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My philosophic notes about Volunteer-Activist Seedlings / Volunteer Union

I've found a particular niche that I really care about and think is tremendously important, but haven't figured out how to name, to be dysfunctional. The area between angry political ranting and non-political service-provision. And the area between showing up once to serve food to the homeless and using the same skills you use in your profession. Trying to get starry-eyed idealism connected to accomplishing some of that idealism. In my wanderings it seems that this is much of where movements are born, with people learning empowering skills that change who they are and keep the idealism alive. The giant peace marches, Global Exchange and smaller nonprofits along those lines are the area where volunteer/activism seems broken (especially in the Bay Area, in my limited experience)(tons of people I talk to at small nonprofit events have asked the question "why bother with volunteers" and said no -- especially in the realm where people are participating more deeply than doing some task.) The groups I joined since moving here, in the fields I personally like, burnout seems incredibly high in all the groups that aren't just running on anger... long time Bay Area activists I've talked to tend to talk about a better time in the past, and I tend to believe them, that what generated the progressive and wonderful aspects of SF & Berkeley is fading. I want to understand why.

Maybe the first steps would involve naming this area. Empowering, idealistic, not afraid to touch politics, not afraid to do some work. Most of the life-altering activism/volunteerism was half-way between activism & volunteerism.

Any ideas on a word that or phrase that combines volunteering and activism?

Maybe this will turn into a book or a survey instead of / alongside Volunteer Union...

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." Mohandas Gandhi.

Personal examples that fall in this area, things that have inspired me (from my talk with Rachel):

* Travel-volunteer-activism: volunteer towards the host community, activist in it's aims towards the "community" of travelers. The Pai clean-up.
* Going into schools talking about tobacco, including health / empowerment / looking out for peers and standing against the machine.
* Vegetarian education, esp the mix of cooking and teaching together
* Food Not Bombs falls in this category though it had more of a radical flavor than my personal inspiration

Looking for parallels after the fact: these were all culturally non-specific [not church based, not necessarily one age group, not one flavor of approach -- hard to guess how people will dress just from participation (Food Not Bombs tending to be the one exception: they were anarchists as well as people who wanted to provide food to the poor and see that the poor were fed.)]. They are all fundamentally "induction" as opposed to "deduction":

Deduction: Liberalism is correct, so let's gather some liberals and work on this smaller point of liberalism. [activist focused]
Induction: Empowering kids to fight off tobacco is the focused point of this exercise, the relatively direct knowledge that this needs to be done will bring us together (conservative, liberal, anarchist, whatever) [volunteer focused], but it likely will lead us towards broader implications... [the hybrid I don't have a word for yet]

Engaged Volunteerism. Pragmatic Activism. Rooted Activism...