PAL-111m: ORGANIZING TOOLS
Leadership, Community, and Power
"In democratic countries, knowledge of how to combine is the mother of all other forms of knowledge; on its progress depends that of all the others." De Tocqueville
To fulfill its promise, democracy must meet challenges of equity, inclusion and accountability. This requires an "organized" citizenry with the power to articulate and assert its interests effectively. Unfortunately, in the United States, the concerns of many citizens remain muted because of unequal and declining citizen participation. Elsewhere, new democracies struggle to create institutions to make effective citizen participation possible. Organizers confront these challenges by revitalizing old democratic institutions and creating new ones.
Organizing is how people "combine" to act on their common interests. The craft of organizing is about identifying, recruiting, and developing leadership; building community around that leadership; and building power from that community. Because successful organizing usually requires making the most of limited resources, effective organizers learn to become good strategists. Because a mobilized constituency is where the resources come from, effective organizers learn to motivate participation. To concentrate their resources, organizers sequence their activities as campaigns with clear beginnings, endings, and outcomes. And to make the most of their results, they structure their campaigns to yield organizations that increase their capacity to act in the future. Organizers accomplish these objectives by weaving together three strands of activity with which you will familiarize yourself in this module: relationships, interpretation, and action.
Participants in this module will meet five times over a two to three week period. During this time you will design, implement, and evaluate a short organizing campaign based on values and interests you share with your classmates. At our first meeting, after an introduction to organizing, you will begin building relationships with each other to determine common values or interests on which you want to act. By our second meeting you will form teams of four students each. At our second meeting we discuss your motivation for this project, learning to interpret your "story" in such a way as to motivate others to join you. At our third meeting we begin to develop a plan for action by deliberating about a strategy to mobilize and deploy resources to achieve a concrete objective which can advance your shared values and interests. At our fourth meeting, we will conduct a "clinic" on the "actions" in which you are motivating people to take part. And at our fifth and final meeting, we will debrief everyone on their campaigns, focusing on insights you have gained about power, community, and leadership. To assist you in your campaign, we will provide you with a framework for learning organizing, background reading, exercises, discussion, and coaching. Students will be evaluated on the basis of participation, completion of assignments and a 2 page critical analysis of their experience due 3 days after our final meeting -- not on the outcome of your campaign.
This module assumes no prior organizing experience, although this would, of course, be helpful. Students may want to plan their time so they can give their campaign the intense focus it will require after our second meeting. Students will be most successful who have a strong interest in the campaign on which they will be working.
1. Students will form "organizing teams" to design, implement, and evaluate a campaign to mobilize others to participate in a targeted action intended to achieve a specific objective by the end of the module.
2. In five class meetings of 1.5 hours each you will be asked to participate in discussion, exercises, and debriefings to assist you in gaining tools you need to conduct a successful campaign. Participation in all five sessions is required.
3. Organizing notes explain the learning framework. Readings that draw on theory, practice, and history are assigned as resources for you. Complete them before the meeting for which they are assigned. I've also included an optional piece for each meeting those interested in situating our practice theoretically may find useful. You will also find diagrams to depict concepts we discuss. A"lifetime" reading list on organizing is included at the end of the syllabus.
4. Following our third meeting, students will complete their "Action Plan" and turn it in to the PAL-111 box by Thursday afternoon at 3:00 PM. Course assistants will review the Action Plans and provide coaching if necessary. At our final meeting students will submit a brief "Action Report" on what happened.
5. Three days after our final meeting students will individually submit a 2 page critical reflection on what they learned from their experience. Students will be evaluated not on the success or failure of their action, but on their participation, completion of assignments and critical reflection.
All readings required for this module are available in a PAL-111m reading packet which may be purchased at the CMDO. Other materials will be handed out at our meetings.
A. CLASS MEETING 1: LEADERSHIP, RELATIONSHIPS (Tuesday, 2/1; Tuesday, 2/22)
Today we begin getting acquainted, get an overview of the module, discuss leadership in organizing, and begin to work on relationship building. We begin with "What is Organizing," a one page description of the organizing framework we use for this module, Thich Nhat Hahn's counsel on the proper use of frameworks, and Bellah's view that people "live through institutions," Bruner highlights the role of values in why we "do what we do." Burns explains relational leadership. The Moses story is an early account of an "organizer" at work. King challenges some of our fears about leadership. Goffman explains reasons we can find relational work to be so challenging while Gladwell points out how important relational networks are for "getting things done," especially in politics. Simmons describes a recent relational campaign in a Dorchester church. And Eccles and Nohria point out differences between "e-mail" and fact-to-face interactions. For those who want to situate relationship building in a broader theoretical context, Putnam shows how relationships can generate the resource he describes as "social capital."
1. Organizing Notes: Leadership, Relationships
2. Readings (118 pp.)
a) Marshall Ganz, "What is Organizing," 1997. (T)
b) Thich Nhat Hanh, Thundering Silence: Sutra on Knowing the Better Way to Catch a Snake, "The Raft is Not the Shore" (pp. 30-33). (P)
c) Robert Bellah, et al, The Good Society, "Introduction: We Live Through Institutions," (p. 1-18). (T)
d) Jerome Bruner, Acts of Meaning, excerpt, Chapter 1, "The Proper Study of Man", (pp. 26-30). (T)
e) James McGregor Burns, Leadership, Chapter 1, "The Power of Leadership", (p. 9-28) (T)
f) The Bible, Exodus, Chapters 2-6, (pp. 82-89). (H)
g) Dr. M.L. King, A Testament of Hope, "The Drum Major Instinct," (p.259-78). (P)
h) Erving Goffman, "On face-work: an analysis of ritual elements in social interaction", in Interpersonal Dynamics, Bennis, et al., (pp. 175 - 189). (T)
i) Malcolm Gladwell, "Six Degrees of Lois Weisberg," in The New Yorker, January 11, 1999 (pp. 52-63).
j) Ian Simmons, "On One-to-Ones," in The Next Steps of Organizing: Putting Theory into Action, Sociology 91r Seminar, 1998, (pp.12-15). (P)
k) Robert Eccles and Nitin Nohria, "Face to Face: Making Network Organizations Work," in Networks and Organizations, HBS, (pp. 288-308). (T)
l) OPTIONAL: Robert Putnam, Making Democracy Work, Chapter 6, p.163-185. (T)
3. Exercise: Relationships
4. Materials: Values and Interests, Calendar
ACTION TEAMS FORMED, ARRIVE AT VALUES/INTERESTS FOCUS BY MONDAY MEETING
B. CLASS MEETING 2: INTERPRETATION: Motivation, Narrative, Celebrations (Thursday, 2/3; Thursday, 2/24)
Mobilizing on behalf of shared values or common interests requires arriving at a shared interpretation of who should act, why, and how. When we interpret why we should act -- motivation -- we often do it as narrative, the focus of this session. When we interpret how we can act -- our strategy -- we often do it as deliberation, the focus of the next session. We motivate ourselves and others to act by developing accounts grounded in our values about why we should act - our moral sources. In fact, motivation is based far more on how we feel about things, than what we think about them. Motivational accounts often take a narrative form - a story - about who we are, where we've been, where we're going, and why we want to get there - what Gamson calls a "collective action frame." Shakespeare provides an example of motivational "reframing" without which Henry V's strategy would have failed. McKenny shows us the role of motivational acts a critical moment in the labor movement. The speeches by Reagan and Cuomo tell stories rooted in very different traditions about a similar time in American history. Chong draws attention to how important small successes are to gathering the support needed for a big success. Snow and Benford offer a way to think about motivational accounts as various forms of reframing.
1. Organizing Notes: Motivation, Story Telling, Celebrations
2. Readings (68 pp.)
a) William Shakespeare, Henry V, Act IV, Scene 3, "We Happy Few," (pp. 140 -149). (H)
b) Ruth McKenney, Industrial Valley, "The Beginning" (pp. 25-32), "The First Sit Down," (pp. 251-270). (H)
c) Ronald Reagan, "First Inaugural Address," January 20, 1981, (7 pp.). (H)
d) Mario Cuomo, " Two Cities," Key note Address to Democratic National Convention, July 17, 1984, (11 pp.). (H)
e) William Gamson, Talking Politics, "Collective Action Frames," (pp. 6-8). (P)
f) Dennis Chong, Collective Action and the Civil Rights Movement, Chapter 5, "Creating the Motivation to Participate in Collective Action," (pp. 90-102). (T/H)
g) OPTIONAL: David Snow, et al; "Frame Alignment Processes, Micromobilization, and Movement Participation," American Sociological Review, 51, August 1986, (pp. 464-81). (T)
3. Exercise: Story Telling
4. Materials: Action Plan
C. CLASS MEETING 3: INTERPRETATION: Strategy, Deliberation, Meetings (Tuesday, 2/8; Tuesday, 2/29).
As motivational narrative is an account of why we should act, strategy is an account of how we can act. Strategy is how we turn what we have into what we need, how we mobilize and deploy our resources to achieve our goals -- to use power. Loomer puts forth a relational view of power as collaborating to create "power to" or making claims to challenge "power over." In the Book of Samuel, a "classic" tale of strategy, David's resourcefulness compensates for Goliath's resources. Kahn discusses organizing strategies while Mintzberg explains that we develop our strategy as we act -- not before we act. Alinsky and Bobo suggest some "how to's" for devising organizing strategy and tactics. Deliberation - meeting, discussing, deciding - can help us strategize. Levy's account of Chavez's house meeting is a snapshot of a deliberative transformation of values and interests into concrete strategic objectives. Bobo offers suggestions about how to conduct successful meetings. Stone shows how power can usefully be conceptualized in a political context.
1. Organizing Notes: Strategy, Deliberation, Meetings
2. Readings: (73 pp.)
a) Bernard M. Loomer, "Two Kinds of Power," The D.R. Sharpe Lecture on Social Ethics, October 29, 1975, Criterion, Vol. 15, No.1, 1976, (pp. 11-29). (T)
b) Book of Samuel, Chapter 17, Verses 4-49. (H)
c) Si Kahn, Organizing, Chapter 8 "Strategy," (pp. 155-174). (P)
d) Henry Mintzberg, Crafting Strategy, Harvard Business Review, July, 1987, (pp. 66-74). (T)
e) Jacques Levy; Cesar Chavez; Prologue, (pp. xxi-xxv). (H)
f) Kim Bobo, Organizing for Social Change, Chapter 4 "Strategy," (pp. 20- 33), Chapter 5, "A Guide to Tactics," (pp. 34-42); Chapter 12, "Planning and Facilitating Meetings," (pp. 94-103). (P)
g) OPTIONAL: Clarence Stone, Regime Politics: Governing Atlanta, Chapter 11 "Rethinking Community Power: Social Production vs. Social Control," (pp. 219-233). (T)
3. Exercise: Deliberation
4. Materials: Action Plan
ACTION PLAN DUE WEDNESDAY AT 3:00 PM
D. CLASS MEETING 4: ACTION (Thursday, 2/10; Thursday, 3/2)
Today we conduct a workshop on how the "action" is unfolding in the various campaigns which students have underway. We focus on how people are being recruited to participate and the form their participation takes - what the action is. Bobo offers suggestions about how to design actions while Sharp provides the most complete menu of nonviolent action ever assembled. Bobo also offers some good advice on recruiting. This meeting's optional reading is not theoretical, but is an excellent account of how the "action" that initiated the modern civil rights movement unfolded: the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
1. Organizing Notes: Action
2. Readings: (41 pp.)
a) Kim Bobo, Organizing for Social Change, Chapter 7, "Designing Actions," (pp. 48-55). (P)
b) Gene Sharp, The Politics of Nonviolent Action, Part Two: The Methods of Nonviolent Action, Political Jujitsu at Work; Table of Contents, (pp. xii-xvi). (P)
c) Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals, Tactics, (p. 126-36, 148-55, 158-61). (P)
d) Kim Bobo, Organizing for Social Change, Chapter 10, "Recruiting," (pp. 78-85). (P)
e) OPTIONAL: Taylor Branch, Parting the Waters, Chapter 5, "The Montgomery Bus Boycott," (p.143 -205). (H)
3. Exercise: Role Playing
ACTION REPORT DUE IN LAST MEETING
E. CLASS MEETING 5: CONCLUSION: Organizing in Public Life (Thursday, 2/17; Thursday, 3/9)
In today's session we learn the results of the organizing projects, what worked well, what could have been done better, what insights you have gained about the organizing process. We reflect on how organizing fits into the "big picture" as well as what it takes to become good at doing organizing. Mandela urges us not to fear our own power to act, while Heifetz discusses some of the personal challenges we face in exercising it. Alinsky issues a "call to action," written in 1946 but which remains timely. Reed, Weir and I discuss some ways people are organizing today and the challenges they face.
1. Nelson Mandela, 1994 Inaugural Speech, Excerpt.
2. Saul Alinsky, Reveille for Radicals, Chapter 1, (pp. 3-23). (P)
3. Ronald Heifetz, Leadership Without Easy Answers, Chapter 11, "The Personal Challenge", (pp. 250-276). (P)
4. Ralph Reed, Politically Incorrect , Chapter 13, "Miracle at the Grassroots," (pp. 189-202); Chapter 17, "What is Right about America: How You Can Make a Difference," (pp. 249-268). (H)
5. Margaret Weir and Marshall Ganz, "Reconnecting People and Politics," The New Majority: Toward a Popular Progressive Politics, (pp. 149-171). (H)
CRITICAL REFLECTION DUE FRIDAY 2/18 OR FRIDAY 3/10
A. Lifetime Reading
- a) Transnational Social Movements and Global Politics : Solidarity Beyond the State (Syracuse Studies on Peace and Conflict Resolution), ed. Jackie Smith, Charles Chatfield, Ron Pagnucco (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1997).
- b) Bringing Transnational Relations Back in : Non-State Actors, Domestic Structures and International Institutions (Cambridge Studies in International Relations), ed. Thomas Risse-Kappen, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995).
- c) Kreisi, Hanspter, Ruud Koopmans, Jan Willem Dyvendak, and Marco G. Giugni, New Social Movements in Western Europe, (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995).
- d) Margarita Lopa, Singing the Same Song: Reflections of Two Generations of NGO Workers in the Philippines.
- e) Mandela, Nelson; Long Walk to Freedom: An Autobiography of Nelson Mandela, (London, Abacus, 1994).
- f) Dalton, Dennis; Mahatma Gandhi: Nonviolent Power in Action, (New York: Columbia, 1993).
- g) Laba, Roman; The Roots of Solidarity: A Political Sociology of Poland's Working Class Democratization; (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991)
- h) Goodwyn, Lawrence; Breaking the Barrier: The Rise of Solidarity in Poland, (New York: Oxford University Press,1991).
- i) Scott, James C.; Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts; (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990).
- j) Ash, Timothy Garton; The Polish Revolution: Solidarity 1980-82, (London, Jonathan Cape, 1983).
- k) Gandhi, Mahatma; Autobiography; (Boston: Beacon Press, 1957).
- 2. Labor Movement/Populism
- a) Organizing to Win: New Research on Union Strategies, ed. Kate Bronfenbrenner, Sheldon Friedman, Richard W. Hurd, Rudolph A. Oswald, and Ronald L. Seeber, (Ithica: ILR Press, 1998).
- b) Zieger, Robert; The CIO, 1935-1955. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995).
- c) Geoghegan, Thomas, Which Side Are You On?: Trying to Be For Labor When It's Flat on It's Back, (Plume, 1991).
- d) Cohen, Lizabeth, Making a New Deal, (London: Cambridge University Press, 1990).
- e) Goodwyn, Lawrence; The Populist Moment, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978).
- f) Dubovsky, Melvyn and Warren Van Tine, John L. Lewis, A Biography, (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1977).
- g) Steinbeck, John; In Dubious Battle, (Blue Ribbon Books, New York, 1937).
- h) McKenny, Ruth; Industrial Valley, (New York: Greenwood Press, 1939 ).
- 3. Civil Rights Movements
- a) Branch, Taylor, Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963-65, (New York: Simon and Shuster, 1999).
- b) Halberstam, David, The Children, (New York: Random House, 1998).
- c) Lewis, John; Walking With the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement, (New York: Simon and Shuster, 1998).
- d) Dittmer, John, Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi, (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1995).
- e) Payne, Charles, I've Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995).
- f) Skerry, Peter, Mexican Americans: the Ambivalent Minority, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993).
- g) Takaki, Ronald, Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans; (New York: Penguin, 1989).
- h) Branch, Taylor, Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988).
- i) Morris, Aldon, Origins of the Civil Rights Movement: Black Communities Organizing for Change, (New York: Free Press, 1984).
- j) McAdam, Doug, Political Process and the Development of Black Insurgency, 1930-1980 (Chicago:University of Chicago Press, 1982).
- 4. Political Movements
- a) Civic Engagement in American Democracy, eds. Theda Skocpol and Morris P. Fiorina (DC: Russel Sage, 1999).
- b) Clemens, Elisabeth, The People's Lobby: Organizational Innovation and the Rise of Interest Group Politics in the United States, 1890-1925 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997).
- c) Reed, Ralph, Politically Incorrect: The Emerging Faith Factor in American Politics, (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1994).
- d) Hertzke, Alan, Echoes of Discontent, (Washington: CQ Press, 1993).
- e) Gitlin, Todd; The Sixties; (New York: Bantam Books, 1989)
- f) Klatch, Rebecca E., Women of the New Right, (Temple, 1987.)
- g) Crawford, Alan, Thunder on the Right, (Pantheon, 1980).
- 5. Women's Movements
- a) Katzenstein, Mary Fainsod, Faithful and Fearless: Moving Feminist Protest inside the Church and Military, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998).
- b) Feree, Myra Max, Controversy and Coalition: New Feminist Movement (New York: Maxwell Macmillan International, 1994).
- c) Katzenstein, Mary Fainsod and Carol McClurg Mueller, The Women's Movements of the United States and Western Europe, (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1987).
- d) Mansbridge, Jane, Why We Lost the ERA, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986).
- e) Luker, Kristin, Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984).
- f) Gelb, Joyce and Marian Lief Palley, Women and Public Policies (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982).
- g) Evans, Sara, Personal Politics (New York: Vintage, 1980).
- 6. Environmental Movement
- a) Dowie, Mark, Losing Ground: American Environmentalism at the Close of the 20th Century; (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1995).
- b) Dunlap, Riley and Angela G. Mertig, American Environmentalism: the U.S. Environmental Movement, 1970-1990, (Philadelphia: Taylor & Francis, 1992).
- 7. Neighborhood Organizing
- a) Medoff, Peter and Holly Sklar, Streets of Hope (Boston: South End Press, 1994)
- b) Fisher, Robert, Let the People Decide: Neighborhood Organizing in America; (New York: Macmillan, 1994).
- c) Horwitt, Sanford, Let Them Call Me Rebel: Saul Alinsky; (New York: Knopf, 1989).
- 8. Faith Based Organizing
- a) Rooney, Jim, Organizing the South Bronx (New York: State University of New York, 1995).
- b) Robinson, Buddy and Mark G. Hanna, "Lessons for Academics from Community Organizing: A Case Study - The Industrial Areas Foundation" in Journal of Community Practice, Volume 1(4), 1994, (pp.63-94).
- c) Freedman, Samuel G, Upon this Rock: The Miracles of a Black Church; (New York: Harper Collins, 1993).
- d) Rogers, Mary Beth, Cold Anger : A Story of Faith and Power Politics, (Denton: University of North Texas Press, 1990).
- e) National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Economic Justice for All: Pastoral Letter of Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy, (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Catholic Conference, 1986).
- f) Pierce, Gregory F. Augustine, Activism That Makes Sense: Congregations and Community Organization. Acta Publications. 1984.
- 9. Books About Boston
- a) MacLeod, Jay, Ain't' No Makin' It: Aspirations and Attainment in a Low Income Neighborhood, (Boulder: Westview Press, 1995)
- b) O'Connor, Thomas J., Building a New Boston, (Northeastern, 1993).
- c) Levine, Hillel, Death of An American Jewish Community: A Tragedy of Good Intentions , (NY: Free Press, 1992)
- d) Lukas, J. Anthony, Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families, (NY: Vintage Books, 1986)
- e) Gans, Herbert; The Urban Villagers: Group and Class in the Life of Italian Americans, (New York: Free Press, 1982)
- f) King, Mel; Chains of Change; (Boston: South End,1981).
- 10. Organizing in General
- a) Waves of Protest: Social Movements Since the Sixties, ed. Jo Freeman and Victoria Johnson (Lanham, Md: Rowland and Littlefield, 1999)
- b) Langer, Ellen J., The Power of Mindful Learning, (New York: Addison-Wesley, 1997).
- c) Comparative Perspective on Social Movements, edited by Doug McAdam; John D. McCarthy, and Mayer N. Zald. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.).
- d) Social Movements and Culture, edited by Hank Johnston and Bert Klandermans. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995
- e) Mondros, Jacqueline B. and Scott M. Wilson, Organizing for Power and Empowerment; (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994).
- f) Gamson, William, The Strategy of Social Protest, (Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing, 1990).
- g) Gamson, William A., Bruce Fireman and Steven Rytina. Encounters with Unjust Authority. (Homewood, Il: The Dorsey Press, 1982)
- 1. Bobo, Kim, J. Kendall and S. Max, Organizing for Social Change: A Manual for Activists in the 1990s. 1996. Seven Locks.
- 2. The Future is Ours: A Handbook for Students Activists in the 21st Century, edited by John W. Bartlett, Henry Holt & Co., 1996.
- 3. Pierce, Gregory F. Augustine, Activism That Makes Sense: Congregations and Community Organization. Acta Publications. 1984.
- 4. Kahn, Si, Organizing: A Guide for Grass Roots Leaders. McGraw-Hill. 1982
- 5. Industrial Areas Foundation Materials
- 6. AFL-CIO Organizing Institute Materials
- 7.Campaign Materials
- 1. Grapes of Wrath, Ford, 1940.
- 2. Meet John Doe, Capra, 1941
- 3. Salt of the Earth, Bibberman, 1953
- 4. The Organizer, Monicelli, 1963.
- 5. Encounter with Saul Alinsky, National Film Board of Canada, 1967
- 6. Saul Alinsky Went to War, National Film Board of Canada, 1968
- 7. Burn, Pontecorvo, 1969.
- 8. FIST, Jewison, 1978
- 9. Norma Rae, Ritt, 1979.
- 10. Northern Lights, Nillson, 1979
- 11. Gandhi, Attenborough, 1982
- 12. Revolution, Hudson, 1985
- 13. Eyes on the Prize, Blackside, 1986.
- 14. Matewan, Sayles, 1987.
- 15. Streets of Hope, Dudley Street, 1994.
- 16. Freedom on My Mind, Fields, 1994.
- 17. Il Postino, Radford, 1995.
- 18. The Fight in the Fields, Paradigm, 1997.