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The Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show Podcast

Staughton Lynd; Accompanying as an Alternative to Organizing

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Staughton served as director of Freedom Schools in the Mississippi Summer Project of 1964.  In April 1965, he chaired the first march against the Vietnam War in Washington DC.  In August 1965, he was arrested together with Bob Moses and David Dellinger at the Assembly of Unrepresented People in Washington DC, where demonstrators sought to declare peace with the people of Vietnam on the steps of the Capitol.  In December 1965, Staughton along with Tom Hayden and Herbert Aptheker made a controversial trip to Hanoi, in hope of clarifying the peace terms of the Vietnamese government and the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam.

Because of his advocacy and practice of civil disobedience, Lynd was unable to continue as a full-time history teacher.  The history departments at five Chicago-area universities offered him positions, only to have the offers negatived by the school administrations.  In 1976, Staughton became a lawyer and until his retirement at the end of 1996 worked for Legal Services in Youngstown, Ohio.  He specialized in employment law, and when the steel mills in Youngstown were closed in 1977-1980 he served as lead counsel to the Ecumenical Coalition of the Mahoning Valley, which sought to reopen the mills under worker-community ownership, and brought the action Local 1330 v. U.S. Steel. 

He has  written, edited, or co-edited with his wife Alice Lynd more than a dozen books.

This interview is based on Lynd's book, 
Accompanying; Pathways to Social Change. 

rough notes from the interview
(mostly my questions and quotes by him which I read)

Accompanying is an alternative to Organizing.

It's similar to Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed?

Hogan: Many Minds, One Heart:

What did you do at the Freedom School? (in summer 1964

With accompanying, you go TO the people you want to help, to engage in activism with, with the assumption that you both have power, expertise and resources to bring to the table. 

Two experts.

Accompanar, accompanendo in Spanish

Tells us about Oscar Romero and why you bring him into your book. 

Romero was born of a peasant family, became a priest, and became a Bishop in one part of El Salvador-- a conservative bishop, archbishop" 

Liberation Theology" 

Current Pope defrocked Liberation Theologist Priests.

Let's talk about unions. You say in your book, "How did the new trade union movement become a top down, bureaucratic affair that caused me to describe rank-and-file labor activists as "broken hearted lovers"?

Punching Out by Glaberman

Quotation by Frederick Douglas

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what a people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."

You also say, "I came away from the struggle with another conviction as well: that only local unions, not any national union or federation of nation unions, could be looked to for visionary energy and sends of change."

My take away is that you believe that the most effective activism is not centralized. 

And you say in your book, "Too often, Left intellectuals gather together and ask each other, "Now, how can we attract workers?" When workers show up, they are a minority. The culture and vocabulary of the meetings have already been established by middle-class conveners, and the workers soon leave."

"The whole bureaucratic apparatus has arteriosclerosis-- that also applies to the central labor body."

You talk about how small acts can become the key events that make big changes happen. 


Exemplary action? 


You say about occupy:


Acccompanying and occupying are first cousins, or perhaps, to speak more precisely, blood brothers. 

That is, when people set out to walk together as equals, to "make the road by walking,"  there is likely to grow from that horizontal companionship a shared desire for more enduring arrangements. 


Below and to the left (as subcomandante Marcos calls it.)

Our most urgent objective is not to give someone else the authority to act on our behalf. Our greatest need is not to hand over to somebody other than ourselves the responsibility to remake the world. 

No, we need to remake the world. 

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Rob Kall is editor-in-chief, publisher and site architect of OpEdNews.com, President of Futurehealth, Inc, and an inventor. He hosts the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, aired in the Metro Philly area on AM 1360, WNJC. Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com

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Lynd's idea on accompanying as a bottom up alterna... by Rob Kall on Friday, Feb 8, 2013 at 3:00:02 PM