If You Can’t Change the People, Then Change the People Transforming the Democratic Party (for its own good) Ever feel like you’re always late to the party? I feel that way about the Democratic Party. As a kid growing up in Chicago, I knocked on doors for Harold Washington and […]
I wrote this reflection on organizing in Eastern Europe in October, 2011 during a training swing through Moldova, Romania and Bosnia organized by the European Community Organizing Network. Moldova’s people now fear that their country is next if the Russian invasion of Ukraine is successful. What people need is BREAD […]
It’s tough to be a bodhisattva these days. Sorry, I mean community organizer. Or anything in between. In the Mahayana Buddhist tradition, a bodhisattva is someone who gets close to enlightenment, yet chooses to forgo liberation until every other being is also enlightened. This always struck me as eerily similar to what organizers try to achieve through their work.
Jane Fonda and Alicia Garza on orienting yourself toward lasting change through relationships and collective action. Garza and Fonda close with guidance for everyone on finding and following their path to power. “Build communities,” says Fonda, “stand with love. Stand brave, stand fearless, because we’re in this together.”
Changing the guard in the White House, Congress, and local government is important. But creating structural change that shifts power from the wealthy and corporations to people and the public matters more. So we have to get to root causes. In this three-book review, we’ll take a deep dive into the roots of corporate power and structural racism in the United States, and their deep interrelationship. Because until you face the brutal facts, you can’t change anything.
The pandemic has me watching a lot of Star Wars with my kids. Defeating Trump feels a lot like blowing up the Death Star at the end of the original movie. But as the rebel alliance found out, evil is always ready to rebound: in the next episode, and in the next franchise, there’s a new Death Star AND a Starkiller Base. So the resistance needs to rebound, too.
There’s no better place to start when looking for inspiration than Ella Baker, the trailblazing African-American organizer who over five decades was a driving force in the civil rights movement, at the Young Negro Cooperative League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
It is the beginning of 2020. I am hoping for changes bigger and more transformational than a new president. If you are like me, you also fear for friends, family and neighbors in the rise of white supremacy and fascism in the United States and across the globe. You may be asking yourself where to put your energy in this very important year.
First published in Social Policy Magazine in 2007. Relationships are the crucible within which we clarify who (and why) we are. The clarity that comes from being intentional about ourselves, our relationships, and our realities, focuses a burning light on our self-interest. We see more clearly through our attachments and […]