On January 7th we had the first meeting of our ‚Hegemony How-To‘ reading group. In the last years many of us have stumbled upon this book during our political work, partly as members of DiEM25. Few of us are associated with DiEM25 anymore, but all of us want to learn how to improve our organising skills and understand what went wrong with political organising in the past.
+++ Chapter 1 Summary +++
We began the session with a brief summary of the first chapter „Political Orphans“. In this chapter Jonathan Matthew Smucker (referred to as JMS in the following passages) gives us a brief introduction of himself, his socialization as an organizer and political active person. Far from being a ‚red diaper baby‘ – as he puts it – he left home with 17 years to hitchhike ‚from Pennsylvania up into New England, and then across the Midwest‘. There in the American wilderness he had some kind of a religious epiphany that helped him to connect his christian beliefs with the social justice issues he encountered during his travels. After his return he held his first speech at Lancaster Mennonite High School as a mini-worship service talking about exploitation, sweatshops, union-busting and other issues. Other than he expected a lot of students and teachers were able to connect to his speech and it caused a lot of debates.