by Joe Courter
For those who choose to go beyond the work, eat, sleep, family, play activities in life there is the realm of civic activity; doing something to be an active participating citizen trying to make the world, or at the micro scale your neighborhood or community, a better place. Some of these options offer a commitment to a social issue or organization in which progress is measured over time. Other options involve a campaign which has a finite end; you work toward it, then there is a decision whether you win or lose and it is over, and either done or at least needs to regroup and start again.
Campaign (electoral or issue based) organizing is often a roller coasted of highs and lows — it’s got deadlines and mounting intensities. Losing is a bummer, and winning has its joys, but then sometimes it’s a real let down later on as all the hopes invested in the campaign may over time prove empty. You kinda peel the bumper sticker off and move on.
Movement organizing is more of a long journey, it has its campaign elements but it never really stops, such as the organizing work of the Feminist, Civil and Human Rights or Farmworker Movements. This type of organizing leaves a legacy, and within that is reinforcement to keep going, that you are part of something bigger, and more than just the here and now.
This comes to mind as I reflect on the recsent controversy with regard the members, investors and workers at the “Citizens Co-op”; and as well the upcoming political season locally, with primary elections fast approaching August 26.
The “Co-op’ situation does not have any resolution at this time, and what seems to be lying ahead are membership elections on Tuesday June 24 (details elsewhere) at which time there will be Board elections. Since the last Iguana there have been numerous meetings large and small, innumerable emails, inquiries and charges, but what really came out of it was a lot of earnest Co-op members, shoppers, ex-workers, growers and investors got to get to know one another better, share their visions of what a real Co-op should be, but generally be rebuffed by the small current Board. It was very disappointing, because with all these large meetings, it felt like what a Co-op should feel like, and in hindsight what it should have been instead of a small core group fulfilling THEIR vision. That said, that the Board is moving their election from September to June was the one concession. How that election turns out will not be resolved by the next Iguana July 3. With the controversy business is way down at the store, and there is speculation it may be months from closing unless business picks up. If there is new blood and re-established trust with the election maybe it can achieve the success so many have hoped for.
Many concerned members feel the June election is too quick and may be reluctant to run as there’s never been an audit and there’s fear about getting on board a sinking ship. A lot felt the transition offer would have been a better solution, but that was not accepted. More details next issue. Those interested can try and keep up on these sites:
We salute all those who are long run Movement organizers, and as well those who will jump in on local campaigns and be part of that side of things. Yeah, there are disappointments, and sometimes it seems to be going no where, but there is a fulfilling purposefulness to be part of making things better, and it all starts with a decision to begin and find out what you can do, and a group to do it with.