[COMM-ORG] Discuss: Community Organiser of the UK Government

Discussion list for COMM-ORG colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
Mon Jul 18 08:38:21 CDT 2011


 [ed: this is an important discussion question about how the UK
government defines community organising.]

From: "MiRo" <michael at rothschuh.de>


A central theme of the UK government of Conservatives and Liberal
Democrats, is the establishment of "a big society" with less state money
and more responsibilities for voluntary services and communities. To
improve “big society” they are planning training and employment of 5.000
community organizers (500 full time, 4.500 part time). The Conservative
PM Cameron talked explicitly about Alinsky and Obama as models for it.
http://www.conservatives.com/News/News_stories/2010/03/Plans_announced_to_help_build_a_Big_Society.aspx

Neil Jameson (Cizitens UK, IAF affiliate) said May 2010,18

“We are pleased to be part of launching the Big Society vision, and at
the recognition the Government has given to Citizens UK and London
Citizens. We are delighted that community organising is seen as having a
key role in rebuilding confidence in politics and in our
neighbourhoods”.
http://www.citizensuk.org/2010/05/citizens-uk-to-play-key-role-in-building-%E2%80%98big-society%E2%80%99/

Two organizations have applied for the 15 Mio Pound program:

1. Citizens UK, the IAF affiliate in London.

2. Locality UK citizens



CitizenUK had not awarded the contract, even though Cameron had been
impressed by CItizens UK (see Video: Citizens UK General Election
Assembly , May 2010
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25Kv6i-ekYQ&feature=player_embedded)

.

“Neil Jameson, executive director of Citizens UK, said: 'Our principle
for the past 22 years has been never to apply for government money, but
this contract looked like it was written for us so we abandoned that
principle and bid for it'. 'We were surprised not to have won it, but I
think this was because our bid was too expensive. It's damaging for the
vocation of community organising that the government has gone for a
cheaper bid, rather than one from an organisation with experience'.
(http://www.sen.org.uk/news/locality-wins-%C2%A315m-community-organisers-programme
)

See also:
http://thirdsector.co.uk/news/Article/1058293/analysis-why-alinskys-supporters-lost-out/
: Analysis: Why Alinsky's supporters lost out )

The government has commissioned Locality
http://www.number10.gov.uk/take-part/your-neighbourhood/community-organisers/
, which is in my impression more engaged in volunteering than in organizing.

Is there any discussion in the CO-Scene about this, I think, “Community
Organizing of Her Majesty’s Government?”

Michael Rothschuh, Hamburg/Germany,


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