Ep.1: What is Community Organizing? And Why is it Needed?


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In this, the first episode, I talk to Keisha Krumm and Mike Gecan about what is community organizing, what it involves, and why it matters. Community organizing can also be referred to as broad-based organizing, institution-based organizing, faith-based organizing, or neighborhood organizing. Keisha and Mike prefer just to talk about organizing as the work of enabling people to come together to build power to effect democratic change where they live and work. As you will hear, boundaries between labor and community organizing and between movement building and community building work are fluid. What is constant is the need for relationally driven, bottom up forms of democratic politics.
Keisha Krumm and Mike Gecan are two very experienced organizers with the Industrial Areas Foundation. Keisha recently became lead organizer with Greater Cleveland Congregations having been an organizer in Milwaukee for a number of years before that. And Mike has been an organizer for over forty years, written extensively on organizing, and done much to shape its contemporary practice. They each tell something of their story at the beginning of the episode.
Resources for Going Deeper:
Saul Alinsky. Reveille for Radicals (various editions), Chapter 11;
Luke Bretherton, "The origins of organizing: an intellectual history," Resurrecting Democracy: Faith, Citizenship and the Politics of a Common Life (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), Chapter 1;
Bernard Crick, In Defence of Politics (London: Continuum, 2005);

Lee Staples, “‘Power to the People’ Basic Organizing Philosophy and Goals,” Roots to Power: A Manual for Grassroots Organizing, 3rd edn (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2016), 1-14, 21-35;
Mark Engler and Paul Engler, This is an Uprising: How Nonviolent Revolt is Shaping the Twenty-First Century (New York: Nation Books, 2017), 251-284.

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