[COMM-ORG] Organizing post-election
Discussion list for COMM-ORG
colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
Fri Dec 12 14:32:54 CST 2008
[ed: thanks to Amy and Candee for continuing the discussion.]
From: "Amy S. Mondloch" <amy at grassrootsleadershipcollege.org>
I also wanted to respond to Paul's thoughts on post election organizing.
There is, and has been since before the elections, an effort to put together
a Midwest Social Forum. I think this may be a really useful tool in the
coming together that Paul talks about. Right now organizers from Illinois,
Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, and Minnesota are gathering forces to put
together a plan. We'd love to get more groups engaged at this level of the
The Midwest Social forum does have a history here. The roots reach back
some 2 decades, I believe, to the Radical Scholars and Activist Conference
which over time began to move away from the scholarly and became Radfest.
Folks from Radfest attended and became part of the world social forum
movement and took inspiration to become the Midwest Social Forum. This is a
really interesting time and interesting project-- taking what we've learned
from the past and creating something new and more powerful for the future.
Paul is also correct that Madison is a lovely place in the winter time. The
MWSF organizers are organizing a face to face planning meeting here in
January. If you are with a Midwestern group and interested in becoming part
of the planning effort please do email me off list
amy at grassrootsleadershipcollege.org and I can be sure you get more
information. Some history and context is also available at
From: candee basford <candee at bright.net>
We had the same experience here in Ohio - I would love to see a blog or a
site where people can share ideas about their own efforts to re-organize
around things that matter to them. We are attempting that where I live - so
far so good.
Discussion list for COMM-ORG wrote:
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> From: Paul Terranova <paul at lcecmadison.org>
> Organizing Post-Election
> I have been thinking about what we as organizers should be doing with
> the amazing surge of interest in civic engagement and organizing that
> has come with the election of the country’s first community organizer
> Here in Dane County (Madison-area), Wisconsin there is an amazing
> network that was built around Obama’s election and is meeting now to
> figure out how to proceed. More than 40 teams of people of all stripes
> (except staunch Republicans) are struggling with the question of what to
> do next.
> From my limited vantage point, this group looks quite diverse. There are
> those who want to focus on the next election, those who want to work on
> local issues, those who want to be a part of national efforts hold Obama
> accountable for his election promises and those who stand ready for
> Obama’s call to mobilize for his agenda. There are some inspired by the
> call to find common ground across traditional ideological divides, and
> some who want to agitate to push Obama left. And there are probably many
> who overlap a few of these categories.
> I am guessing that this may be the case in many communities around the
> country. Hopefully these local leaders will see the power of this
> diversity and not let the discussion turn into a fight over what the one
> best thing to do next. That would undoubtedly turn ugly and leave many
> (particularly the newly energized/reenergized) demoralized.
> Of course those organizers among us who were not deeply involved in the
> electoral work should offer our assistance – insofar as it is wanted by
> those who did the hard work and provided the leadership over the past
> two years.
> But as organizers, shouldn’t our response be more, well, organized?
> What would it take to provide the folks energized by this election
> access to a diversity of organizing training programs, opportunities to
> slot into existing organizing efforts and support/mentoring to organize
> new projects?
> Can we imagine pulling together some of the major funders of civic
> engagement and organizing with representatives of large and small
> organizing networks around the country to work out the details?
> Can we imagine a few million dollars (five? ten?) to allow newly
> energized citizens to choose from a training opportunities from the
> Center for Third World Organizing, the Industrial Areas Foundation, the
> AFL-CIO Organizing Institute, Grassroots Leadership, Direct Action &
> Research Training Center, ACORN, the United States Student Association,
> Midwest Academy (and a bunch of others I’m forgetting or don’t know about)?
> Can we imagine supporting folks as they come out of training by
> connecting them with local mentors, organizing apprenticeship programs,
> local organizing projects, etc.? I mean really, this is not rocket science.
> I know that many of the major organizing networks have long standing
> rivalries. I know that there are tired old arguments still floating
> around about who is doing “real” organizing and which is the best model
> to create “real change.” But it seems to me that most of my peers have
> moved beyond that to a more “ecological” view of organizing… one that
> realizes that we need a “biodiversity” of organizing approaches,
> philosophies and cultures to create a healthy democracy.
> So is really too much to imagine putting some real organized money and
> organized organizers behind an effort to support the thousands of folks
> who feel their lives have been changed by this election and are
> searching for what to do next?
> If you all want to meet somewhere in the middle of the country and talk
> about it, Wisconsin is beautiful in the winter time.
> Paul Terranova is the director of the Lussier Community Education Center
> in Madison, WI and can be reached at paul at lcecmadison.org.
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