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Coordinators returning

Some reflections about coordinators returning to the base after finishing their mandate.

Respecting the level of awareness

According to my experienceycw is functioning best when the young workers (yws) who are part of the action are taking action according to their level of awareness.

“Are the actors of the action playing a role and are they havingresponsibilities and tasks that correspond to their level of awareness or not?” For me, over the last years, this has become the most important question to analyse the “Task of Education” process of an action.

Respecting the level of awareness means on the one handchallenging the yws to do their “best” - which guarantees “training through action” and therefore personal transformation. The consequence is an active, dynamic and stable participation in the action – in other words: motivation, engagement and commitment. On the other hand respecting the level of awareness also prevents us from asking too much and discouraging the yws.

As a consequence the best action is not thebiggest or most ambitious action but the action that takes best into consideration the level of awareness of the young people in initiation and activists, because this action balances best between personal development and political impact (improvement in the reality).

Sometimes we have difficulties to value the action of the yws becausewe are looking at them through the glasses of our experience, from a point of view corresponding to our level of awareness – and not through their eyes!

Not respecting the level of awareness

OK, all this doesn'texplain why a coordinator shouldn't return to the base... Well, it's true... and I didn't want to exclude this option either. What I wanted to say was that I'm critical about this option. Too often I have seen activists or former ycw members not respecting the protagonism of the yws because of a real or implied lack of leaders!

Three major difficulties that I have experienced:

The action is not based on the reality of the yws
Because ofthe different realities of the former ycw members (who assume leadership) and the yws (in initiation) the action is not relevant to the yws, they lose motivation and the action its drive.
The yws are not the protagonists of the action
Because of thedifferent expectations the action is too ambitious, the yws are overstrained and lose motivation! Ycw Spain is a very strong movement in Europe with an amazing history. The struggle against the Franco dictatorship and the division of the iycw had a strong influence and also generated very committed activists! Today ycw Spain is struggling a lot with this history, a lot of former ycw members would like to help the movement to become the strong organisation they knew again – today's leaders on the other hand are struggling to comply with the values projected by the former ycw members...
The yws are not the protagonists of the process of action
Because of the different expectations the action is too slow and the means do not correspond to the interests of the yws, they are underchallenged, get bored and lose motivation! A common example is the analysis: the young workers already want to act when we as leaders still want to deepen the analysis – because we already made the experience that the young workers still have to make!

Elements to be taken into consideration

  1. As a general orientation I think it's imperative to consider an option with former ycw members– or outgoing coordinators – as leaders in the action as a temporary solution of a short duration (max. 1-2 years) and with a very clear plan!
  2. We should be very clear: the reason for implementing this option is because there is no alternative! And the first aim of this option must be to train leaders who will assume the continuity.

Questions that need to be asked!

  1. From a point of view of the yws: what do we want to change?
  2. From a point of view of the yws: how are we able to bring about this change through our action (realistically)?
  3. What role, responsibility and task need to be assumed by whom in order to guarantee training through action? How will we guarantee that the young people will take up the responsibility for their action and become protagonists in the defined period?
These elements are based on my experience and not absolute!


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