Solidarity Forever! --- (...or How to Organize your Friends and Fuck over your Bosses)
If you've been listening to some of the chatter amongst the mission-going set of students here, there's been a lot of talk about how the school seems to send us kids into wildly-dangerous situations with only the bare minimum of material protection and preparation. Adding insult to injury, if we do manage to come back alive from doing the work of the world's militaries/paramilitaries/Firewatch for them, we get pittance pay. A few hundred bucks is about the best you can expect for going out to kill a god, and that's not an exaggeration. Needless to say, we've just about had it with this garbage and we aren't gonna take it sitting down any more. It takes more than just desire to force bosses like the admins to listen to the demands of the little guys, though, so I've taken some time to help any would-be revolutionaries kickstart their own worker's organizations. If you have a bone to pick with the admins, are a frequent mission-goer or a student employee, or just casually interested in the ideas presented here, stop by Dorm Number [Insert Diego and Kit Kat's Dorm Room Number Here] to sign up for the Student Union!
-- Question Authority
Organizing begins when people question authority, namely the school admins in this situations. Someone asks, "What are they doing to us? Why are they doing it? Is it right?" Encourage people to ask, "Who is making the decisions, who is being forced to live with the decisions, and why should that be so?" People should not accept a rule or an answer simply because it comes from the authorities, whether that authority be the government, the boss, the union - or you yourself. An effective organizer encourages their fellow workers to think for themselves.
-- Talk to Comrades One-on-One
Almost every experienced activist agrees that "...the most important thing about organizing is personal one-to-one discussion." Leaflets are necessary, meetings are important, rallies are wonderful, but none of them will ever take the place of one-on-one discussion. Frequently, when you have simply listened to one of your fellow workers and heard what is on their minds, you have won them over because you are the only one who will listen. When you talk to a student from the dorm next to yours and get them to start fighting back by just having a friendly chat - that is what organizing is all about.
-- Find the Natural Organizers
Every collective body has its social groupings of colleagues and friends. Each of those groups has its opinion makers, its natural organizers, its instigators. They are not always the loudest or most talkative, but they are the ones the others listen to and respect. You will have gone a long way if you win over these natural organizers.
-- Get People Involved in Activity
Life is not a classroom and people do not learn simply by going to meetings or reading leaflets. Most people learn, change, and grow in the process of action. Will you take this leaflet? Will you pass it on to your friend? Will you sign this petition? If you want to develop new organizers, get your colleagues involved in the organization.
-- Create the Ties of Camaraderie
The point of organizing is not only to get individuals involved, but to join them together in a solidarity conscious group. We want to create a group which sees itself as a whole: Will you come to the meeting? Can we get the whole student workforce to visit the admins together? Can we count on all of you at the picket line?
-- Activities Should Escalate Over Time
Ask people to become involved in activities of increasing commitment and difficulty. Are you willing to wear a union badge? Will you vote for a strike on student missions or by student workers? Are you prepared to stand at a picket line? Are you willing to be thrown in detention? Some union campaigns have included hundreds of people willing to go to jail for something they believed in. For many of them it started with that first question, "Will you take this leaflet?"
-- Confront The Bosses
Organizing is about changing power relationships, the balance of forces between management and workers (or the administration and the students, I guess.) Confrontation with the employer has to be built into the escalating activities. If people are not willing to risk upsetting the boss, they won’t win.
-- Win Small Victories
Most movements, from a small group in one school-run workplace to massive social protests grow on the basis of small victories. The victories give us confidence that we can do more. They win us new supporters who now realize that "you CAN beat the boss". With each victory the group becomes more confident and therefore, more capable of winning larger victories.
-- Be Prepared For Setbacks
Nothing runs smoothly in life, and organizing is no exception. If it doesn’t succeed at first, be patient. Circumstances always change with time, new people come and go. Perhaps in a few months time your fellow workers will be more interested than they are at present. Sooner or later the admins will do something which will help that process, you can be sure of that.
-- Don’t Forget The Outside World
Conflicts between workers and their managerial class have a large influence on the confidence of other people to stand up for themselves. It is in our interests to build links and networks of support with other kids studying in other anomalous schools around the world, for through standing together we will greatly increase our ability to win more control over our lives.
-- Produce Your Own Publicity
This is the best way of getting your message across, but don’t forget to let your fellow workers get involved in its production. Get out the good word of solidarity through whatever means you've got at your disposal: social media, radio, illegal graffiti or even old-school flyering.
-- Have A Sense of Humor
Don’t be deadly serious in everything that you do: organizing can and should be fun. Use cartoons, songs, jokes and stories. Fuck it, even use memes if that's what gets you going, but definitely keep from being boring. Try and relate your publicity not just to the harshness of reality but also to your aspirations and desires.
-- Organizing is Everything
Organization need not be overly formal or structurally top heavy, but it must be there. A telephone tree and a mailing list may be all the organization that you need, but if those are what you need then you must have them. Make sure your organization is directly democratic, and any specialized positions you have, such as secretary, are instantly recallable. The last twenty years have supplied many examples of reform movements which fought hard, made some gains and then disappeared, simply because they didn’t stay organized. As a legend of the worker's rights movement, Big Bill Haywood, once said: "Only the organized survive."
...and the number one most important guideline for beating the bosses at their own game is:
-- Don’t Organize Alone!!!
Contact the currently-organizing Student Union or other radical students (like yours truly) and join up with other working people who will be more than willing to help you. The IWW, libcom.org, prole.info, Socialist Alternative or other far-left worker's organizations can also provide information, strategies, resources which will be of vital importance in any organizing drive, no matter how small. Together we can do the things that we cannot do alone.
Stay strong, fellow workers, and I'll see you on the barricades!
--- Your faithful comrade, Diego