Image via Wikipedia"Since I had the inclinatation and the training, helping people came naturally. I wasn't thinking in terms of organizing members, but just a duty that I had to do. That goes back to my mother's training. It was not until later that I realized that this was a good organizing tool, although maybe unconsciously, I was already beggining to understand.
But I was used by people for a long time until I wised up. It wasn't that they wanted to do it, but that I was not prepared or able to tell them what to do in return. My work was just another war on poverty gimick, which is what happens when people are given everything and don't give anything in return. you can't mold them into any action.
Well, one night it just hit me. Once you helped people, most became very loyal. The people who helped us back when we wanted volunteers were the people we had helped. So I began to get a group of those people around me.
Once I realized helping people was an organizing technique, I increased that work. I was willing to work all day and night and go to hell and back for people- provided they also did something for the CSO in return. I never felt bad asking for that. It didn't contradict my parents' teachings, because I wasn't asking for something for myself.
For a long time we didn't know how to put that work together into an organization. But we learned after a while- we learned how to help people by making them responsible. Today it's the same principle with the Union. And it works. We don't get everybody, but we get enough to get that nucleus. I think solving problems for people is the only way to build solid groups."
— Cesar Chavez