I don't know Ganz, I don't think I'm following, or maybe I don't fully agree, or maybe you're being a bit too simplistic but I have an issue.

Ganz has an absolutely brilliant rubric for personal story telling for community organising and it goes like this:

Tell the story of me > Tell the story of us > Tell the story of now.

Basically you share your personal narrative, then the story of how you and me can be part of an action to solve a problem right now.  Seems solid, but like a lot of theories that seem solid on paper there are other complexities that we need to look at.

By the way Ganz writes this in his journal articles it appears that all you need to do is share personal stories, or as I call it, bleed all over the floor for the folks in the room, and then they will join you and you will achieve change and everything is going to be just wonderful.

I want to get it clear that it's not that I think that this doesn't work, it clearly, truly, does, but it's not that simple in the real world.

There is clearly more to it than this and the article I read where he outlines this seems too straightforward and simple, way too simple.  There clearly are complexities here, whose story? How often? when? Why them? Who is the best messenger? Are there stories that are just out of bounds? Can a story do the complete opposite and backfire?

These things aren't explored by Ganz in the article I read and I wish they were.  I agree with you sir, but just because I bleed all over the floor to extract sympathy, empathy and a values based connection with someone doesn't mean that one, they will care, two, they will listen and most importantly, that I will be emotionally safe, during and after the story telling.

I'm going to use this format of story telling for community organising, absolutely, but I would have appreciated a little more nuance as to the technicalities of it so I can avoid any pitfalls.  Because having the theoretical concept but not the technical aspects is like being given an IKEA piece of furniture without an assembly instruction sheet, you have to just figure that shit out on your own.  Not fun, specially if there is someone out there who could have just made your life easier and given you some instruction.

Moving on.

Now to Mr Barack Obama.  Obama used some brilliant strategies to get people to campaign for him and with him.  I don't think this is lost on anybody and he was clearly very effective.

What I will take from that reading is that community organising is incredibly painful, it's an art not a science and requires a lot of nuance, knowledge, skill and pot luck. All of these things worked, and all of these things are good things to do but I'm trying to do them at my organisation one day a week with absolutely no money.

If anything, this reading has drilled home to me that a campaign organiser needs to be an artist, a 'social arsonist', a fundraiser, a magician, a conjurer and a problem solver.  I think the campaigns I'm trying to win at work are perfectly solvable and winnable, but I have to jump out of that mainframe of 'we don't have any money!' to 'how can we get the right people to resource us?'.

Another thing I learnt is to manage expectations.  Obama promised so much hope, in fact, that was his byline, HOPE. He promised so much and has not delivered, and if he has not to the standard he said he would, for a whole lot of reasons, some not even directly about him.  

Enter the moral dilemma, what do you do? If you rally people to you because you promise the world and don't deliver, then what? Have you done a disservice to your movement or cause? Should people expect the impossible and then blame you when you can't do the impossible, and sometimes you can't even do the possible? how do you manage expectations, realities and insecurities?

Who knows?

I guess to manage expectations you need to be an artist, a 'social arsonist', a fundraiser, a magician, a conjurer and a problem solver.

I'm going to need the collective wisdom of my fellow Fellows I think..

 

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