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Accompanying vs Organizing as a Mode of Activism and Change: Transcript of an interview with Staughton Lynd

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Staughton Lynd Interview 2-06-2013 Part 1 of a two part interview.

From AHA 2007: Staughton Lynd Speaking at the AHA against the Iraq War.
AHA 2007: Staughton Lynd Speaking at the AHA against the Iraq War.
(Image by YouTube)
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AHA 2007: Staughton Lynd Speaking at the AHA against the Iraq War. by YouTube

I interviewed Staughton Lynd on February 6, 2013.  This is part one of a two part interview. Here's a link to the audio podcast.

Thanks to Don Caldarazzo   for doing the transcript.

Rob Kall:   And Welcome to the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, WNJC 1360 AM out of Washington Township, reaching South Jersey and metro Philly, sponsored by . If you want to get news that's Progressive and Liberal, go to And you don't even need to remember .  Just do a Google search for "Liberal news" or "Progressive opinion," and shows up right the top, usually.  Why?  Because Google knows that that's where people go when they're looking for Liberal News and Progressive Opinion.

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My guest tonight is Staughton Lynd.  He is the author of a bunch of books.  The one that got my attention was Accompanying: Pathways to Social Change.  Staughton Lynd taught American History at Spelman College and Yale University.  He was director of Freedom Schools in the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer.  He was an early leader of the movement against the Vietnam War.  He was Blacklisted and unable to continue as an academic.  He then became a lawyer, and in this capacity has assisted rank and file workers and prisoners for the past thirty years.  He's written more than a dozen books with his wife Alice.  Welcome to the show!

Staughton Lynd:   I'm happy to be here, and you've got the intro exactly right in every respect! 

Rob Kall:   Well thank you. I read it from the book, so /

Staughton Lynd:   (Laughs)

Rob Kall:     It made it easy (laughs).  So, you've got a very interesting book here.  And what you're really talking about is a different way of activism, of making change happen from organizing.  You're saying that accompanying is an approach to working with people that is different than organizing.  That's the nut, the core of the message of the book, right?

Staughton Lynd:   That's exactly right.

Rob Kall:   From what I read, what you're talking about has some similarity to what Paulo Freire has talked about.  That you've got to go the people and get them involved and connect with them, and not do a kind of "Top down, tell-them-what-to-do and when-to-do-it and how-to-do-it kind of thing."

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Staughton Lynd: .  And that's correct as well.  When we did the Mississippi Freedom Schools, to the best of my recollection, we didn't know of Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed, but basically we proceeded in that manner.  The same is true of accompanying generally, which grew out of my wife's practice of Draft Counseling In the 60s: where instead of trying to tell a young man what he ought to do, she listened and they worked it out together.

Rob Kall:   Well, I'm pretty sure that Paulo Freire didn't write his book until the late 70s.   So yes.

Staughton Lynd:   (laughs)

Rob Kall:   In the sixties, you wouldn't have read his book!  You were just walking in similar paths.

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Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind. Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives one person at a time was too slow, he founded which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big) to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project.

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