Those block captains aka bosses are who elected official seek out during campaigns.
Politics like many things is a game of numbers. In essence everyone is a politician of some sort. Whether its your family, friends, congregation, union, or supper club, you have a constituency. The larger your influence is over your group the more valuable electeds and other leaders will find you. In Boston’s communities of color, pastors for good or bad get involved in politics (favor, grants, power) aside. The reason they wield influence isn’t for their moral stewardship of the community or for their sage advice. They have a steady constituency. Each Sunday, a couple of hundred folks gather. This is influence. If I can get in front of your congregation and earn what sounds and feels like an endorsement from pastor but of course isn’t, because that would be in violation of their non profit status, that sways congregants.
In my time as an elected, I was uncomfortable with this particular trade off. First because I found it intrusive to those going to church for fellowship and the good word. I rather engage you on the sidewalk outside in the community streets. I told you I’m 10 toes down in these streets. Secondly, I think pastors in Boston’s communities of color usurp alot of influence from the electeds. But I’ll get to that at a later date. But I get it. Historically, in communities of color, church was the only sanctuary to meet so almost all community business was done there. Besides, where else can you find a couple of hundred folks gathered weekly in these same communities in fellowship ? No where else. Another topic for another time.
Unions endorse because you agree to support them and they agree to support you. They grade you, track you, lobby you, protest you if you go rogue. They wield their power publicly. You’ve been following the BPD union and their statements around body cameras and militarized equipment recently? The leaders speak for their membership.
Some pay tithes, some pay dues, some pay both.
My point was before I digressed was that the larger your constituency, the larger your influence on this group, the more desireable you are politically and the more influence you may wield for the benefit of your group, your community or even your own selfish sinister goals. I’m just keeping it 300 with you.
Unions have political influence because of organized numbers. Pastors have influence because of organized numbers. Civic leaders have influence because of organized numbers.
You want to get a leg up ? Get organized. Grow your numbers.
boston globe photo above
local 26 photo above