The Heart of Organizing: From intellectual agreement to collective action

In 1906, Mohandas Gandhi and 3,000 other Indians living in South Africa met to oppose a law that would have required all Indians to be fingerprinted and to carry residency permits, as if they were criminals.

You know how most meetings like this go. Everyone in the room agrees it is wrong.
Maybe they pass a resolution.
Sometimes someone will take action on their own.

And often as not, nothing really changed.

At this meeting, through, something different happened. Rather than just passing a resolution calling for every Indian in South Africa to resist the Ordinance, Sheth Haji Habib suggested that they take things a step farther–that everyone present make a vow before God that they would go to jail rather than submit to the resolution.

Everyone stood up to take the vow.

This is the pinnacle of community organizing: to mobilize a group of people to take a smart, principled action, even at great risk to themselves.

What does this mean for modern-day organizers? Look beyond just intellectual agreement or statements of support. Seek and ask for active support.

It is that active support that will change the world.

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