Introduction To Community Organizing

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This presentation outlines the basics of Direct Action community organizing as taught by the Midwest Academy in Chicago and as developed by Saul Alinsky. Tom Tresser, tom@tresser.com.

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Introduction To Community Organizing

  1. 1. “Community Organizing” 1Introduction toCommunityOrganizingTom Tresser - 2013
  2. 2. “Community Organizing” 2INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNITY ORGANIZING“The whole history of the progress of human liberty showsthat all concessions yet made to her august claims havebeen born of struggle…Those who profess to favorfreedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who wantcrops without plowing up the ground. They want rainwithout thunder and lightning…Power concedes nothingwithout a demand. It never did and it never will. Find outwhat the people will submit to, and you have found theexact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposedupon them; and these will continue until they are resistedwith either words or blows, or with both. The limits oftyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whomthey oppress.”- Frederick Douglass, Letter to an abolitionist associate, 1849
  3. 3. “Community Organizing” 3www.industrialareasfoundation.orgSaul Alinsky (1909 – 1972)• Pioneer in grassrootsdemocracy theory andpractice• Founder of the IndustrialAreas Foundation (IAF)• Master organizer andchallenger of the status quo
  4. 4. “Community Organizing” 4“Change means movement.Movement means friction. Only in thefrictionless vacuum of a nonexistentabstract world can movement orchange occur without that abrasivefriction of conflict.” - Saul Alinsky
  5. 5. “Community Organizing” 5The Midwest Academy teaches an organizing philosophy,methods and skills that enable ordinary people to activelyparticipate in the democratic process. The Academy coursesand consulting services are designed for progressiveorganizations and coalitions that utilize civic engagementactivities to build citizen power at all levels of our democracy.www.midwestacademy.com
  6. 6. “Community Organizing” 6FORMS OF COMMUNITY ORGANIZING– TYPES OF HELPING ORGANIZATIONSDirect ServiceSelf HelpEducationAdvocacyDirect ActionSource: Midwest Academy
  7. 7. “Community Organizing” 7FORMS OF COMMUNITY ORGANIZING– TYPES OF HELPING ORGANIZATIONSDirect ServiceUnited Ways mission is to improve lives bymobilizing caring people to invest in thecommunity where their resources areneeded most.
  8. 8. “Community Organizing” 8FORMS OF COMMUNITY ORGANIZING– TYPES OF HELPING ORGANIZATIONSSelf HelpAlcoholics Anonymous is a voluntary, worldwide fellowship of menand women from all walks of life who meet together to attain andmaintain sobriety. The only requirement for membership is a desire tostop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership.
  9. 9. “Community Organizing” 9FORMS OF COMMUNITY ORGANIZING– TYPES OF HELPING ORGANIZATIONSEducation
  10. 10. “Community Organizing” 10FORMS OF COMMUNITY ORGANIZING– TYPES OF HELPING ORGANIZATIONSAdvocacySource: Midwest AcademyThe mission of the ACLU is to preserve these protections and guarantees:Your First Amendment rights-freedom of speech, association and assembly.Freedom of the press, and freedom of religion supported by the strictseparation of church and state.Your right to equal protection under the law - equal treatment regardless ofrace, sex, religion or national origin.Your right to due process - fair treatment by the government whenever theloss of your liberty or property is at stake.Your right to privacy - freedom from unwarranted government intrusion intoyour personal and private affairs.
  11. 11. “Community Organizing” 11FORMS OF COMMUNITY ORGANIZING– TYPES OF HELPING ORGANIZATIONSDirect ActionKOCOs organizing agenda is directly informed by its constituency, the low-income and working familieswithin the North Kenwood, Oakland, and its adjacent communities. KOCOs organizing approachengages residents in identifying the issues that they want to see addressed, and facilitating the planning,strategizing and training opportunities to aid residents in addressing issues. KOCO is a membership-driven organization.Our MissionThrough the sustained engagement of low-income and working families, KOCO develops multi-generational leaders who impact decision-making process and public policies, improving the quality oflife in our local communities
  12. 12. “Community Organizing” 12FORMS OF COMMUNITY ORGANIZINGDirectServiceSelfHelpEducationAdvocacyDirectActionAcceptsExistingPowerRelationshipsChallengesExistingPowerRelationshipsSource: Midwest Academy
  13. 13. “Community Organizing” 13FORMS OF COMMUNITY ORGANIZINGDirectServiceSelfHelpEducationAdvocacyDirectActionAcceptsExistingPowerRelationshipsChallengesExistingPowerRelationshipsSource: Midwest AcademyLevel of involvementof people directlyaffected by problem
  14. 14. “Community Organizing” 14FORMS OF COMMUNITY ORGANIZINGDirectServiceSelfHelpEducationAdvocacyDirectActionAcceptsExistingPowerRelationshipsChallengesExistingPowerRelationshipsSource: Midwest AcademyChange of peopleinvolved in problem
  15. 15. “Community Organizing” 15FORMS OF COMMUNITY ORGANIZINGDirectServiceSelfHelpEducationAdvocacyDirectActionAcceptsExistingPowerRelationshipsChallengesExistingPowerRelationshipsLevel of structuralchange
  16. 16. “Community Organizing” 16FORMS OF COMMUNITY ORGANIZINGDirectServiceSelfHelpEducationAdvocacyDirectActionAcceptsExistingPowerRelationshipsChallengesExistingPowerRelationshipsLevel of Conflict
  17. 17. “Community Organizing” 17Win Real Improvements In People’s LivesMake People Aware Of Their PowerAlter The Relations Of PowerBuild Strong OrganizationsChange laws and RegulationsElect good peopleThe Three PrinciplesOf Direct Action
  18. 18. “Community Organizing” 188 Direct Action Organizing Steps1.People (members) identify a problem2.Turn the problem into an issue3.Develop strategy4.Confront the target with large numbers5.Decision Maker reacts to us6.Win or move on to next round7.Move the issue into the electoral arena8.Move the issue back to the legislative arena
  19. 19. “Community Organizing” 19Organizing is aboutbuilding power
  20. 20. “Community Organizing”Your Power EqualsYour StrengthPlus Their Weakness
  21. 21. “Community Organizing”Their Weakness Includes:Conflict Of InterestCampaignContributions$ Investment inImageScandalCriminal ActivityClose ElectionHigher Ambition Past ConnectionsNeed To LookGood To SomeonePotential Rivals
  22. 22. “Community Organizing”Form Of Power What MattersPolitical - Legislative Votes - MoneyConsumer Ability To Cut ProfitsLegal - Regulatory Clear Laws & Regulations. FreeLegal HelpStrikes - Disruptive Cut Profits Or Stop An AgencyFrom Functioning.Forms of Power
  23. 23. “Community Organizing” 23Some thoughts…• Where there is no vision, the people perish• Imagination precedes implementation• Listen, Learn, Lead• Start where the people are• Make the path by walking it
  24. 24. “Community Organizing” 24Online Resources• The Midwest Academy – Training, excellent manual – www.midwestacademy.com• Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center – great workbook – www.inrc.org• New Organizing Institute – www.neworganizing.com• Community Organizers Handbook – www.organizershandbok.wikispaces.com• The Organizers’ Collaborative – organizerscollaborative.org• The Ruckus Society – Tools & training for organizing – www.ruckus.org• AlternativeROOTS – Arts. Community. Activism - http://alternateroots.org• TechSoup – Technology for nonprofits – home.techsoup.org• The Civic Commons - Technology for the public good – http://civiccommons.com• Rainforest Action Network – Activist resources – http://ran.org• Mobile Active – Cell phones for civic engagement – www.mobileactive.org• Industrial Areas Foundation – Founded by Alinksky, training- www.industrialareasfoundation.org• Gamaliel Foundation – Coalition of organizing efforts, training - www.gamaliel.org

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