Individuals, Teams, Leagues and Cartels
by David Rambeau
Teams win. Teams of teams, aka leagues, do even better. And then there are cartels.
I have an intellectual, Facebook colleague, Tdka Kilimanjaro, of the KMT University Press whose posts I publish regularly on our Concept East Institute websites on Facebook.com. I also frequently use his motto, Teams win, to close-out my online correspondence. I've also taken to adding a couple of additional comments....Teammates communicate. And another...Teams of teams, aka leagues, do even better. My additions add depth and breath to the development process.
The individual is the first level of organization. We've all heard the saying, "I've got to get myself together." Ok. That's true and fine, as far as it goes. But for community building, that's not far enough. You have to take the next step, and in long-range planning, steps.
The next level of organization is the group or team. You will need a team that is disciplined and trained an accomplish more, much more, than an individual. However, a team by itself is still vulnerable. A team, like an individual, is a stand-alone entity. Teams, not be involved in leagues or conferences, can be squeezed out of participation with their rivals that are organized to control competition and revenues, especially income from mass media (television, the Internet, radio and print).
A team of teams, a league, is the next level of organization and much less vulnerable than a stand-alone or individual team. Two examples of successful black leagues are the Negro Baseball Leagues and the black college sport leagues. There are others that you probably could add to the list.
Successful individual black basketball teams included the Harlem Globetrotters and the New York Rens. Neither of these two teams managed to expand from their individualism to form black basketball leagues. Nor could they develop institutions, the next level of protection for leagues. The Rens dissolved and the Globetrotters became a touring comedy show with competitive basketball as merely a distant memory once the NBA, a league, integrated their teams.
So when we hear the off-the-cuff call for us to get 'organized' we need to recognize the lack of practice, knowledge and sophistication that such overtures demonstrate, even on merely a theoretical or rhetorical level.
We need a much deeper degree of reading and research to meet the organizational challenges of contemporary society, given the complex structural forms that currently exist. We clearly won't be able to advance or even survive unless we go far beyond the individual and even the team if we are to meet today's global competition. After the team, the next step is the league, and we must take our game to a much higher level if we are to become the champions so many of us think we are.
And then there are cartels.
Cartel - a voluntary often international combination of private enterprises supplying like commodities or services that agree to limit their competitive activities (as by allocating customers or markets, regulating quality or quantity of output, pooling returns or profits, fixing prices or terms of sales, exchanging techniques, trademarks or patents, or by other methods of controlling production, price or distribution).
A cartel is the next level of organization that organizes beyond the league to control an entire industry nationally and internationally, horizontally and vertically. The oil business is a cartel which attempts to control oil research, discovery, production, distribution, on an international basis regardless of national borders. No aspect of the energy business escapes their purview. The corporate interests, held together by the practice of international capitalism of the oil cartel, supersedes national interests and boundaries.
We are struggling to be on the first step, the individual, of the organizational ladder. Our only potentially unifying international proposition is Pan-Africanism, not nationalism, not religion, not financial ideology. Even that is a difficult solution to an intractable problem. But, what else have we got? Where else can we begin? Let's get started.