... Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to start an impeachment inquiry is the first step toward a possible congressional indictment of the president. It can also be seen as an attempt to diagnose whether or not the country needs constitutional chemotherapy.
Twenty years after the first living-wage law was passed in Baltimore, the campaign’s lead organizer warns that the model has been watered down. This prescient piece written by Jonathan Lange in 2014 for the Nation is an even more urgent read NOW.
The Hong Kong protesters have turned militant and more strategic – and this unnerves Beijing By amanda tattersall
The past few weeks has seen a drastic escalation in violence on the streets of Hong Kong. On Tuesday night, a police officer aimed a shotgun at protesters who had gathered outside a police station, while a car launched fireworks into the crowd.
Days earlier, the police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters trying to reach the Chinese government’s office.
And the week before, following a protest of 430,000 people, vigilante thugs, dressed in white and carrying bamboo sticks, beat up democracy protesters at a train station.
The rest here: A smart piece by former IAF organizer Amanda Tattersall on Hong Kong protests.
After word spread that Sister Christine Stephens had passed away, I tried explaining who she was to a friend who had never met her. Words tumbled out - “formidable, smart, compassionate, thoughtful, a towering figure, someone who had to be reckoned with by friend and foe, impossible to ignore, zeroed in on what mattered".
“She was all that,” I said, “and more.” “She relished a fight, and even picked some, but never with the intent of humiliating an adversary much less punching down to weakness.”
Keisha Krumm speaks at a news conference at City Hall in 2015 at which Nationstar Mortgage announced it would contribute $30.5 million to help Sherman Park homeowners recover from the foreclosure crisis. Photo courtesy of Common Ground.
Milwaukee is a city that does not strengthen the hand of the poor. It seems, instead, to be satisfied with kind gestures of charity toward the symptoms of unfairness. Pope Pius XI said, “Charity will never be true charity unless it takes justice into account…. Let no one attempt with small gifts of charity to exempt themselves from the great duties imposed by justice.”
My over eight years in Milwaukee as Common Ground’s Executive Director and Lead Organizer has been dedicated to building justice with and for those left behind in this city. Common Ground has created controversy and tension, including pushing big banks and billionaires to recalculate their civic interest in broader terms. I am proud that we have had the moral courage to demand more than just charity for neighborhoods, education, health care, and housing. Keisha Krumm's Full Op Ed in Urban Milwaukee here.
Keisha Krumm has been organizing over 17 years with the IAF, including 8.5 years as the Lead Organizer for Common Ground, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She can be reached email@example.com
From the Washington Post:
One person who recognizes this disparity is Mike Gecan, senior organizer at Metro Industrial Areas Foundation based in Chicago. In something of a unique social experiment, Gecan is attempting to address obstacles faced by populations who are disadvantaged by residing in far-off areas of the map. Opinion piece here.
"Franklin D. Roosevelt is reported to have said about the need for a specific policy initiative, "Okay, you've convinced me. Now go out there and organize and create a constituency to make me do it." I fear that too many progressives are still caught up in the "convincing," when what we need now is the constituency-and people who are willing to think hard about how to create, sustain, and energize that constituency." More from still timely piece in Boston Review.
"The grand challenge that Arendt gave herself was the retrieval of the words most associated with politics—and therefore the words most ravaged through centuries of overuse and distortion."
Read the smart, timely piece here.
Over the course of my organizing career with IAF that spanned forty years I can’t recall a strategic idea worth pursuing or a tactic worth implementing that didn’t derive from relational meetings. My recollections in many cases include the exact moment when the spark occurred: The ashen face of a parent in Las Vegas describing the pimping of her child for sex; the tight jaw of a woman despondent over the number of children running loose after school in her neighborhood; the depression of a man whose year of government funded “job training” ended with no job in sight; an immigrant describing his ordeal crossing the border.
“Power before program” is one of IAF Co-Director Ernie Cortes’ signature organizing mantras. Implicit in his exhortation is adoption of IAF’s methodological innovations - first and foremost relational meetings, one to one, that are practices for building power. Strategic, tactical and methodological innovations circle back on one another in a virtuous circle. Where the power of IAF citizen organizations is successfully exercised, business as usual is disrupted as public space opens for more citizen leaders to impact public life with fresh initiatives, energy and action. Troubled democracies everywhere need more of this. Their survival may depend on it.
In a year when countless political campaigns are “staffing up”, recruiting volunteers, and raising money, Central Texas Interfaith is doing the same, but with a different focus: aggressively building a broad and diverse collective of 500 leaders. Over the next 7 months, CTI will attempt to double its base of core leaders at its congregations, schools, unions, and social service organizations to fight for families and the issues affecting them: affordable housing, workforce development, living wages, local control, immigration, safe neighborhoods, and healthcare. Simply put, the goal of our “500 LEADERS CAMPAIGN” is to build the largest non-partisan, broad-based political organization in Central Texas. Full story here.
This blog is an attempt to convince community leaders and organizers that writing can be another tool in their power toolbox. It offers examples and suggestions on how to write both artfully and effectively. I have been a publisher for over thirty years and a community leader and organizer for almost fifty years, so the combination of these two topics is a natural for me, as in this piece.
See books by Michael Gecan HERE.
Democratic Faith, led by Frank C. Pierson, Jr. and ACTA Publications, led by Gregory F. Augustine Pierce, are teaming up to encourage Industrial Areas Foundation network (IAF) writing and communications. We share a conviction that writing, publishing and broadly communicating stories by and about IAF leaders, organizers and allies is of vital importance right now. To that end we call your attention to a series of community organizing booklets published by ACTA that are premier learning resources for anyone interested in building and/or supporting citizen organizing.
Pierce and Pierson have decades of experience as professional IAF organizers dating back to the early 1970’s. We have renewed our relationship based on a shared commitment to add value to IAF organizing.
When you purchase books on the ACTA website and use coupon code DEMFAITH at final checkout, you will receive a 10% discount on your order, and ACTA Publications will donate 20% of your order total to Dem Faith and the IAF.
How to Raise Money for Community Organizing
By Robert Connolly
Thousands of people fleeing situations of murder, rape and gang violence in Central America come to this country seeking asylum. They expect and ought to expect that they will receive a fair hearing. But they are greeted with gimmicks meant to circumvent the law in order to discourage them from pursuing their claims of asylum: people’s children are arbitrarily taken from them; people are told that they must wait in Mexico until their cases are heard; border patrol agents were even instructed by the president himself to lie to judges and say that they are unable to process more cases because they are overwhelmed (their supervisors instructed these same agents to ignore the president).
One might be tempted to say that the administration is administering a policy of terrorism to discourage people from seeking asylum. Terrorism is a political tool. Its aim is to achieve a political aim. It entails perpetrating indiscriminate acts of violence against civilians to create a level of terror that leads to capitulation.
By Frank C. Pierson, Jr., Editor and Publisher, www.democraticfaith.com
Kaz (my wife) and I visited Ambos Nogales - twin cities on the Mexican/US border - a couple weeks ago. We support a cross border tennis program for youngsters and wanted to experience its activities first hand. Of course we both had seen pictures of the towering slatted metal fence dressed out with concertina wire snaking through the Nogales twin cities but were still unprepared for the reality.
A tiny % of American citizens will ever share our first hand experience because the vast majority will never go there. Most, for now, will view the attempt at border militarization from a distance through a political lens. That’s too bad. First hand they might gain some insight into why US border policy is broken.
Let's end it so others don't feel like 'caged animals', former inmate says.
Story by IAF Organizer Nafeesah Goldsmith
In 2006, when I was 26 years old, I was placed in solitary confinement at New Jersey State Prison for 60 days.
I was locked in my cell for 23 hours a day, sometimes 24 hours, depending on the mood of the officers or if there was a lockdown at the prison. Our showers -- which we were supposed to receive every day -- were subject to the officers’ whims as well. Sometimes, I didn’t get a shower for days. More here.
Imminent Release for this organizational game changer: How to raise money for community organizing by Bob Connolly
Specific, practical, tested: Advice on fundraising