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Getting People Involved

In this section:

Organizing Skills
Key Organizing Concepts
Leadership
Organizing Resources
Organizing Resources in Spanish
Training Agendas

Developing a Rap

The skill to develop and deliver a rap will serve you well in any organizing work that you do – whether it is a one-on-one, a house visit, a tabling effort or a petition drive.  It is not hard but requires that you take some time to be clear about the goals of the effort and the subsequent conversations.

There are six basic steps:
  1. Introduction  – who are you and why are you talking?  – Establish credibility and trust
  2. Asking Questions – engage quickly, what do you want to know? How do you want to draw out what they think and feel about?   Ultimately everyone likes to talk and be listened to.
  3. Listen   – to identify issues, what they care about, and their interests.  Listen with ears, eyes and body.
  4. Discussion / Make Points – of what you want to talk about – fit with their concerns, build affinity with cause.  If you really don’t agree, respectfully acknowledge the difference without judging the person.
  5. Commitment – ASK for something concrete  – also known as the “Crunch” – will they sign, attend, fund, mobilize etc…
  6. Close   – next steps.  Make sure you each have relevant contact information, leave any educational/visual materials behind and be clear what the follow up will be.  Acknowledge and appreciate each other, the moment and/or the struggle being engaged.

Getting People Involved

Another process for getting people involved if one is trying to rapidly increase your numbers is to:

TRAIN – ACT – RECRUIT

This cycle repeats itself again and again, with each trainee taking action, recruiting new, training them; they take action and recruit etc.

PROBLEMS YOU WILL ENCOUNTER OR PSYCHOLOGICAL BARRIERS TO ORGANIZING

If we blame people for their apathy or belittle their fears they just become defensive or even more apathetic.  But if we understand why a particular person feels apathetic or afraid we can help them overcome the problem that is holding them back.

Moving People Through Fear to Action

1. What holds people back?
2. What will convince people to act?
3.    Key steps and prep for pushing

Step 1:  Before we talk to the person
What motivates this person?
What holds this person back?
A Plan:  How do we get this person angry enough, strong enough and committed enough to take the step.

Step 2: The conversation
Revisit the person’s motivation.
Recognize what they have done and their strength.
Recommit to the union/struggle and the plan to win.
Assignment: What do they need to do to win and be true to themselves?
Struggle through the fear:  motivate, agitate, challenge.

EXPERIENCING FEAR AND POWER HELP OVERCOME THESE BARRIERS

Organizers need to create a situation or ”container” that will allow workers to experience and express their fears.  Exploring these feelings can help uncover anger.

Anger directed is a key to change.

Organizing is the process of moving people to see and feel the injustice and then accessing their own power to change it.   This process involves re-thinking their relationship to the oppressor/boss etc.  This process can be quick or long and painful because ultimately it is about accepting and then overcoming things within us. Once we start taking responsibility for and control of our own life, then we have begun changing the relationship with the boss.  One must explore their own interests and decide is the risk of loss worth the benefits to be gained?

From the United Farm Workers – AHUY

ANGER– righteous anger – people need to feel that the boss is taking advantage of them.
HOPE – people need to feel that things can get better.
URGENCY – people need to see that time to move is NOW, later or tomorrow will be too late
YOU can make a difference!

“Nothing Can Withstand the Force of An Idea Whose Time Has Come” – Victor Hugo
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