query: Alinsky and public policy today

colist-admin at comm-org.utoledo.edu colist-admin at comm-org.utoledo.edu
Sun Jul 14 09:47:29 CDT 2002

[ed:  Doug is replying to Maryellen's July 12 post.  A bit from me 

From: "Doug Hess" <DHess at frac.org>

I think concerns about "local control" can be over glorified. In my 
experience, the ability of an organization to be representative of the 
concerns of its members and consituents is not related to 
democratic mechanisms (which are often dusty, vauge, easily 
manipulated anyway) as it is to staff and boardmembers' 
professional development.  

To answer your question directly, I'd say the development in 
sophistication of local organizations and their networks in managing 
institutions like schools, hiring halls, etc. is a notable event in the 
history of organizing. Granted, such relationships have always 
existed with some organizing efforsts, but with the increase in 
government funding for such centers and the increase in the 
complexity of the relationships between organizing organizations 
and other sister institutuions, it is fair to say that this is almost new 
all over again.  In anycase, my point was that there are many 
modern developments in organizing outside of the "alinksy 
paradigm" that are not related to the relational organizing 
developments that some others posted earlier.  

Doug Hess
Senior Policy Analyst
Food Research and Action Center
1875 Connecticut Ave, Suite 540
Washington, DC 20009
phone 202-986-2200 ext 3004
fax 202-986-2525  email dhess at frac.org

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[ed:  beyond the faith-based initiatives already mentioned in a 
previous post, there are probably three papers in the COMM-ORG 
collection looking at the current diversity in forms of community 
organizing out there:




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