Angry Organizer to RNC: “Go to Hell!”

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At the Republican National Convention, Palin and Giuliani mocked Obama’s experience as a community organizer and the attending crowd laughed in response.

Palin and McCain can wear whatever “outsider” mask they wish, nothing can hide the ugliness of their elitism. At the center of their ridicule of community organizing is disrespect for the potential power of the everyday person.

For me, its personal.

Having organized full-time for little over a decade, I have come to intimately know its challenges and responsibilities.

One particular early experience stays with me. Driving to pick up “Claudia,” a 21-year old undocumented immigrant woman for an organizing committee meeting, I worried about how her husband would feel about a young strange man taking his young wife to some meeting at night. When I knocked, a very large man opened the door and stared at me when I asked for Claudia. He turned his head and yelled, “You are not going out! You’re place is here!”

I took several steps back and thought to myself, “he is now about to kick my ass.”

Suddenly, another voice rang out, “I’m going out! I take care of the kids! I pay for the bills! You don’t even have a job! If you don’t like it, you can go!”

I was surprised because everyone told me that Claudia is passive and soft-spoken and would never stand up for herself. In front of my eyes, I saw her transform and exercise a leadership that rippled throughout her entire life.

To paraphrase legendary organizer Fred Ross, organizing helps people realize their potential and provides them the opportunity to fight for what they believe in.

Reformed laws can be ignored. Progressive electeds eventually compromise. Lessons learned from political education can be forgotten. Services can sometimes breed dependence. But organizing expands democracy and develops leaders.

The very nature of the work demands that organizers work longer hours and harder for less money than any elected official in the country. It is unglamorous, unapologetic and not polite. A local priest once remarked to me that only military service and clergy life share the same intensity and duration.

The sweat, blood and tears of organizers like the Civil Rights Movement’s Ella Baker or the Labor Movement’s Mother Jones helped ignite all of the major social movements in history.

It was grassroots organizing, not pretty speeches or messages of change or missteps of an opponent, that enabled a relatively young African American man with a “funny name” to win the all-white Iowa Democratic Primary and eventually become the first African American to lead a major national political party.

Central to organizing is the belief that everyday people have the power within themselves working together to create change and take control of their lives. True leadership develops more leaders.

As Barack Obama always said, “ I’m asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington…I’m asking you to believe in yours.”

john_delloro.GIFWhen the RNC mocked organizing, they not only disrespected organizers but people like Claudia and all of us.

I can only say to the RNC and all those who dismiss organizers…”Go to hell!”

John Delloro is the Executive Director of the Dolores Huerta Labor Institute, LACCD and currently sits on the Legal Advisory Board of the Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA) and the Board of Directors of the PWC. He was one of the co-founders of the Pilipino Workers Center of Southern California (PWC) and served as the president of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA). For the past decade, he also worked as a regional manager/organizer for SEIU 1000, Union of California State Workers, a staff director/organizer for SEIU 399, the Healthcare Workers Union, and an organizer for AFSCME International and HERE 226, the hotel workers union in Las Vegas.

Originally posted on Asian American Action Fund blog. Republished with permission.

Published by the LA Progressive on September 8, 2008
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Comments

  1. Mickey Malone says:

    “One particular early experience stays with me. Driving to pick up “Claudia,” a 21-year old undocumented immigrant woman for an organizing committee meeting…..

    You make your money by pandering to illegals in every state of this union. It is illegial to be an undocumented alien. I cant support “your type of origizer” who knows it is against the law and coninues to do it. Your unions take advantage of these people. I know immigrants, legal and illegal who have worked here for twenty years, but that doesnt make it right.It is illegial to ask illegals to join unions because you cant support them should they or the business owner get caught. Supporting illegals and santuary cities is illegal.

    I had seriously considered voting democratic but supporting illegals is the primary reason I cannot support the Democratic Party,; not Hillary, not Obama, just the party, for that one reason.

    • Sharon Kyle says:

      I don’t see how you can have a discussion of immigration without including the core issue — U.S. Trade policy.

      Look at the numbers coming to this country, then look at the changes that have occurred in our trade policy — you’ll see what appears to be a correlation. The law of survival dictates that the laws of man be trumped.

  2. All of Sarah Palin’s experience is in making the WRONG decisions. Wow, since when is experience only amounted to the number of years? I thought what was more important was what that person had done during that time.

  3. Good gracious, they weren’t making fun of community organizers! They were making fun of Obama’s using his tiny tenure at this “job” as qualification for being able to run the country.

    • Obama was also a law professor and is a Senator. I think he was also a business consultant for some wall street firm right out of college. So he’s had a varied life, but one where he’s usually been some kind of leader.

      The organizer job probably affected him more than other jobs, because it’s so overtly political, in the sense that it helps create grassroots democratic politics. It probably taught him some humility, too — Obama was often the “star” because he’s so smart, personable, and charismatic — being an organizer would have required some serious changes in attitude.

  4. Maybe, but it does not qualify you to be president. It also does not qualify Obama to be president. The one with the most executive experience on either ticket is ironicaly Sarah Palin who is being slimed but so called “liberals” or “Progressives” or whatever polticaly correct name you call yourselves these days. BTW If you knew this person was illegaly in this country, why didn’t you call ICE? Which services did you provide her with using my tax money? Why didn’t they have to obey the law like I did when I came to this country? It took my father 8 years to get what you gave this person who broke the rules to be here!! So why do they get special treatment that my family did not? Is it because they have brown skin and I have white? Should we have disobeyed the law and come here illegaly as well because it would have saved us thousands. What other laws do you support breaking because you don’t like them?

    • Sonofdy,

      I am not surprised that you know how to parrot all the RNC talking points since you are white and your parents weren’t given the “special treatment” that supposedly all people except you got.

      I received the GI Bill to get my education. I used the Veterans benefit to buy my first single family home. I receive disability payments from the Veterans Administration for the rest of my life. I receive discounts at restaurants and grocery stores because I am over 50. I get brokerage discounts because I have a lot of money in my investment account.

      Oh, did I mention that my father was a school teacher and my mother was a home “organizer”.

      Stop talking the talking points and use some “critical thinking”. Surely your father brought you up to think about things.

      Challenge the talking point. Community Organizer is a respectable job. It shouldn’t be degraded by a narcissistic cheerleader/beauty queen. The real measure here is how hard someone had to work to accomplish things. Take the job out of the barrel of “executive” and judge Barack Obama by the effort he had to work to get things done; the backslapping he had to do to government officials; the hope he had to give and maintain for those he was helping.

      I think that Barack is way ahead of Ms Narcissist on the difficulty scale.

      I am a conservative democrat. I once fought for the party but when the right wing evangelicals took over and decided that they were going to regulate my family life and how I lived I just could not longer fight for it.

      Now I see that the party of fiscal responsibility is the Democratic Party. I see that the party who believes war and its violence is left for after all diplomacy has been used is the Democratic Party. I see that the party who keeps government small is the Democratic Party. I see that the party who believes that sacrifice can make a difference in the future for all is the Democratic Party.

      The Republican Party is now the biggest bankrupter of this country leaving a hugh deficit for future generations to deal with.

      The Republican Party, once the party of small government,
      somehow started thinking that incompetent government is the same as small.

      The Republican Party has lost its way. I still believe in sacrifice now for reward for all in the future, balanced budgets, fiscal responsibility, the right size government for the job, and accountability for government spending.

      I am simply convinced that those goals are now the goals of the Democratic Party.

      Ms Palin must be accountable for her extreme views, her ability to lie when expedient, and her accomplishments that are real.

    • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a community organizer. Malcolm X was a community organizer. Sojourner Truth was a community organizer. Harriet Tubman was a community organizer. Cesar Chavez was a community organizer. Ghandi was a community organizer. Jesus was a community organizer. Noah was a community organizer. Frederick Douglas was a community orgainzer. All whom had real responsibilities!!!

      So WTF is Palin talking about?

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