If You Can’t Change the People, Change the People

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 […]

Interdependence and Self-Interest

I wrote this in 2008 for the Center for Community Change (now Community Change) Convening on Community Values in Washington, D.C. but it felt like a good time to bring this out to a wider audience. On the day after September 11th, 2001 a bulldozer drove up Chicago’s Argyle Street […]

We Have Found the Enemy (TLDR; It’s Not Us)

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.

How Cheap Things Expose the Root Causes of Our Biggest Problems

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.

The Path Forward From Pandemic To A Green New World

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).

You Say You Want A Revolution

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.

The Next Political Revolution

As we enter a perilous period in American history with Donald Trump’s bottomless insecurity fueling white supremacy and fascism on the one hand and environmental Armageddon on the other, there is an opening of historic proportions for mass revolutionary organizing.

Fixing the Problems with Universal Basic Income

Massive, disruptive change is happening in the world economy. Up to to half of all current workers, both white and blue collar, could be driven into unemployment by technology. Automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are fueling a new industrial revolution.

Do What Makes Your Heart Beat Faster

After two years of community organizing, I was asked a deep, penetrating, and typical question by my great-grandfather (affectionately called Bump). “So, what do you do?” he asked. Bump was a retired cookie maker whose first job was as a pin boy at a Buffalo, New York bowling alley in […]

Grounding Transcendence

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 […]

Regions Apart: Markets, Mandates, and the Future of Cities

A review of Place Matters: Metropolitics for the Twenty-first Century, by Peter Dreier, John Mollenkopf and Todd Swanstrom, University Press of Kansas, 2001, 349 pp., and The Voluntary City: Choice, Community, and Civil Society, edited by David T. Beito, Peter Gordon, and Alexander Tabarrok, University of Michigan Press, 2002, 462 pp.