[COMM-ORG] New Book: Community Organizing: A Brief Introduction, by Mike Miller
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Sat Apr 14 10:05:40 CDT 2012
From: Aaron Schutz <schutz at uwm.edu>
Announcing a new book:
Mike Miller, Community Organizing: A Brief Introduction (Euclid Avenue
Press, 2012), 76pp.
Paperback: $6.50 (http://amzn.to/IzN2C7) ; Kindle, $2.99
I believe this is the best short introduction to “faith-based” or
“institution-based” community organizing currently available. It would
be a great book to give to people who are completely new to organizing,
or for courses that only have time for a single week or module on
In addition to the overview chapter on organizing, the book also
includes brief chapters on “Teaching Politics as if It Matters,” and
“Conflict Tactics.” Note that all royalties go directly to Miller.
Grounded in a composite case study of an actual organizing effort, the
book shows how local communities can be organized for power. It
illustrates key organizing concepts and strategies through stories of
real encounters with leaders, communities, and powerful opposition figures.
Saul Alinsky developed the foundations of the tradition of organizing
described here, an approach that remains dominant in the U.S. today.
Alinsky rooted power deeply in the lives, relationships and institutions
of marginalized and oppressed people. In his early efforts his
organizations brought together a wide range of institutions: religious
congregations and labor unions, as well as mutual aid, self-help,
athletic, sororal and fraternal, neighborhood and other voluntary
associations. By the late 1970s, as non-congregational neighborhood
associations fell into decline, organizers in the Alinsky tradition
started looking more carefully at how to sustain the vibrancy of the
religious institutions that remained. Organizers sought to help
congregation members become co-creators, rather than consumers, of the
life of their churches, and worked to help members connect their faith
more directly to action in the world. In this way, they helped make both
faith and the action more meaningful.
This little book tells the story of one congregation that was a member
of a "broadly-based community organization," and how a community
organizer assisted its development as a true community.
Professor & Chair
Dept. of Ed. Policy & Comm. Studies
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Enderis Hall rm. 553
P.O. Box 413; Milwaukee, WI 53201
Office: (414) 229-4150; Fax: (414) 229-3700
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