Ian Bicking: the old part of his blog

"Grassroots organizing is about building power"

Two quotes from an interview with Marshall Ganz:

Grassroots organizing is about building power


Is living your life in an individually responsible way enough to bring about the kind of change that you would hope for? I think the answer is no. It takes collective action. It takes mastering the tools of power, because there are very powerful institutions committed to making your preferred way of life impossible.

There's a bad truism among certain activists that education is the key. The key to what? Like all truisms the idea is incomplete. Decades of valuing education over action have left social movements educated and impotent. Thinking about power is more important than thinking about education -- spreading information is only important if people will do something with that information. We've figured out how to spread the information, but people aren't doing anything with it.

Created 17 Dec '06


If you haven't read Saul Alinsky's "Rules For Radicals", I highly recommend it.

# Jon Stahl

It is perhps ironic, perhaps not (I am speculating some) that we can look at the same issue - that of the forces at work determining how we are to educate our children in the future (the issue here is power, not education), and not only be in opposition, but in opposition with both of us convinced that we are the one fighting the interests of powerful institutional forces, and pinning our hopes on power at the grassroots level.

From my perspective, I am the one in luck. As the educational system in the US is designed so as to retain much of the power at the grassroots level- local government, locally elected school boards, etc. There is more common sense, than vision, determining outcomes at that level. Which is fine with me, and exactly as it should be.

We, of course, happen to be living in the best of all possible worlds ;)


# Art

Until we learn the basics of the organisation of our world, we will be gropig in the dark and argueing about this that are all far from the truth. You always need thought, will, action. So education is important but until people are trained to direct thier will to use the education we will all be lost. Current education puts too much emphasis on acquisistion of knowledge neglecting the importance of using will to direct us to use the knowledge in action. So NO!! it is neither struggle for knowledge nor struggle for power but how to we use knowledge and power to advance humanity? We have worked for too long against each other. "Divided we Fall!".


# Stephen Komla Bokor