanitarian efforts are heavily populated by statists, and out of those efforts arise community organizers who may be destined to be the next great political organizer, and statist leader.

Community organizers do not emerge by accident. They are educated by other leaders in the statist movement, attending “long conferences on organizational problems, analysis of power patterns, communication, conflict tactics, the education and development of community leaders, and the methods of introduction of new issues.”

On the surface, these efforts not only seem harmless, but they are encouraged because of the nature of the argument surrounding them. After all, who is not for doing the things necessary to create a better community?

Organizers who stand against statism must be as tireless as their statist counterparts. All efforts must be put into the cause, with no limit on the amount of time spent on the effort. Passion and optimism is the sign of a good leader of a grassroots effort, continuously speaking at events, writing articles and books, delivering the message on the radio and television, and planning for the next big event that is designed to recruit more members, and spread the message further by word-of-mouth. All other distractions of life must be meaningless to the leader of an organization, those who volunteer for the organizer must be fully supportive, as must be family and friends. If there are those in the life of the organizer who disagree, or pose as an impediment to the cause, they must be cut out like a cancer, set aside, and left behind. The effort to stop the march of statism must have no interruptions.

“Organizers are not only essential to start and build an organization; they are also essential to keep it going. Maintaining interest and activity, keeping the group’s goals strong and flexible at once, is a different operation but still organization.” (Alinsky)

While the organizers that work to bring about statism are “community organizers,” the organizers of the resistance must be “association organizers.” To avoid the bickering and “single-issue” suicide that many “conservative” organizations fail as a result of, it is up to the organizer to find a theme of common ground. The most effective kind of organization I have experienced as an organizer has been the United States Constitution. We may have our petty differences on smaller issues, but if we can agree to work towards restoring the constitutional republic as it pertains to limiting the powers of the federal government, and encouraging localism, the organization will likely remain on track.

The statists are tireless, so we must be, as well. But we must not only work hard, but we must work smart. We can learn from our adversaries, and adopt some of their tactics. We must be willing to infiltrate, speak up at campus rallies and at political events, and communicate our message while remembering that perception by the court of public opinion remains a high priority. Then, as we achieve a victory, we cannot spend our time reveling in our achievement, but instead we must recognize and seek out the next goal, prepare to leap the next hurdle, and understand that the war for liberty never ends. Our efforts require eternal vigilance, for like the current under a boat, statism never rests.

To embark on the effort of organizing it must be understood that the commitment must be beyond a simple feeling that one is “all in.” As the Founders pledged at the end of the Declaration of Independence, we must be willing to put on the line our Lives, Fortunes, and sacred Honor.

Organizing cannot succeed in an atmosphere of negativity. The leader of an organization must be optimistic and passionate to the point that it is contagious. Followers of the leader of an organization, if the organizer’s passion and optimism is at an appropriate level, will begin to feel the same optimism, even when in situations where it seems like defeat is imminent. After all, each moment is simply a battle. The war will be won, even if we must suffer collapse first, and then reorganize the next generation to rise up and defeat the disease of statism.

Eternal vigilance is the key. We must understand the fight will never end, therefore we must not only do the best that we can do to defeat statism, but train up the next generation, and then hand off the baton to them when they are ready. An advocate for liberty is constantly educating, encouraging, and planning the next event or rally. We must be constantly a thorn in the side of the statists, making nervous the statists who hold political office while doing all we can to receive a maximum amount of media attention.

The idea of community organization, especially after watching a community organizer like Barack Obama reach the White House and inflict the damage he so easily accomplished, is on its surface repulsive to the average constitutionalist. Why would we wish to engage in an activity used for so much evil? Community organizers are the ground troops of statism, communitarianism, and socialism. Why would we want to be anything like them?

Without organization, we are nothing more than individual islands who make no mark. The English Colonies understood the importance of organizing into a larger unit. Individually, even though they were separate and sovereign States, they knew when it came to defending liberty they needed to unite. Their combined strength enabled them to defeat the British Empire during the Revolutionary War. Yet, while united and victorious, they found a way to also hang on to their autonomy and individuality as separate States.

Organization does not automatically mean that we are not much different than the statists. As an organization, we must maintain our individuality, but at the same time we must realize that if we are going to defeat statism, we must be united in such a way that our influence on the system is devastating. We must be willing to give to the organization, and do so remembering that it is for a good cause – the cause of liberty.

For this reason, the organizer must be skilled in not only bringing together individuals into a workable unit that can inflict damage on the statist cause, but at the same time recognize and nurture the individualism of each team member. Delegating duties keeps members focused, and a part of the effort, but the delegation must be done in such a way that the jobs handed out to members are chosen because it reflects the individual strengths of the member receiving the duty. If a member has a passion for what they are doing, they will be exceptional at their task. If the duty is not something that interests the associate, or if it does not play to their strengths, the job will not be accomplished in the manner necessary to assist the organization, and it would have been better to simply not have given the duty to the person in the first place.

Organizers, and the members of the organization, must be willing to do things the average person would not. They must be willing to stand against the authority figures who are statists, to act as a “conscientious objector” when necessary, and they must be willing to perform even when the odds seem to be heavily against them.

Human nature is our enemy. It is in our nature to seek the path of least resistance. Defending liberty is hard work, and can even be dangerous. Our instinct of self-preservation instructs us not to go in the direction that is necessary to fight against statism. We wish to call it a movement, instead of a fight, because we don’t like the discomfort of battle, and we don’t want to offend anyone along the way. We are told not to burn bridges, but to find common ground, if we can.

We have no common ground with the statists. While I do not recommend that we burn bridges along the way, I do suggest that we rattle the bridges, and light the bushes aflame, to get the vermin to come running out. Until we expose them for the cockroaches and rats that they are, we will not be able to defeat them. The court of public opinion, once they are exposed, will sway in our direction, not when we spend time trying not to offend them, but after we do offend them and they find in the process that the most offensive are the statists running out of the burning bushes.

While we learn from experience, we must also learn from history. We do not have to re-invent the wheel. This has been done before. The Founding Fathers of the United States were rebels who resisted tyranny, and won against all odds. They planned, they organized, and when necessary, they fought. Our job is to emulate them. They were problem-solvers, and they expected us to be the same. The Founders were considered to be “radicals,” and “extremists.” These are not titles to be ashamed of. Embrace them. Appreciate them. Proclaim your rebelliousness against tyranny proudly.

Understand that with all of the planning and organizing that we accomplish, we will still be broadsided. Prepare for the unexpected. Always have a Plan B, Plan C, and a Plan D. Be willing to think outside the box, and expect the worst from the opposition. Statism knows no rules. They care nothing about morals or fair play. Therefore, they will be willing to do things we would never conceive of doing – but we must realize that they can, and will, do these things, no matter how notorious we may think such a thing may be.

The horrible things the statists will be willing to do, however, will always be clothed in “good intentions.” When writing about the 800-page The Black Book of Communism, New York Times writer Tony Judt was willing to concede, “The myth of the well-intentioned founders – the good czar Lenin betrayed by his evil heirs – has been laid to rest for good. No one will any longer be able to claim ignorance or uncertainty about the criminal nature of Communism, and those who had begun to forget will be forced to remember anew.”

It is important that we, as organizers, organization members, and associates of a group that stands against statism, recognize what we are truly up against. While they claim to have good intentions, to be only looking out for the “good of the community,” or “the common good,” statism is at its foundation an evil proposition that fails every time it is tried. As statism grows, and gains a foothold on a society, the limits fade away. Violence and death are always factors that are willingly visited by the purveyors of statism, eventually. The statist clothes his efforts in proclamations of peace, love, and community, when in reality the goal is to silence the opposition, even if it takes murdering them to do so. That kind of violence, however, only emerges after the statist system reaches a high level of control, which is why it is important to fight against statism now, stopping it before it leaves its infancy too far behind. Otherwise, our system of liberty will crash and burn, with the fires of violence being lit by the very statists who claim they want peace, love, and understanding.

Karl Marx believed that once communism was achieved, the big government system of socialism would fade away. But, in his theories, he admitted that the way to achieve utopia was by force, through big government control, violent statism and individualism crushing bondage. Remember, with these people, the ends justify the means, so there are no limits to what they are willing to do, and they become more emboldened to seek unsavory methods as the level of the power grows, and they believe they are within reach of the ultimate prize.

The beginnings of organizing against statism, therefore, must begin with education. The education of the resistance begins with the principles of our system of liberty. The members of organizations that stand against tyranny must be educated in the philosophies that led to the creation of the United States Constitution. But the education must not stop there. The associates must also be well-versed in how liberty has been defended in the past, and the atrocities of statism throughout history. When a person realizes they are being lied to by the perpetrators of statism, it doesn’t take them long to join the cause against statism. Therefore, the first job of the organizer is education.

Communication is the next item of vital importance. The members of the organization must be in constant contact with each other, and the organization needs to be in communication with other like-minded associations. Through this line of communication, they can educate, plan, and learn from each other the strategies that have been successful for each group. The body must be united as the English Colonies were when they faced the British Empire during the Revolutionary War, and as the States were willing to be in order to protect, preserve and promote their sovereignty through a union established by the United States Constitution. As Benjamin Franklin said during the signing of the Declaration of Independence, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

To be effective, commonalities must be the central theme of the organization, which in our fight is the United States Constitution, and a shared disgust of statism. All other issues, those that may cause internal bickering, must be minor issues that are rarely visited. Though it is in the nature of the constitutionalist to be an individual, comradery must also be achieved, and used to its greatest effectiveness. Common goals and common interests make for a better organization.

Differences will still emerge. Such is the nature of working with other human beings. While there must be a certain level of diplomacy and willingness to work together, it is also important to remember that small differences are organization killers. Therefore, the members must keep focused on the big picture, the common goal of defeating statism. While we see ourselves as individuals, and wish to be treated with the respect of an individual, we are also cogs in a machine that is designed for battle. If one cog is not functioning properly, the machine will not operate at its maximum efficiency. Internal division will cause the organization to defeat itself before it can even get into the fight. The members of the group must become friends, and understand that they are also comrades in arms. This is the beauty of organization meetings. The events and meetings must be more than an opportunity to have a meal together, or to strategize the next move of the organization. It is also the opportunity for us to fellowship with like-minded individuals, to get to know our fellow associates, and view them as our brother, or our sister, in the fight. Friends are only willing to go so far to defend each other, but family is willing to do anything to ensure the safety of his or her brother or sister. When the organization becomes a family, the fight in the dog is more intense, and the willingness to go the distance is more likely.

The organization, as time passes, begins to take on the personality of the organizer. Like him, the associates become locked in, passionate, driven, and optimistic. If the group does not begin to take on these characteristics, it is the fault of the organizer, and he or she needs to recognize that either it is time to get serious about the effort, or step down so that somebody more capable can lead the charge. The function of the organizer, after all, must be to lead the organization against statism, to lead a group willing to rebel against tyranny, and face off with the statists when necessary. On the same token, the leader of the organization must lead by example. He must never expect his team to do anything he would not be willing to do, himself.

Be not deceived. The organization is an association of revolutionaries who have come to the conclusion that statism must be warred against. The revolution will be waged in the political arena, but that includes all levels of the political arena. War will be waged locally, at the State level, and at the federal level. All fronts are important, even though most of the emphasis must be centered upon local government.

How can we justify complaining about the cockroaches in Washington D.C. when we breed them locally?

While we are raised to respect authority, and when that authority exists in a manner consistent with the principles of good government, the organizer, and his followers, must be willing to stand against authority when necessary. Challenging authority when it is tyrannical is important, and must be carried out even if the “irreverence” leads to arrest. Unrest melts the bolts of the girders that holds together the structure of statism. To remove those bolts, fire and might must be applied. The bolts must be hammered away at. They must be forced out of their position. Reality dictates that standing against statism can be messy. Organizers, and their team, must be willing to get dirty if they are going to be successful at dislodging the statists who infect their system.

There is nothing wrong with being angry at what the statists are doing. In fact, that anger can be a productive way to stimulate the effort. Anger is not a sin. Jesus Christ was angry at the money-changers when He threw them off the steps of the temple. The problem is not anger, but how that anger is used to accomplish the task at hand. A good leader does not allow anger to blur his vision, but instead uses it as a tool of encouragement, and a reason to act in defiance of tyranny.

In his presentations, the organizer must use all of the tools available to him to encourage participation, and to hold the attention of the audience. When speaking to groups, I often joke that in order to keep their attention, they need to “either be fed, or laugh.” So, along with a meal, the presentation must be dotted with humorous antidotes that brings a grin to the faces in the audience, while also delivering an important message that either educates, or encourages. Statism uses satire and ridicule against us, so we must learn to laugh at their efforts, and then throw it right back at them in a manner befitting of our struggle. Often, the laughter remains with the group, but sometimes, when it is advantageous, it is important to also use their own weapons of humor against the statists.

Humor is revealing, and helps put into perspective the task before us. Humor helps us recognize the stupidity of statism, and the foolishness of political bondage. However, during those moments of humor, it is important that the seriousness of the endeavor is not lost.

While the United States Constitution must remain at the center of the reason for the fight against statism, the group must be engaged in multiple issues. Different members have their own pet issues, and though we don’t want members bickering over different issues, we do want members involved in solving the issues that most influences their reason for being a part of the organization in the first place. A list of unconstitutional grievances, and the intentions on resolving these grievances, are a valuable tool. It is a way of writing down the goals of the organization, making the effort more real to some. Providing charts and target dates for accomplishing the tasks helps keep the organization focused, while also providing a resume that shows the members that the organization is making headway in the struggle against statism.

The statist’s way of engaging in conflict begins with convincing the public not to. While we are caught up in having a proper appearance, and refusing to offend anyone, we have been convinced to also be more critical of our own, than we are of the statists. If one of our own acts in a manner that is not perfect, if we are accused of being hypocritical, or immoral, we remove our offending party with the precision of removing a cancer. The statists have found that they do not need to engage with us in conflict. We crucify our own, as a new generation rises up that is offended by everything except the wiles of statism and the empty promises of socialism.

The Alinsky radical is a well-integrated schizoid, is narcissistic and arrogant, diplomatic while unbending, claims to be open-minded as long as you agree with him, and claims that the same old statism being offered is somehow a new and different form of change and hope. The statist community organizer wants power, and is willing to do all he can to achieve that power. But, the greatest attribute of the statist community organizer cannot be taught. It is a creativity and response to the world around him that is instinctive, and a quality he owns that he alone is capable of wielding.

The Jeffersonian organizer, too, must be able to multi-task, be confident, diplomatic, willing to work with others, and be able to offer hope to those who seek him out. But he must use the positive side of these attributes. Rather than be bossy, he must be a good leader. Rather than being arrogant, he must be personally confident in what he does. He must lead by example, and he must be able to encourage others to follow his example without having to tell them to. And, as with the statist community organizer, these are traits that cannot be taught. Those who will lead the organizations that will ultimately restore the Constitution, and our constitutional republic, are a rare breed, and they must be encouraged to use their talents for the cause.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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