This paper is presented as part of the Working Papers series for COMM-ORG: The On-line Conference on Community Organizing and Development. Copyright is held by the authors. To cite, use: [author] [date] [title], paper presented on COMM-ORG: The On-Line Conference on Community Organizing and Development. 

Advancing Community Organizing Practice:

Lessons from Grassroots Organizations in India

Kavitha Mediratta and Clay Smith

August, 2001

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About the Authors
1. Introduction
2. Background
        Community Organizing in the U.S.
        Community Organizing in India: Expanding the Dialogue
3. Grassroots Organizing in India - Three Profiles
        The Self Employed Women's Association
            The Organizing Legacy of Mahatma Gandhi
        The Rural Education and Development Society / the Dalit Jagruti Samiti
            The Organizing Legacy of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar
        The Young India Project
4. Lessons from Grassroots Organizing in India:
        Collective identity
        Struggle and Development
5. Implications for U.S. Organizing
        A: Glossary of key terms, concepts and people
        B: Gandhian Guidelines for Satyagraha
        C: Research Process
        D: Organizations and Individuals contacted and visited
        E: Peer Group members


We are grateful to the many individuals and organizations in India who hosted us and generously shared their time to help us understand their work. We are inspired by what we learned from them.

We are also thankful for the advice and guidance provided by our colleagues in New York City.

Lastly, we want to thank the Aspen Institute's Nonprofit Sector Research Fund for making this research possible.

About the Authors

This research project developed out of our work as organizers in New York City. Clay Smith is an organizer with the Stamford Organizing Project in Stamford, Connecticut, and previously worked as a school reform organizer for the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition in New York City. Kavitha Mediratta is a senior project director at the Institute for Education and Social Policy of New York University. She has facilitated citywide coalitions of community groups working for policy reform and helped community groups develop school reform organizing strategies.