#AfterFerguson: Organizing 104 – The Workshop
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
Flanked by a pair of the state's top black cops, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon proclaimed in a blustering Tuesday press conference that state and local authorities, and National Guard troops were more than prepared to curtail and punish what they fully expect to be public demonstrations of grief and outrage when the St. Louis County grand jury officially refuses to indict killer cop Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown later this month. Violence, the governor declared, “will not be tolerated.” except of course official violence against civilians and citizens.
Local residents and grassroots activists expressed their disappointment with their local officials, and have been planning and training for civil disobedience. Concerned individuals and activists in dozens of cities and towns across the nation plan to hit the streets the day after the grand jury decision is reached.
Black Agenda Reports is running a series of instructional primers directed at activists who want to be organizers. Activists are people who just show up, but life changing and society-changing movements are put together quite intentionally by people we call organizers.
Organizing 101 instructed would be organizers to ALWAYS collect the names, phone numbers and email addresses, the essential digits of those who turn out for any meeting, flash mob or demonstration of any kind. This is especially necessary if you used broadcast or social media tp publicize your event, because corporate social media don't allow you to recontact anyone outside their proprietary platforms.
stressed the absolute necessity of emailing and calling everybody whose digits you collected back within a week or ten days, because new friends you don't recontact will find other things to do. Life is like that.
In Organizing 103 we briefed you in the use of the volunteer card, a tried and true method of singling out the most enthusiastic of your new contacts so they can be enlisted in the callbacks, the evaluation of past activities and the planning of new ones. The volunteer card is the first step in identifying the next layer of organizers and leaders for your movement.
Today's assignment, should you choose to accept it, is Organizing 104.
Organizing 104 will be a laboratory or workshop, and it will take place in your town or city the day after the St. Louis County grand jury verdict is issued. Your Organizing 104 assignment is to use leafletting, social media, personal networks or whatever you've got to assemble a crowd in a public place in YOUR city or town the day after the grand jury verdict is announced, and carry out the procedures outlined in Organizing 101, 102 and 103.
Greet everybody, and pass a sign in sheet to get all the names, phone numbers and email addresses of those in attendance as described in Organizing 101.
Identify the most enthusiastic and capable among the crowd and have them fill out volunteer cards, as explained at length in Organizing 103. Call this group of your new contacts back within the first 2 or 3 days.
And within a week or ten days, call back each and every person who showed up to thank them for participating and invite them to a meeting to evaluate the event or discuss future ones, as described in Organizing 102.
These are essential steps to real time, real world movement building. Successful organizers are all about the digits and the follow-up. So go back and review Organizing 101, 102 and 103 at www.blackagendareport.com, get ready to mobilize on the day #AfterFerguson.
This is Bruce Dixon for Black Agenda Radio. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com, and subscribe to our free weekly email updates atwww.blackagendareport.com/subscribe. That's www.blackagendareport.com/subscribe.
Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report. He lives and works in Marietta GA where he serves on the state committee of the GA Green Party. Reach him via this site's contact page, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.