Thursday, February 25, 2010

Followership, fun, and the forces of evil

Stephanie Van Hook shared this video about leadership.

Thanks, Stephanie!

The basic lessons from this enjoyable video are:
1. Don't be afraid to do what you think is worth doing.

2. Don't be afraid to join someone doing something unpopular but worthy.

3. If someone joins you, embrace them.

4. Encourage others to join you.

5. Treat everyone as equals.

6. Don't glorify leadership.

7. Feel good about following.

When the Berrigan brothers burned draft cards, it came out of a new paradigm. They had a few followers--seven of them--and when they went into the Catonsville, Maryland draft board on 17 May 1968 they did an action so bold, so exciting, so new and so powerful, that they went from lone nuts to leadership.

Dozens of other individuals or groups across the US emulated them. Their model became known as the draft board raids. The Minnesota Seven, the Milwaukee Fourteen, the Camden 28, and many more groups piled on, helping to grind the Selective Service to a crawl.

Phil was the team captain, square-jawed and athletic, a nonviolent John Brown battling the forces of evil with uncompromising good, on the offensive and then standing resolute and ready to take the consequences. I just called him the Sargent Rock of the movement. No Fear. Never Back Down.

Daniel was the pixie literati, adroit and playfully prayerful, offering metaphor and perspective, the leader who transformed the model to poetry and used language like the nonviolent rapier. It was he who best told us why all of them took their actions.

Together they complemented each other and offered an invitation that so many could not resist.

Twelve years later, they did it again, on a different expression (nuclear weapons) of the same evil (war and militarism), when they went into a bomb factory in Pennsylvania and hammered on the nosecone of a warhead, hammering that nuclear sword into a plowshare. It was real and it was symbolic and it was a metaphor, once again, we could all understand.

The Plowshares Eight

There have now been more than 100 Plowshares actions around the world, but more importantly, those actions have themselves often started or enhanced mass movements that really have made progress in fighting war and the weapons of war. One of my favorites was Stephen Hancock's at Molesworth AFB in England, when he wore Micky Mouse ears "to present a friendly silhouette."

"If I can't dance," said Emma Goldman, "I don't want to be part of your revolution."

The dance for peace and justice continues...

Phil kept up the beat until his 2002 death at 79.

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