Thursday, June 22, 2006


One Must Communicate

As a community organizer in the early 1990s, I was blessed with the companionship of several women who took it upon themselves to publish a small local newspaper and invariably served as a counterpoint to the local daily, as well as offered me regular columns and interviews. Bless their righteous souls.

But as I progressed to wrestling with regional, national, and now global problems, my colleagues and companions are considerably more dispersed and in many ways less intimate, which suggests greater resources are required to build bonds, trust, and loyalty by overcoming our isolation. Blogs are a tool for achieving this, but only one, and nothing can really replace face-to-face interaction.

I've introduced the idea of podcasting to my new network in hope that we can extend the use of this blog medium to its maximum potential, and I'm hopeful that this will lead to some conferences and seminars and maybe some distance learning venues. The irony of my location in the thickest hotbed of "activism" in the US (San Francisco Bay) and not being able to connect with anyone for either paid or volunteer work is not lost on me.

Back in December, I asked Devin Burghart from the Center for New Community in Chicago if there were other networks like the group of opposition researchers who met up in December for the national human rights conference, and he said, "No, this is it." What he referred to was the dozen present and the dozen who couldn't make it, but still, when you're talking about a population of 200 million, you'd think we could muster more than 25.

There are, of course, probably hundreds of naturals keeping an eye on their communities, states, or regions who might attend conferences if we could find someone to fund them, and in fact Chip Berlet at Political Research Associates in Boston has been hounding foundations like Ford and MacArthur to do just that for some time. Meanwhile we stay in touch, stay informed, and practice our storytelling. Maybe someday we'll meet in person.


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