Not the Meeting, but the Follow-up That Matters Most

ACORN ACORN International Community Organizing

Milan       There’s an old adage in organizing, that it’s not as much what happens in the meeting that counts, it’s what happens after the meeting that matters.  Said another way, it’s all in the mop-up and the follow-up.  If there were problems in the meeting, it’s how those problems can be solved or sanded down.  If there were plans, inspirations, and excitement, it’s all in the implementation, the next steps, and pushing down on the accelerator to create momentum.

As we waved fond adieus to one group after another leaving to travel back to Toronto, Ottawa, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Little Rock, Grenoble, Paris, Frankfurt, and Lyon, mi companera and I headed for the Bas train station on the Rhone-Alps line to begin our journey that would cover ten hours and five trains to Milan.  There had been a landslide on the normal train route that would usually take a bit more than five hours from Lyon, so we were on a jounada de morte with another train change in St. Etienne, then yet another in Lyon, with a reroute through Geneva, Switzerland, and a last change in Brig near the Swiss and German border before crossing into Italy and finally a bit before 10pm arriving at Milan Centrale.  The scenery was gorgeous, especially between Geneva and Brig, as we traveled through the Alps, along rivers and between scraggly, snow dotted peaks and rounded mountain tops.  It gave us time to think, so we could start making the lists to follow-up.

Could we finally get all of the offices to begin recording their own shows for the ACORN Radio station?  We got a lot of commitments, but can we convert them into getting members on the air and listening to each other country to country?

The discussions and insights on housing organizing were excellent and profound.  A plan was made to produce a summary so that it can be shared across the offices.  Perhaps there might be funding in Europe for a larger report that pulled all of these strings together and compared provisions and policies to unite the campaigns?  Make sure that happens!  Same for the discussion on raising up the work we are doing on climate and environmental issues.  We need to make sure we’re not hiding our hat under a basket!

We’re doing so much training in country after country for allies, unions, other community organizations, and even political formations while a long line of others are demanding even more.  How can we build the capacity to expand what we can offer and dedicate resources to advance the progressive forces from Milwaukee to Marseille, Frankfurt to Dublin, Sofia to Bratislava, Nairobi to Douala to Tunis and beyond?  Where can we find the support?  Related might be some training videos suggested by our partners at the Everett Program at the University of California at Santa Cruz and now at the University of Geneva as well?  How can we pursue both directions and find the resources?  The same question involved databases, phone apps, and new organizing tools.  We’re so close, but how do we make it all happen?

The meeting was exciting and fruitful, but now we face the harder tasks of making it all happen with so much to do and so little time and resources to meet the challenges now.

Please enjoy some new music from Glasgow.

Thanks to KABF.