Organizing/Action, Which Comes First?

fdrquote

Like a lot of us, I get several requests to “take action” every day lately. The progressive movement, if would seem, is up in arms and raring to go.

Some of my friends are skeptical. They say that these activities are “going off half-cocked” and don’t merit our support if they can’t show that they are well organized. The March 8 general strike, “A Day Without A Woman” is a case in point. As far as I could tell, it wasn’t organized at all. So, my friends told me, we shouldn’t recommend it and we didn’t need to participate.

They were wrong.

Organization or Action?

Organizing and action have the same relationship as the chicken and the egg. Organization in the movement can’t take place without action. Action can’t take place without organization. Neither one comes first. Both have to happen, and they augment each other.

One could make the same case for leadership. Without leaders, one could say, there can be no action. But there are no leaders without action. “Leadership comes out of the struggle,” as my friend Kenneth Williams said on my radio show on KNON. That was the wisest summary of today’s situation.

Everything Is In Motion, Nothing is Stable

The problem that people have is that they see things in rigid, unmoving categories. In fact, everything moves all the time. The only constant is change. Action and organizing interact, they develop one another. Both are necessary. Neither is exclusive.

Or, just take it from Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who said, ““Do something. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn’t, do something else. But above all, do something!”

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