In this episode of Wine, Women, and Revolution, Heather sits down with Humanist organizer Michael X to talk about the frustrations and joys of organizing in South Jersey. They also discuss what it means to be “good without God”
What is Humanism
Humanism is a philosophy. Specifically, this philosophy examines what it means to be “good without God”. Humanists follow the atheist school of though, but take things farther then simple disbelief. Humanists seek to answer the question “Ok, we don’t believe in God, now what?” They ask how do we create a just world? The national Humanist organizational structure focuses on social justice.
Michael encountered a few hurdles organizing in the local shore area. If there was ever a time to organize for change, now is it. As a result, when that doesn’t happen frustration ensues. Michael calls himself the most disorganized organizer he knows. Despite that, he keeps working on organizing. His main organizer goal is getting something racial justice related going in South Jersey. South Jersey is scarce on resources, which poses unique challenges.
Michael talks about the challenges of finding an activist group outside a religious organization. Churches regularly promote community activism. However, outside that realm finding community and an outlet can be difficult. Humanists help facilitate the ability for people to be “Good without God”. Mike led people to volunteer at the Food Bank and held clothing drives for Syrian relief. He gives the example of hurricane Sandy relief. Michael saw groups coming in from out of the area, and he wanted to find a way to help in some capacity. He couldn’t find a group to get involved in.
Heather and Michael go on to talk about organizer mistakes. Its easy when you are building something from the ground up to take on all the jobs yourself. As a result, this doesn’t leave room for others to take leadership. Above all, we need to foster new leadership. This is especially true in areas where activism culture does not exist. Heather and Michael both admit to having been guilty of this organizer sin. They also talk about issues of misogyny in the atheist community and issues of over self congratulations.
Heather asks how Michael fights organizer burnout. He suggests that always having a meeting scheduled can keep you on track. In other words, don’t fall into the trap of “I’ll do that tomorrow”. Tomorrow becomes next week, which becomes”we will just skip the meeting this month. ” The Humanist family works best when everyone is involved and regularly meeting. We are all constantly growing as activists and organizer. We have no choice but to keep going though. Time is ticking away and problems are only getting worse.