What you are about to read is virtually unknown. Yet it is an old story.
I first read a version of this story in Douglas Hyde’s little book, Dedication and Leadership (1956). Hyde had been a Communist Party leader in Great Britain in the 1930s and 1940s. In the late 1940s he defected and joined the Roman Catholic Church. He wrote a fine autobiography, I Believed.
In 1962, he gave a seminar in front of priests and nuns. He called it Dedication and Leadership Techniques. I own a photocopy of the minutes of that seminar. I have reprinted most of it. It is posted on my website,
This leadership training strategy, when coupled with Facebook (free), YouTube (free), WordPress.com (free), and Amazon S3 (dirt cheap), will work for Tea Party activists to begin to capture small counties that the Establishment ignores. There are over 3,000 counties in the United States. Most of them are like ripe fruit, ready to be picked.
This can be called the Wal-Mart strategy: build your organization in the sticks, where nobody notices until it’s way too late.
It can also be called the dogcatcher strategy. You can read about it here.
To work, this strategy takes dedication. It takes time. It takes perseverance. It also takes leaders. It takes the system used by the Communists to train their leaders.
The reason why it works is simple: nobody else has the same degree of dedication and perseverance.
In a world of television addiction, a dedicated person has the advantage.
How dedicated are you?
Here, I reproduce the section of Douglas Hyde’s manual on the story of Jim. If, after you have read it, you think it makes sense, email it to a like-minded fanatic.
Let me give you the story of one man who came to the Communist Party and how we made a leader of him. You will note the stages in his development and the steps which the communists believe are required in the formation of a leader through instruction.
I had been giving a leadership course. I was the tutor. When I came to the last session, I ended it by saying what the communists the world over say: “The Communist Party is able to take anyone who is willing to be trained in leadership and turn him into a leader.” I will repeat that because the communists believe it. The Communist Party is able to take anyone who is willing to be trained in leadership and turn him into a leader.
You note the one qualification–if he is willing to be trained. That presupposes an attitude of mind which communist parties have to try to create.
I closed my series with those words; I got down from the platform. A new recruit who was doing the course came to me and said that he wanted to be made into a leader. He did not say it like that. It was not as simple as that. As I looked at him, I thought I had never seen anyone look less like a leader in my life. He was short, grotesquely fat, with a great, flabby, wide, uninteresting face, as unprepossessing a man as you will find anywhere. He had a cast in one eye, and the poor man had a most distressing stutter too, and so quite literally he said to me–I am not making fun of the man–”C-c-comrade, I w-w-want you t-t-to -t-take me and t-t-train me and t-t-to t-t-t-tum me i-i-into a l-l-leader of m-men.” I wondered how I was going to do it. I wondered why we had made that big claim of being able to take anyone who was willing.
Here was Jim, pathetically willing, but how were we going to do it? I thought, this is a challenge, and so I told him: “If you come to our classes, Jim, you will have to study. You will learn dialectical and historical materialism. From that you will learn that the very laws of the universe are on the side of communism. The law of change, progress coming through conflict, is something which we use, which helps us, which guarantees our ultimate victory, provided that we understand our communism sufficiently well.”
“You will see that there has been a pattern in history–running through history over the years, building up to the ultimate triumph of communism. We shall only succeed in our aim if a sufficient number of people are trained in leadership, understand the moment of opportunity and seize it when it comes.”
I gave him a hope; I gave him a goal. I gave him something to work towards, and I set out to give him confidence in himself. That is the first step on the way to making a man a leader. You must give him self-confidence.
That in itself is not enough. The world is full of people who are bursting with self-confidence and have nothing to back it up. They are not leaders. They are just nuisances. So, the next thing was, of course, to give him something to be confident about. In other words, we gave him his instruction; we gave him something which others had not got. When he had been going to classes some eight or nine months, I went to him one night and I said, “You know, Jim, you ought to be a tutor.”
He was absolutely terrified.
I said, “You have been in the Party now for some time. You have been attending classes for eight or nine months. Have you learned anything?”
He said, “Yes, I have learned a lot.”
I said, “Well, you know, the majority of people who join the Communist Party know as little as you did when you joined. In other words, they know practically nothing about our theories. Now if you have already learned a lot, this means that you know more than the people who have just joined.
He said, “Yes.”
I said, “The whole art of teaching is to know just a little bit more than the people you are teaching–if you do, you can get away with it. If people ask you questions, and you do not know the answers, all right, go to your textbook. Say, ‘I do not know the answer, but I will give it to you next week.’ Go to the textbook. Find it there. In that way you will learn. If you cannot find it there, I will give it to you.”
And so I made him feel that he was adequate to the task. And he was.
I did not send him as a building worker with a minimum of education to teach dialectical materialism to nuclear physicists. I taught him to take a beginners’ class for building workers, like himself. This was a tremendous thing in his training as a leader, because here was a new relationship between himself and his fellow workers. They were sitting at his feet at night. He was teaching them what he knew. This was good for his confidence. And in order to do it, he had to think out what we had taught him. He had to get some order into his thinking, some discipline into his thought, which the average man does not have to do. He had to learn to get the ideas, which we put into his head, out of his head and into the head of the other person. In other words, he had to become articulate. You cannot be a leader if you are not, and so we made him articulate. We gave him a clear goal towards which to work. We made him see his role in the wider fight, and, of course, we sent him into action.
Those were important steps in his formation as a leader; ones worth noting and trying to follow, I think. At any rate in due course, I asked him if he would go through a public speaking course. He went. It is a course pretty much the same as the course which Frank Sheed would give to members of the Catholic Evidence Guild.
Then we put him up at the street corner, in the market place. We did not turn him into a great orator. We did not even cure him of his stutter, which became modified as he gained confidence in himself. But he was still agitating for communism and propagandizing twenty years later.
Having given him–and this is an essential part in training a leader–the broader training in leadership, we told him that he must lead in a specialized field, and this is important too. We did not throw him to the wolves and say: “All right, you go into your labor union and start leading them.” We gave him six months preparation.
(To read the rest of the story, click the link.)