Principles of Organizing and Education

In a country full of so many inequalities and issues, there comes a time when people may use their personal power, either through mobilizing or organizing, to enact change. Each method has a distinct definition of success and knowledge that affects their approach to working in various communities. The mobilizer defines success as the ability to assemble large groups of people together to effectively confront a fixable issue. Mobilizers believe that they hold the “keys to accessing power” and, as a result, they feel responsible for “imparting information, tools and strategies” to local community leaders (Martinson and Su, 2012, p. 71). Organizers, on the other hand, define success as the growth and development of both the organizer and those being organized. The role of the organizer is simply to facilitate the process by which community members recognize their own internal knowledge, usually through reflection and dialogue, which can then be used to enact change. It is their hope that through this dialogue and community building, people will gain the “tools to analyze their situation” and will “take action to transform…their conditions” (Martinson and Su, 2012, p. 65).

While each approach has its benefits and its drawbacks, structural change of any capacity requires the principles found in both. While mobilizers are quite effective at enacting quick and direct change because of their expert knowledge on the keys to power and their focus on fixable issues, they would benefit from the organizers’ principle of fostering the inner knowledge of community members through dialogue and reflection. These community members would become critical thinkers through conversation and would also gain a deeper understanding of the issues they were facing. Thus, these community members would become equipped to enact further change not only in their own communities, but in other areas as well. On the other hand, while organizers are effective at cultivating inner knowledge, growth, and development, they would benefit from tackling external issues in the community more often. Simply to cultivate inner growth is not enough; one must be able to find an issue or a cause that can be worked towards in order to change structural inequalities. To exist at the very ends of each spectrum is to become ineffective in implementing structural change. Organizers and mobilizers, then, must learn and borrow from each other until they become what they desire most: world-changers.