First Post.

This is my first post, and will probably be one of the most depressing ones that you'll ever read from me. I came to New Orleans because I was compelled to continue the work that I had started with a grassroots organization that I'll just refer to as...The Organization. One year later, and it has been decided that we're going to shut it down. It breaks my heart to say this, especially since I feel like in the past year our organizing coordinator (the OC, for short) and I really accomplished a lot. But there are others in the organization who feel that we're just beating a dead horse, even though they don't do the day to day work and mostly sit back and complain about it. Sigh.

A part of me does believe that they are right. New Orleans is too corrupt for bottom-up organizing to succeed, there are too many other organizations in the city that claim to be doing similar work, we have too many enemies and no protection, blah, blah, blah. But another part of me feels like the OC is too heavily influenced by people who aren't doing the day-to-day work with us; her father-in-law and her husband. Her husband never wanted to come back here, and her father-in-law has been telling her to quit since she arrived last September and is out of the country for most of the year. I also think there is some sexism and ageism involved, and they chose a time when she was weak, depressed, and stressed out to badger her into admitting that we needed to stop. When she doesn't know what to do, she just listens to them, and I'm never around when this shit goes on.

Bottom up organizing is sort of the family business, and she inherited it when her brother-in-law failed in New Orleans. She and I tried for a year to recreate the magic that we experienced as volunteers in 2006, and I think that for our volunteers we did that. We just weren't able to recreate the resident participation and revolutionary thinking that marked that summer. The idea that poor black people could decide for themselves how their neighborhoods should be rebuilt doesn't seem like a revolutionary idea until you see it happen and realize that you've never seen or heard of anything like this before.

I'm rambling, so I'll stop. I'll just end this by saying that I may agree with closing this down, but I don't agree with how its being done and it will be a long time before this sits well with me, if it ever does.

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