10 Elements of an Ideal Organizer (according to Saul Alinsky)

(ref: Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky, pg 72-80)

  1. Curiosity. The organizer is driven by a compulsive curiosity that knows no limits. “Curiosity killed a cat” has no meaning to the organizer.
  2. Irreverence. Nothing is sacred. The organizer detests dogma, finite definitions of morality, rebels against any repression of a free, open search for ideas.
  3. Imagination. It ignites and feeds the force that drives the organizer to organize for change.
  4. A sense of humor. Laughter is not just a way to maintain sanity but also a key to understanding life.
  5. A bit of a blurred vision of a better world. While working on his/her own small bit, an organizer can keep going with a blurred vision of a great mural where multitudes of others are also painting their bits.
  6. An organized personality. An organized organizer is able to be comfortable in a disorganized situation, rational in a sea of irrationality.
  7. A well-integrated political schizoid. An organizer can polarize an issue 100 to nothing and help lead his/her forces into the conflict while remembering there will come a time for negotiation and that in reality there is only a 10% difference between the two sides.
  8. Ego. There is an unreserved confidence in one’s ability to do what must be done.
  9. A free and open mind, and political relativity. An organizer becomes a flexible personality, not a rigid structure that breaks when something unexpected happens. In the political world, all values are relative. An organizer avoids disillusionment by not succumbing to illusion.
  10. Creating the new out of the old. New ideas come out of challenge to the sacred ideas of the past and the present and inevitably a conflict has raged.

The basic difference between the leader and an organizer:

  • The leader goes on to build power to fulfill desires, to hold and wield power for purposes both social and personal. The leader wants the power.
  • An organizer finds a goal in creation of power for others to use.

Also check out 8 Stages of Successful Social Movements.

26 Women Who Changed the World

(ref: Amelia to Zora: Twenty-six Women Who Changed the World, by Cynthia Chin-Lee)

  1. Amelia Earhart (1897-1937) – pilot
  2. Babe Didrikson Zaharias (1914-1956) – athlete
  3. Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin (1900-1980) – astronomer
  4. Dolores Huerta (1930- ) – union co-founder
  5. Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) – first lady
  6. Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) – painter
  7. Grace Hopper (1906-1992) – computer scientist
  8. Helen Keller (1880-1968) – advocate for the disabled, women’s rights, and peace activist
  9. Imogen Cunningham (1883-1976) – photographer
  10. Jane Goodall (1934- ) – naturalist
  11. Kristi Yamaguchi (1971- ) – ice skating champion
  12. Lena Horne (1917- ) – entertainer
  13. Maya Lin (1959- ) – architect
  14. Nawal El Sadaawi (1931- ) – women’s rights activist
  15. Oprah Winfrey (1954- ) – talk show host
  16. Patricia Schroeder (1940- ) – congresswoman
  17. Quah Ah (1893-1949) – artist
  18. Rachel Carson (1907-1964) – environmentalist
  19. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi (1945- ) – democratic leader
  20. Mother Teresa (1910-1997) – servant of the poor
  21. Ursula Le Guin (1929- ) – writer
  22. Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit (1900-1990)- diplomat
  23. Wilma Mankiller (1945-), chief of the Cherokee nation
  24. Chen Xiefen (1883-1923) – journalist
  25. Yoshiko Uchida (1922-1992) – writer
  26. Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) – anthropologist, writer

Cynthia Chin-Lee is an award winning children’s book author who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read more about her.


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