Subject: Organizing

  • Organizing Will Win

    For anyone who organizes and advocates for worker justice, the last months of 2016 felt like an unmitigated disaster. But even as we begin 2017 facing grave uncertainty about the future for working people, we should not forget the accomplishments…

  • If It Can Happen in Virginia…

    I've been reading Ruth Berta and Amanda Leonard Pohl's book, Building Power, Changing Lives, about Virginia Organizing. It's a tale of community organizing a whole state. Virginia Organizing is certainly not the only statewide community organizing effort. In fact, Joe…

  • Dr. King and The Poor People’s Campaign

    Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed in 1968 while in Memphis supporting striking sanitation workers. Up until that time, he'd spoken about the dignity of all labor and the necessity of fair wages. He'd also begun to explore how the…

  • A Community is Organized, But Where’s Superfund?

    It’s probably the worst Superfund site in the U.S.: a smoldering fire in a mismanaged landfill is less than 1,000 feet away from a radioactive waste dump in Bridgeton, Missouri. Experts predict that the fire could reach the radioactive waste…

  • Review of The Tenderloin: Sex, Crime & Resistance in the Heart Of San Francisco

    I learned about the history of the Tenderloin, San Francisco’s maligned neighborhood, through walks in it with my Great Uncle, Milton Hendrick, and listening to his stories. He lived at Eddy and Polk Streets and was a veteran of the…

  • Have We Forgotten How to Fight?

    I write from Wisconsin, now in its fifth year of rule by an entrenched right-wing government that the voters keep re-electing. In that short time, we have lost voting rights, worker rights, women’s rights, environmental and health protections, and academic…

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    Can’t Be in the Gulf for the Katrina Anniversary? Watch These Films Instead

    Tomorrow is the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, leading to all sorts of reflections on how far the city has come, what recovery means, and what lessons there are to be learned from how the recovery (the beginning of it,…

  • Are You Hindering Your Organization’s Potential?

    Last month I had the pleasure of hearing activist, teacher, and author Angela Davis as she addressed an audience of community organizers and activists in St. Louis. Much of what she said challenged my thinking, but something that stuck with…

  • We Know Whose Fault Poverty Is—So Why Do Our Terms Blame the Poor?

    Shelterforce began, 40 years ago, as a newspaper for tenant organizers. They were legal aid lawyers and similar rabble rousers in small cities in Northern New Jersey, wanting to connect to other folks doing similar work across the country: organizing…

  • Return to the Roots: Solidarity Networks and Housing Justice

    On January 20, two Portland, Oregon women visited their former property managers with several dozen of their friends in tow. Becky and Aubrey Cook were evicted from their apartments, run by Fox Management, after complaining about slum conditions including raw…

  • After a Long Impasse, A Win for Dudley Street?

    In the film Gaining Ground, about the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, a powerful community planning and organizing group in Roxbury neighborhood of Boston, one of the major story lines involves the Kroc Community Center. In a nutshell, the Salvation Army…

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    Mamas, Don’t Let Your Organizers Grow Up To Be Developers

    When a community-based developer of affordable housing incorporates community organizing into its programmatic repertoire, there is almost always added value—for the persons housed, for residents of the area served, for the organization itself. The reverse is less often true. Community…

  • The False Choice Between Mobility and Community Development

    What is it about community development that it constantly seems to be posited in a binary set of choices that aren’t really and don’t have to be choices, and that don’t even have to be oppositional? Community development vs. organizing.…

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    Writing Truth for Power

    When Union United, a recently formed coalition of residents, local business owners, labor unions, and community and faith-based organizations in Somerville, Mass., read a local newspaper commentary about the proposed redevelopment of their neighborhood that didn't share their concerns about displacement, they…

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    Planned Shrinkage by Thirst?

    Even the much beleagured CEO of Nestle, who has been accused of trying to privatize the water resources of poor communities for the benefit of its bottled-water profits, officially says that at least a basic amount of water is a human…

  • Jon Kest’s Activism, New York’s Future

    Thousands of Bill de Blasio’s grassroots supporters—as well as the small inner circle of advisers who helped catapult him into office and will help guide the newly elected mayor as he tackles the challenge of governing the nation’s largest city—were…

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    Gale Cincotta Reminds Us: The Next Move Is Always Ours

    We have a review up by Ted Wysocki of Gale Force, the biography of Gale Cincotta. Cincotta is the legendary (in our field at least) Chicago organizer who rallied people against redlining and helped build the movement that would win…

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    Sick of the Sequester? Learn from Michigan Organizers

    The answer for Congress and the stalled action on the sequester? Michigan has some winning ideas. Detroit, Mich., home to a very depressed local economy as well as one of the most segregated regions in our country ,wouldn’t seem like…

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    Time to Seize the Moment on Immigration?

    Immigration is finally Topic A.  For many of us who have been working with low income people and disadvantaged communities, this day has been a long time coming.  Even more interesting, according to Pew research, quoted this week in The…

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    Occupy Our Homes Alive and Kicking

    If you didn't get a chance to yet, check out the roundup of Occupy Our Homes' 2nd day of action on Dec. 6. We ran a set of essays ealier this year about the potential—albeit uneasy at times—for cooperation between…

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