If I were stranded on an island today, I would want these three books at my side:
The Martha Rules: 10 Essentials for Achieving Success as You Start, Build, or Manage a Business by Martha Stewart
Meditations of the Heart by Howard Thurman (a collection of meditations and prayers)
And Taking On the System: Rules for Radical Change In a Digital Era by Markos Moulitsas Zuniga aka founder of Daily Kos.
Actually, this is my introduction for this week’s Community Organizers Hall of Famer: Markos Moulitsas Zuniga. Granted, I’m sometimes the last to know things and sometimes the first to figure things out. The blogger Markos or “Kos” as he’s known among army buddies and the blogsphere founded the Daily Kos in 2002. I added Daily Kos to my daily even hourly reading in August after several emails were forwarded to me from Kos diarists admonishing and setting political newbies (like me) straight during our freak outs over polls, election predictions by MSM, and other swinging tires that were just part of the routine for the pros. But don’t assume that means they take politics lightly.
Markos’ first three sentences on the first Daily Kos post were;
I am progressive. I am liberal. I make no apologies.
There it is. Like it or not, you know where he stands. Markos said he founded Daily Kos for one simple reason: “I felt ill-served by the undemocratic gatekeeping mentality so prevalent in our society.” A bit-o-bio: Marcos grew up in El Salvador. At age 9 his family fled the country to avoid its civil war. He joined the United States Army in 1989 and served in the Gulf War. He says he entered the army as a Republican, but emerged a Democrat.
Daily Kos has created a community, but Markos isn’t the HBIC (Head Blogger In Charge) of this community. He’s the guy with the tool box building, tinkering, welding – making the new technology into a platform for people to connect, coordinate, and yes, fight for the change they believe in – cultural, political, and environmental etc. This is not to say they haven’t had a few skirmishes on-line between Daily Kos, it’s editors, and subscribers. The primaries with the Clinton-Obama contest in full swing got a bit brutal on-line. Some abandoned the blog. [I’m not sure if they’ve returned. I wasn’t reading it daily it at that time.] But nevertheless, Daily Kos and community remain on schedule and on track.
The Daily Kos analysis of the polls and stats are unbeatable. If they can’t do it, Daily Kos’s references to other numbers crunchers like Nate Silver of www.fivethirtyeight.com or www.pollster.com are your better bet. But the Kos analysis lets you now who’s screwing up (polls and candidates), who’s moving ahead, and who needs to just get out of the way across the board.
“You can’t change the world without conflict.”
Markos is fortunate to recognize this early. Or as Gandhi said, “A No uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a Yes merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble.”
“Change without conflict” doesn’t neatly apply to everything like who gets to hold the remote, but change is work. Hard work. Change can stir up trouble. And in my life-long civilian observations I’ve seen and learned that “Change doesn’t come easy.” Someone who’s able to organize people around principled ideas, using resources at hand – computer and modem — not asking permission or approval from gatekeepers and actually making things happen can’t be ignored by friends and foe alike. Markos has provided a platform for people who actually aim to get things done. It’s not the top-down approach; besides netroots really doesn’t work that way.
The stats on Daily Kos: Daily Kos attracts 2-4 million daily visits. Markos is a regular columnist for Newsweek, and The Hill. People en Espanol named him among the “100 Most Influential Hispanics,” and he was third in Forbes magazine’s “Web Celeb 25,” and ranked 26 in PC World’s list of the “Most Important People on the Web.” And he has a J.D. from Boston University. But Markos appears to be an eclectique citizen – he plays the piano (when he can) and composes music (when he can). http://www.dailykos.com/special/music.
Martha, Howard, and Markos. Who’d thought this would be my island trio. People who know me, know I admire a good principled fighter. There’s no one style or standard for fighting back or onward. These fighters are not perfect people. [Though Martha aims to achieve it.] They are unashamedly committed to their principles, purpose, and will tweak when necessary.
I’m about to go into my second reading of Markos’ Taking on the System. I refer back to Martha’s Rules which I read before I went self-employed; and Meditations is a constant.
On this island I am not alone or stranded.
To Love Life truly is to be whole in all one’s parts; and to be whole in all one’s parts is to be free and unafraid.
This week’s Community Organizers Hall of Famer (HOF) is alive and well and doing great things in Washington, DC. He is Robert Egger, founder and president of D.C. Central Kitchen just blocks away from the U.S. Capitol. D.C. Central Kitchen trains unemployed men and women in marketable culinary skills and converts foods donated by restuarants, hotels and caterers into balanced meals. Since opening in 1989, the Kitchen has distributed 17.4 million meals and helped over 605 men and women gain full-time employment.
I got a chance to visit with Robert at the D.C. Central Kitchen a week ago. High school volunteers, staff, chefs, nutritionists, and supporters who keep the kitchen’s burners going share this HOF highlight. I was impressed with the Kitchen’s social entrepreneurial model, and its direct outreach to the Hill across the aisles. Members of Congress and the Senate have walked through the Kitchen for more than a taste of what this organization can do and what needs to be done to address hunger in the United States. Robert is clear on mission and dishes equal portions of critique about service as seen in his commentary on the Service Nation Forum with candidates McCain and Obama (held in NYC 9/11/008). Go to www.robertegger.org for more blog entries and videos.
D.C. Central Kitchen’s motto is “combating hunger – creating opportunity.” Let’s make this goal viral. Pass it on.
It’s Wednesday and time for the Community Organizer of the week. This week’s Community Organizer Hall of Famer is Julius Hobson, Sr. (1922 – 1977) submitted by Dawn E. Robinson of Washington, DC.
Some of the gains of Hobson’s work include dismantling discrimintion in hiring in Washington, DC [The first black busdrivers were hired as a result of a threatened boycott after successful boycotts on retailers.]; desegregating rental housing with the passing of a house ordinance by D.C. Commissioners; desegretating hospital wards. Below is a brief bio from the DC Public Library “Guide to the Papers of Julius Hobson”
Julius W. Hobson (1922 – 1977) was a civil rights leader whose political career grew out of his grass roots activism in the District of Columbia beginning in the 1950s. In the District, he worked for equity in public school funding and fair rental housing, opposed D.C. freeways and police brutality. He was PTA President at Slowe Elementary School (1953), President of the Woodridge Civic Association (1950 -1953), Vice President of the citywide Federation of Civic Associations (1955 -1957) and a member of the NAACP’s Executive Committee (1958). In 1961, leaders at the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) selected Hobson as chair of their local chapter. In 1968, he was elected to the District’s Board of Education. In 1974, Hobson was elected councilman-at-large on the Statehood Party ticket in the first City Council election in the District in over a century. As a Councilman, Hobson continued to push for local educational reform, especially while serving as chair of the Educational and Youth Affairs Committee, as well as an end to all forms of racial discrimination in the District.
This blog is still accepting nominations for the Community Organizers Hall of Fame. Sign up and share.
I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a “community organizer,” except that you have actual responsibilities.
Acceptance Speech – Sarah Palin, Republican Vice Presidential candidate – September 3, 2008
Community organizing is how ordinary people respond to out-of-touch politicians and their failed policies.
Response to Palin’s acceptance speech – David Plouffe
Campaign Manager, Obama/Biden, Democratic Presidential campaign
September 4, 2008
HOLD MY EARRINGS!!!! I don’t know about you, but I just did not dig what Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin said about community organizers in her acceptance speech last night. Community organizers are the people bailing out the water hands on from the FEMA Katrina fiasco and any and all disasters natural or political. Community organizers make certain our democracy lives up to the meaning of its creed. Community organizers are organizing service people in community centers, faith communities, getting things done without haggling over their political backend. Community organizers respond to needs.
That’s why I felt compelled to set Gov. Palin straight with a Community Organizers Hall of Fame. Hope she stops by this site to check it out. All are welcome. I know I only have a few here. If you’d like to recommend a Community Organizer Hall of Famer, sign up on this blog and share. The list will be long I’m sure. I’ll try to accommodate as many as I can.
Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790) founded the first public library and the first organized volunteer fire department in the United States. Also a “founding father” if you haven’t heard.
Susan B. Anthony (1820 – 1906) The 19th Amendment giving women the vote was the result of the work of Susan B. Anthony’s and other community organizing women and concerned men in the U.S. seeking civil and political rights for women. Sarah Palin should be grateful for the “responsibiltiies Anthony and her colleagues took on for her benefit.”
Jane Addams (1860 – 1935) First woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. Founder with Ellen G. Starr of Hull House, a settlement house in Chicago to improve the conditions of people, primarily new Americans, living in the industrial district. Hull House was host to 2000 people each week.
Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 -1968) Minister, organizer, activist and a leader of the civil rights movement that resulted in the Civil Rights Act (1964) and Voting Rights Act (1965) signed into law by President Lydon B. Johnson. Youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
Mary Harris “Mother” Jones (1837-1930) Fought for better working conditions for miners at the risk of her own life and attracted attention to the cause of abolishing child labor in 1903. She led a march of 100 children up to the doorstep of President Theodore Roosevelt’s Long Island home.
Ida B. Wells (1862 – 1931) As a journalist and owner of her own newspaper, Ida B. Wells launched an anti-lynching campaign that extended to abolitionists in the United Kingdom. Ida B. Wells and Jane Addams blocked the establishment of segregated schools in Chicago. She was a suffragist, founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and was the first African American woman to run for public office (Illinois State legistlator).