A compilation of my thoughts on things symbolic and things substantial… in the worlds of community organization… and beyond…
In business, artistic growth, and revolution, people tend to work best with whom they know and trust. However, when personal relationship building is an after-thought or trivial, as such become prospects of progress. Those driven and in agreement are to be comrades, not simply colleagues.The lack of genuine peer-to-peer familiarity, and the penchant to attain it, between generally progressive people who share a noble passion, is often the death-knell to many a potential movement’s growth, to many noble initiatives’ fruition, or the evolution of organizers from merely being bound ideologically to being able to co-create and maintain passion-fueled and trust-founded institutions, and other publicly accessible structures.
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“Extend the olive branch. You will not always find a fellow in need of you.
You will not always have a fellow in need of you who admits it.
That all is not to be your primary concern.
It distracts you from keeping your arm steady.
Extend the olive branch.”
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The hoopla–of the many marches, vigils, solidarity-oriented entertainment events, and the like–is good… if as part of a ethno-aggregation and fund-raising system. But, currently, as a primary course of action for a rowdy/ready populace, such operations are all, overall, a mere symbolic set of expected “safe” gestures to quell the masses, channel their furies & passions, and, often and sadly, to engage trendiness. Symbolism sans substance leaves proper progressive action and progress–like purposefully socializing for familiarization, building indie institution, and raising money as a unified interest group (i.e., a race or ethnicity)–in the closet.
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How to engage the conditioned and indoctrinated masses in ways that build/prepare community and community assets:
Entertain the masses with what they demand, not just what ‘enlightened‘ intellectual community leaders deem beneficial. Do this to get the average consumer’s dollars, to spend on assets and institutions that benefit the yet-not-so-programmed members of the population; the children, young adults, and like-minded’ly open-minded older adults. Beating the busied, the indifferent, and the escapist over the head with socially conscious messages, and beckoning them to entertainment spectacles not in their range of interest, often proves unsuccessful.
Be the force providing the masses their entertaining doses of whom and what they laud–here and there, single shows. Say, Meek Mill live in concert; Nicki Minaj; Rihanna; those such people oft-demonized by the ‘talented tenth‘ of the ‘conscious’ communities. Structure this properly and make thousands of $’s. Then, perhaps, work with established organizations to hire recently fired competent young teachers to offer to students holistic, un-rushed, fun, engaging, community involved & developmental curricula.
And, teach ’em to grow healthy hearty food and to love their heritage’s historical figures like they love the figures marketed to them; like they love their Grandmas.
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“If we owned the buses and diners, we wouldn’t have had to ask to sit in the fronts and inside at counters.”
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‘Boycott’ is part ‘avoid’ and part ‘alternate’. If the masses are told what not to do without being offered alternatives that are just as attractive and useful as what they are instructed to avoid, they will almost surely (and quickly) return to their norms. Who controls the source of such necessary assets as food, clothing, shelter, entertainment, and transportation becomes shepherd to the flock. Especially in times of great need.