Thursday, March 6, 2014
Why People Who Are Disillusioned With BATS Won't Make a Complete Break
I have been thinking about why so many people who claim to be completely disillusioned with BATS and it leaders won't make a complete break and remain in the main group, or our state groups, while reserving their most bitter attacks against us for sites where we don't have the power to delete.
And it's for this reason: It's not only the number of members that BATS has, it's that the structure which Priscilla, and Marla and Melissa and so many others has created is virtually impossible to recreate. We are talking about the combination of a national organization, fifty state groups, a twitter page, a website, a youtube channel, a Pinterest site, and at least forty theme groups, staffed, by our latest estimate, by 245 volunteers! This gives this organization incredible flexibility that few, if any activist organizations can match. What other group has more than 50 moderators making sure divisive content doesn't appear on its main page? What other group has local organizations that can launch actions in a state or region and then put out a 911 call and have a national organization come to its defense in a matter of days, and in some instances a matter of hours.
This is really quite unprecedented. Even the teachers unions, which have millions of members are envious of how quickly we can move into action, and Diane Ravitch knows when there is a crisis where she wants resources moved quickly, that we are the group to call
We- and again, I want to largely credit Marla and Priscilla and Melissa, have created a structure which is hierarchical enough to make quick decisions, whether about deleting posts or launching actions,and yet still leave huge amounts of room for local initiative.
You cannot recreate this with 5 people, 50 people, or 500 people. That is the elephant in the room. It is why so many people have tried to take us over. It is also why people disillusioned do not want to leave.
It is also why this group has immense resilience and staying power- at least so long as people are wiling to put in the work to make the structure run.
In some ways, this is an organizational miracle because it has been done without incorporating, without raising money, without accepting grants.
It is fueled by the passionate commitment of hundreds of brilliant people who have been demonized, underestimated, and excluded from power- America's teachers. Who are ready to show their many enemies that their voice cannot be silenced