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What Makes ABATE Fun?

by FastFred

Older members like Lance Kidd gave me a few ideas for this month’s article. Lance wants to remind his brothers and sisters that ABATE is about brotherhood and fun first. ABATE was begun in 1971 by Easyrider magazine primarily to repeal the helmet laws passed during the late 60s. Easyriders and others realized a national ABATE would not work by the middle of the 80s. ABATE has changed in many states with some focusing more on charity or other aspects rather than biker rights.

In Reveille for Radicals Saul Alinsky states: “An organization founded on a limited program covering a limited community will live a limited life.” Lance and others suggest we increase the diversity of our program. In particular he and others would like to see more events help downed brothers or those burned out by fire. Chapters are encouraged to participate and organize fun activities and help members in need. By increasing our diversity of activities at the local level we can avoid another pitfall pointed out by Alinsky: “The room within the organization becomes more confined; officers become more entrenched in their decisions, and the program itself becomes routine and static. Would you support a statewide poker run? If so contact your chapter, area, and state coordinator.

Recently there has been a lot of noise made about how one should act and dress when visiting the house of our legislators. It seems to some that decorum is more important than the message or if the message is even heard. I say bullshit because the statehouse belongs to the people of South Carolina not the legislators. The legislators merely serve at the pleasure of the people; hence they are only guests in our house. I suggest we need new fun innovative ways to get our message out to the legislators and the people. Remember sacred cows make the best hamburgers.

Numbers of people are only one of the many factors in an effective demonstration. The timing, choice of target and tactics to be employed are equally important. There have been demonstrations of 400,000 that are hardly remembered and demonstrations of a few dozen that were remarkably effective. Often the critical element involved is the theater. Those who say a demonstration should be concerned with education rather than theater don’t understand either and will never organize a successful demonstration, or for that matter, a successful revolution. (Abbie Hoffman: Steal this Book)

While you or your chapter plans events keep in mind Alinsky’s advice from Rules for Radicals: “A good tactic is one your people enjoy. They'll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They'll even suggest better ones.” You can make more impact to achieve political or social goals like nudging Mayor McBride out of office with some theater. The press eats up theater like the Ride Against McBride. Remember the great fun we had getting tossed from the Senate Gallery in 2004? Do you recall the full court press we gave the opposing lobbyists on the balcony while waiting to get back in? More importantly remember the awesome participation we enjoyed and the victory we won that year? The answer my friend is blowing in the wind… that answer is FUN.

Thomas Jefferson once said: “Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppression of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day.” If more bikers became enlightened of what our legislators are doing at the statehouse participation and membership would both grow. We do our best with this newsletter to keep you up to date during the legislative session but it is no substitute for the nearly daily updates via the ezine. Join the ezine at

Have I done all that I can for biker rights and ABATE of SC? Hell No but I am still trying. The real people that deserve credit for our organizations many past successes are you the people reading this article. Please send in your favorite recipes for sacred cow burgers for the upcoming barbecue session in our state capitol.

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