Remind me...why we organise
I recently met an elderly gentleman who for the sake of confidentiality I will refer to as Pa Homer. Unsurprisingly, our discussion ended up on the state of the nation. He stated very insightfully that the panacea needed in this country is a government that places human lives over balancing the books and statistics. He went on to emphasise that poverty, homelessness and the despised Universal Credit are all by-products of decades of systematic anti-people policies, orchestrated by ‘out of touch’ politicians and their big business cronies. What we need is a strong but caring leadership, not flipping community organising.
Wow! Thankfully, I did not ask his opinion on Brexit. None the less, to dismiss Pa Homer’s blunt assertion would only mount to absolute folly. As such, I can only add to the on-going debate on what is / not community organising and why we organise.
Community organisers want a collective effort and voice in the struggle against child poverty, inhuman sanctions, inequality and declining social values, etc. People organise because they care to hope, for improved communities and better living standards for all – not the few. Above all, we want to be relevant in today’s ever-shifting social paradigm.
Maybe, we organise because the ‘powered and mandated’ are mindless of the harsh realities, which ordinary people have to navigate each day. Or simply, we are a community of people who had chosen not to apportion blame (because there’s enough of it to go round) but would rather believe in changing one life and a neighbourhood at a time.
As with any merchant of change, community organisers love to achieve positive social outcomes, preferably through collaborative and sustainable practices. The need to be part of something bigger than our own agenda is vital. More so, if the agenda is to build networks in order to champion social actions and movements to usher in a new way of thinking or world order. Meaningful change does not happen in isolation.
Community organising provides a platform for those who want a fairer society to facilitate, empower, animate and participate, especially on matters affecting millions of people who are suffering in silence across the country. For those that have forgotten, there is no greater gift than to be mindful of other people’s wellbeing - our shared social and moral responsibilities to one another, irrespective of our differences.