The COMM-ORG mission is to:
- help connect people who care about the craft of community organizing.
- find and provide information that organizers, scholars, and scholar-organizers can use to learn, teach, and do community organizing.
- involve all COMM-ORG members in meeting those goals.
COMM-ORG is based on two basic beliefs:
- community organizers and academics can both benefit by exchanging information and resources. The COMM-ORG membership is composed of about half academics and half practitioners (including some government officials and funders)
- the Internet should remain a place where information and communication is freely available (meaning, at no cost). That means not only that everything on COMM-ORG is free, but that COMM-ORG runs on completely free open source software, including the CentOS operating system, Apache web server, and Mailman list server software
COMM-ORG defines community organizing as:
- people without power getting power, both as individuals and as a community.
- building relationships,and sometimes this is its primary goal.
- beginning in a local area, often as small as a neighborhood.
- building on shared experience--rooted in a place or a cultural identity.
- often leading to development activities and/or larger social movements when it succeeds.
COMM-ORG began as an on-line seminar on the history of community organizing, moderated by Wendy Plotkin at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) in late 1994, funded by a grant from the UIC Great Cities program and supported by H-Net, an international cooperative initiative in Humanities and Social Science computing. COMM-ORG has evolved into a conversation of scholars, community organizers, community development workers, and others. COMM-ORG moved to the University of Toledo in 1997, when Randy Stoecker took over the editorship. Since 2005 COMM-ORG has been housed with the at the University of Wisconsin.
Randy Stoecker moderates the COMM-ORG listserv and edits the COMM-ORG web site and Papers collection. I am currently Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin, and have been providing support services to community organizing and development groups for over a decade, including ACORN, the West Bank Community Development Corporation, the Lagrange Village Council/Lagrange Development Corporation, Organizing Neighbors Yielding Excellence, and other.. If you wish, you can see my academic vita or e-folio.Please contact me with questions and/or concerns about COMM-ORG in general or this web site at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As moderator of the COMM-ORG List-serv, I try to intervene as little as possible. I do not reject any posts, but return about 1 of every 20 or so for clarification. All the comments I make on a post are only suggestions, and I will send out the original post at the author's request.
As editor of the COMM-ORG web site and papers series, my job is to make sure the papers communicate as clearly as possible. I see editing as a negotiated process, and all of my suggested changes are open to discussion.
COMM-ORG is now sponsored by the Department of Community and Environmental Sociology, formerly the Department of Rural Sociology, at the University of Wisconsin.