Tag Archives: insider/outsider

It’s all about relationships

“The number-one rule about politics, like fundraising and movement building, is that it is all about relationships.”
–Mike Roque in Grassroots Fundraising Journal

Organizing is all about relationships. Fundraising is just organizing for money, and political activity is organizing for policy.

And they are all about relationships.

Sometimes, though, activists resist building relationships with potitical figures.  We spend so much time criticizing the political establishment we convince ourselves we should have nothing to do with it.

I believe it is a mistake when we refuse to build relationships with people in positions of power.

Some activists have a vision of themselves as the perpetual outsider, and that limits our ability to get inside where the decisions are made.

Yes, sometimes doors are closed to us, but sometimes what keeps us outside is that we don’t even try to open the doors because we assume they are closed to people like us.

So go ahead, build those relationships. Try to open that door (as a person rather than as a rampaging cause). Create human connections. Establish the lines of communication that will carry the policy changes you want to see forward.

The pagans: Primal Branding Asset 5

Primal Branding is about building a loyal following of believers in your cause, your product, your movement, your brand.

And to have believers, you have to have unbelievers.

At least, that’s what Patrick Hanlon asserts.

If your a coffee-head and Roos Roast fan, the unbelievers are those poor, misguided Folgers drinkers.

When I was in high school in Crando, there was a constant back and forth between the Ford people and the Chevy people.

One of my dad’s pet theories is that we will only have peace on earth after there is contact aliens.

For there to be a “we,” there needs to be a “they.”

Even Barak Obama, with his calls for unity and a new type of politics, creates a “they” by criticizing the old way of politics (and by extension those who practice it).

Many brands, movements, and religions have used us/them differences to create a strong following, and I think that’s okay.

There is a danger, however, in going on to create us/them divisions. I believe that King’s method of saying we disagree with the segregationists and resist them, but we do not hate them, is a much better method than Malcolm X’s lesson that the enemy is the white man.

(For more of my thoughts on primal branding, visit the table of contexts post)