Monday, November 3, 2008


It's no surprise these Republican assholes sneer at "community organizers." After all, community organizers were key to the civil rights movement, the anti-war movements, the feminist movement, the environmental movement, the gay rights movement, and movements for affordable housing and healthcare. In other words, movements the Republicans violently opposed every step of the way.

Community organizers work on the grassroots level organizing communities for the common good, often working against powerful interests. No wonder the Republicans don't get it.

Martin Luther King, Jr., community organizer

When Barack Obama graduated from Harvard Law School, where he edited the prestigious law review, he could've easily joined some white shoe law firm and really raked in the bucks, but instead he went to Chicago to organize workers who had been stranded after the steel mills shut down. Call me naive, but I find this commendable. In fact, I believe this sense of service and sacrifice--along with a cool, formidable intelligence--will serve him well as President of the United States.

Cesar Chavez, community organizer

Sarah Palin can smirk and wink and say being mayor of Wasilla was like being a community organizer, only with responsibilities--but anyone who's ever worked as an organizer can tell you that's a load of horseshit. Organizers have plenty of responsibilities, and few resources, and they do everything from scratch. In the 1980s, I worked as a community organizer on Central America issues--fighting against Reagan's contra war (remember trading arms for hostages? Ollie North?)-- and my fellow community organizers worked harder than Palin ever did, I can assure you. I've never seen a more tireless, intelligent, and resourceful group of people in my life. And they never got a $150,000 clothing allowance, either.

Obama on community organizing, and the Republican comments:

Saul Alinsky is considered the father of modern community organizing. In the 1930s, Alinsky organized the Back of the Yards neighborhood in Chicago (made infamous by Upton Sinclair's novel The Jungle about horrific working conditions in the stockyards). He coined the term "Think Globally, Act Locally."

Saul Alinsky, 1909-1972, community organizer

Alinsky influenced several generations of activists working for social change with his pragmatic primers Reveille for Radicals (1946) and Rules for Radicals (1972). In the opening paragraph of Rules, Alinsky wrote:

"What follows is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be. The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away."

Here's the Daily Show take on the community organizers:

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