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COMM-ORG Papers, Volume 16, 2010

The God That Worked

Larry Yates


one step outside the compound, it is said, and those who lie in wait will take us so don’t go there organizing works organizing works organizers say and say and say and of course it’s true what could change human behavior if not organized and strategic human behavior? organizing works all right except on Tuesdays at the dude ranch at moonrise over pickle factories and while reading the letters of French poets to their victims there are exceptions to everything organizing works as well as surgery or housework that is, it’s far more effective than most people would imagine it’s a tiresome question, does organizing work? so it speaks to the tiresomeness of organizers that they spend most of their time answering it Yes Yes Yes look, all those people who say “you catch more flies with honey” when you get ready to picket City Hall say that because they wish you were catching flies instead of effectively changing behavior at City Hall if you go back into their pedigrees you will find they got where they are because they or their predecessors organized for example the Boston Tea Party a classic action even to the politically correct self-representation as native people so let’s ask for a general shutting upness on the lie that organizing doesn’t work if well enforced this shutting upness would free the organizers from their continual repetition and from their feelings of importance and martyrdom here’s the truth organizing is social justice housework it has its tricks and truths– start cleaning at the top, for example – and the longer you delay the more you have to do when you finally start but it has no glamour at all that’s why so many organizers drink so much because they especially the boys and tomboys don’t want to face that they want to be heroes or at least the facilitators of heroism not the housekeepers they are organizing’s interesting necessary annoying it’s something everyone should do and if everyone did at last we would be free of organizers scolding us that it works make it a regular thing go to the dentist check your furnace filter canvass your community and move on the issues that come up then it wouldn’t matter any more how much it matters that we exercise solidarity speak out to each other live in democracy daily it wouldn’t matter any more and I wouldn’t have this itch any more to go in the middle of the night to every organizer’s house and wall in their front yards with soft and absorbent down pillows which they would have to get over themselves now excuse me I’m going to wander off the compound