The University of Wisconsin's valuable online resource center for community organizing, Comm-Org, features this new paper submitted by long time organizer Ellen Ryan. Randy Stoecker, Comm-Org moderator writes, "At a time when we have witnessed the demise of ACORN, and the reality shock of the health care fight, this paper (Whatever Happened to Community Organizing) asks whether we may have lost our way. Has community organizing become reduced to just political mobilizing? Are organizers building any strength that can withstand the opposition?"
Ellen Ryan has worked as a community organizer in New England, the upper midwest, and southern United States. She began organizing in 1973 as a volunteer for the United Farmworkers Union grape and lettuce boycott, and later worked for the New England Training Center for Community Organizers, Grassroots Leadership, an organizing resource center in the South, and the Family Farm Organizing Resource Center and Regeneration Partnership in St. Paul, MN. She served as lead organizer for Virginia Organizing Project for six years, and now lives in Augusta, ME.
The COMM-ORG mission is to:
* help connect people who care about the craft of community organizing.
* find and provide information that organizers, scholars, and scholar-organizers can use to learn, teach, and do community organizing.
* involve all COMM-ORG members in meeting those goals.
COMM-ORG is based on two basic beliefs:
* community organizers and academics can both benefit by exchanging information and resources. The COMM-ORG membership is composed of about half academics and half practitioners (including some government officials and funders)
* the Internet should remain a place where information and communication is freely available (meaning, at no cost). That means not only that everything on COMM-ORG is free, but that COMM-ORG runs on completely free open source software.
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