Friday, August 20, 2010

Neighborhood Organizing?

"To organize a community," he [Alinsky] wrote, "you must understand that in a highly mobile society the word 'community' means community of interest, not physical community."

Nicholas von Hoffman, Radical

This observation about the terrain of community organizing has created its own set of problems. It's the reason organizing turned regional, became more exclusively focused on religious congregations, and supported, single and multi-issue policy campaigns. Lot's of low-income families, however, remained in disinvested neighborhoods -- experiencing their own form of mobility from economic insecurity. To a degree, community organizing left them behind and in the hands of community building, community planning, public participation, and civic engagement. ACORN has been the exception in some cities -- and there have been lots of homegrown organizing efforts that grown up in neighborhoods.

I wonder whether community organizing is ready for some reinvention? Maybe it's already happening.

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