query: political campaigns and community organizing

Discussion list for COMM-ORG colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
Tue Feb 19 11:15:29 CST 2008

[ed:  please feel welcomed to copy COMM-ORG with responses to Dave's query.]

From: "Dave Beckwith" <dbeckwith at needmorfund.org>

We just had an Obama staffer move in with us here in Ohio, and she's an
energetic young woman with two organizing jobs since college - one union and
one community - who says she wants to go back to community organizing after
the campaign. Given the massive engagement of young - and not so young! -
folks in this campaign, and given the understanding from both candidates on
the Democratic side of the need to put pressure on from the grassroots (ok,
so one gets this better than the other, and even that one will probably
forget us once elected - don't be so cynical!)...

Anyway, I think it's a major challenge to the field to catch these folks
when they fall out of politics, looking to make a difference in the world. I
hope the major networks and great teachers are planning - recruiting drives,
one-to-one contacts with the best campaigners, trainings/internships/new
recruit classes starting around Dec. 1... I think this will be a key time in
the history of the next generation of organizers, like the civil rights
summers, the anti-war drives, the farmworker boycotts, the McGovern and
McCarthy (and Kennedy!) campaigns of the past - we'll look back ten years
from now and see, "That's where the leaders in the field got fired up and
got going and when they shifted into organizing, things really heated up!"

I'd love to hear about practical steps being taken to engage the class of

Dave Beckwith
Executive Director
The Needmor Fund
42 South Saint Clair Street
Toledo, Ohio 43604
fax 419-255-5561

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