September 22, 2010

When eventually we tire of even our fellow national industry executives, brave international horizons beckon imperiously, bringing together associations into super-associations and super-super-associations. Here we enter a rarified realm of advanced association theory, with the 130 intellectual colossi of the American Association of Association Executives directing the destinies of mankind from an assuming office in downtown DC. There is even a United Federation of Alliances, which brings together all the planets in our solar system to battle against the evil Dark Lord…err, sorry, that’s a computer game called RuneScape.

So far, moderately amusing “€“ but some of these bodies probably do some good for their members. The same cannot be said of many political organizations. Some of these are just pointless, or time-expired “€“ NATO, the UN, GATT, the WTO, the EU, the Coalition government “€“ but some are much worse than that. It seems it is not only business executives who are willing to become figures of fun in a very personal cause.

Roll these American examples around your tongue, if you”€™re up to it “€“ the National Alliance of Black School Educators, the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, the Alliance of Black Jews, the National Association of Minority Auto Dealers (or MAD), the Computing Alliance of Hispanic-serving Institutions, the Alliance of Feminist Transition Houses and the Student Alliance of Gay Engineers (these last are very interested in people’s nuts). The usefulness of all these bodies will be immediately apparent to everyone.

It is heartening to learn that even such rarefied bodies can boast an overarching support network, in the magnificent guise of the Association of Equality and Diversity Practitioners “€“ the minutes of whose meetings must be a Kafkaesque delight. Perhaps they should affiliate with the Compressed Air and Gas Institute.

Most of these organizations are very small “€“ just four discerning folk “€œLike”€ the Student Alliance of Gay Engineers on Facebook “€“ but a key thing to remember is that in the internet age we all have the human right to become an organization and annoy the world. And there is a more serious point too “€“ we may all now officially reside in Big Societies or global villages, but we are first and probably will always remain members of (very) little platoons.


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