The Organizers' Forum 2008 Dialogues

Discussion list for COMM-ORG colist at
Sat Mar 1 12:17:22 CST 2008

From: Bjbowen6 at


Below is a quick summary of the Dialogues planned in 2008 for the 
Organizers’ Forum.

The Organizers’ Forum--committed solely to the practice and work of 
organizing--was born in the fall of 2000 with the notion that there was 
a need for a forum and a place for organizers to come together to share 
and reflect on their work. The mission of the Organizers’ Forum is to 
strengthen grassroots organizations by increasing capacity and stability 
of these democratic structures, to link organizing networks, and to 
improve on the skills and strategies employed by both community and 
labor organizers. To this end, we host twice yearly “Organizer 
Dialogues”—one domestic and one international—that bring together 25-50 
experienced organizers to look honestly and critically at our work, 
learn new skills and approaches, share our “best practices”, and be 
challenged by organizers who are doing exceptional or innovative 
organizing. (More about the Organizers’ Forum can be found on our 
website at , and interest in a Dialogue should 
be communicated to the National Coordinator through the contact 
information below).

2008 Dialogues of the Organizers’ Forum

1. Our spring Dialogue in 2008 will be held April 9-11, 2008 in 
Washington D.C. at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center on the campus 
of Gallaudet University. Our topic will be “Regime Change in 2008”.

Regardless of what candidate or party is brought to office in the 
November 2008 elections for the four years beginning January 2009, 
inarguably the impact of the eight years under the Bush Administration 
will likely constitute "regime change". A change in administrations is a 
welcome fact, and with this comes the opportunity to highlight the 
policies that impact most on low income and working class communities. 
We will ask ourselves how we can best push for changes on issues and 
foster new policies in health care, living wages, and clean energy. The 
Organizers' Forum recognizes that policy initiatives are always possible 
in times of change and transition and believes it is a fitting time to 
bring together various voices of interest to community and labor 
organizers to explore how 2009 represents an opportunity for new 
initiatives and ideas. For example, are there potential reforms possible 
for the first time in decades to the National Labor Relations Act 
concerning the definition of majorities, access to lists and workplaces, 
quicker consent elections, and binding arbitration that could facilitate 
the organizing of new work units? In the community is an extension of 
EITC possible, and what is the next "CRA" that could re-establish access 
to credit markets for the low income, or are there policy questions that 
allow competition with payday lending products? The time to review the 
possibilities is early, not late.

2. Our Fall international Dialogue in 2008 will take place in Australia 
September 21-27, 2008, where we will plan to travel and connect with 
labor struggles and community efforts and to learn from organizers in 
another country about their actions, tactics, campaigns, and 
organizational challenges. The Organizers' Forum continues to find great 
merit in the learning experience and the exchange between organizers in 
other countries, and organizers based in North America. Our early 
exchanges have been primarily in developing countries, and in 2008 we 
are interested in comparing the experiences in a more developed country 
where we know there are frequent exchanges and expressed interest in 
partnerships with North American community and labor organizations. 
Australian scholars have been studying US based community organizations 
and have expressed strong interest in such an exchange and the questions 
of the adaptability of our methodologies in Australia. Similarly, 
Australian labor organizers and unions have expressed interest in North 
American organizing models, leadership, organizer training, and campaign 
apparatus. The Organizers' Forum feels it is finally time to put 
everyone together in a Dialogue on these topics.

We welcome your interest and participation in the Dialogues of the 
Organizers’ Forum, and look forward to hearing back from you!

In solidarity, Barbara

Barbara Bowen, National Coordinator
The Organizers' Forum--West
P.O. Box 402
6 Willow Avenue
Stinson Beach, CA 94970
(415) 868-0866 office
(415) 868-2925 fax
(415) 509-1927 cell
email: bjbowen6 at

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