Published in Issue 530 of The Black Commentator on September 26, 2013

By Larry Pinkney

“Usually when people are sad, they don’t do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change.”
–Malcolm X [el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz]

“Protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy; it is absolutely essential to it.”
–Howard Zinn

The Internet is an incredibly important tool for the free flow of information and the informed exchange and dissemination of ideas and news for everyday ordinary Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people. This is of course why the corporate-owned U.S. government, and its minions, repeatedly attempt to sabotage, subvert, and/or disrupt it. However, the Internet, though a very important tool, is not a replacement or substitute for on-the-ground, face to face communication and organizing.

As the martyred activist Joe Hill correctly said, “Don’t Mourn. ORGANIZE!” A basic and still very relevant and necessary part of organizing, is direct, physical, face to face communication.

Emails alone (or even visible SKYPE interchanges) cannot replace or fully convey the warm fraternal embrace and encouragement from a struggling everyday ordinary person, or the instant, intense on-the-spot, hand shake and eye contact of and from a neighbor, a colleague, or perhaps someone that we have only just met. The Internet cannot replace the smell of just baked bread or the aroma of brewing coffee, or the intensity of people’s feelings at a grassroots political organizing event.

Successful organizing is not only about the dissemination of ideas, news, and information – but about passion – passion for the collective well being of one another! Do not allow the incessant vomit of the corporate-stream media to physically alienate us from each other! We are flesh and blood humans– ORGANIZERS – NOT ROBOTRONS!

It’s still amazing how that when we are sad or feeling down, a personal face to face visit or even a phone call can, like nothing else, reinvigorate and motivate us, and give us renewed strength to carry on. This too, must be applied in our organizing.

So for a certainty: USE the Internet, and use it regularly, wisely, and effectively – but in so doing, always remember the necessity of and for the direct, face to face personal touch.

John Brown, Harriet Tubman, Joe Hill, Rosa Luxemburg, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Bobby Sands, and so many others did not have the Internet – but they nonetheless moved mountains of humanity! Can we do any less?

Remember: Each one, reach one. Each one, teach one. Onward, then, my sisters and brothers. Onward…!


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