One last Allinsky point, to get us to our question of the day.
A major of part of Allinsky organizing, which he talks about briefly in Rules for Radicals is about choosing ones battles. He makes a number of points about this (don't organize to accomplish only one thing, you want to be fighting multiple battles and you need new ones to keep your organization going etc.) but here's the one I want to focus on:
Choose a series of escalating battles that you can win. Or, in other words, start small and grow.
The example he uses is from when he was organizing the Back of the Yards in Chicago. He researched the various things the community wanted to improve its lot. He found out that one of them (getting family medical services back into the neighborhood to lower the infant mortality rate) was in fact fairly simple to accomplish. So they set out to do that and once they got that done, used the momentum and the power generated from that to go after the next incrementally larger target.
The friend of mine who introduced me to Allinsky's writing calls this "fixing a stoplight". There are small things one can do to improve the community that can be built on. Power flows from power, afterall.
So here's how we get to theatre... there's a lot wrong with systems of doing business. Most of us agree on that. Many of these problems are very very large and fixing them will take a lot organizing muscle, innovation, grit etc. Think Showcase Code reform (There's a biggee) or dealing with the terrible real estate situation in New York.
But there's also problems that are stoplights that need to be fixed. Smaller things that a group of people could change for the better on the way towards fixing those larger things.
So... here's the question of the day, readers (and my fellow theatre bloggers, if they'd like to take a crack at it). What's one small thing that could be changed for the better through an organized effort in your theatrical community?
Leave answers in comments, on your blog, or e-mail me at parabasisnyc at yahoo dot com.
UPDATE: just in case it wasn't clear, I don't mean the question to be NYC-centric. If you're not based in New York, I'd love to hear one stoplight in your community that you could potentially fix if you had some organization.