Though not dead yet, I believe the fundamentals of organizing are in need of a revival. To build a big enough “We” to solve the crises of our era, we need organizers fully grounded in fundamentals like starting where people are at, a good local issue cut, and developing leaders.

At People’s Action, we are working to revive these fundamentals through training, culture, and story. That’s why I decided to sit down for conversations with eight organizers who fully practice these fundamentals.

Our conversations can be found here or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Before Alicia Garza penned the words…

I first learned to organize in a soup kitchen in Southern Indiana. Our first action was taking over a city council meeting in a fight for affordable housing. One after another, 40 members stood up and told their story of being homeless or damn near. We didn’t win that night, but we were on to something.

Hungry to learn more, I went to the Monroe County Library and found a book about community organizing. The author wrote of organizing networks with strange names like the Industrial Areas Foundation, ACORN, and Gamaliel. One group took busloads of people to protest at…

The time has come for an organizing revival. Where we celebrate the evolution of the craft, and reground in organizing fundamentals that transcend form and context.

We have shifted an organizing field that was largely designed to win the best thing possible in the existing political and ideological landscape, to one dead-set on changing that landscape. Contesting to win the battle of ideas — advancing ours about race, class, gender, immigration, markets, and the role of government; a seismic shift toward contesting for governing power; using technology to be in relationship with more people; and a shift in who is…

There’s no getting around it. Organizing is hard. But the context you are organizing in? It’s a whole different thing.

When I was coming up, the expectations felt big. People in the neighborhood were being screwed seven ways to Sunday. So, each night we’d knock 50 doors, have a dozen conversations, and go deep with three or four folks — sign them up as members committed to hosting a house meeting. We were expected to build a neighborhood base, organize actions, put 200 people in a room every couple months, and win.

None of this was easy. And, it’s different…

Like all of us, I’ve sorted through many feelings this week. And, there’s been one constant. Gratitude for organizers.

If you take organizers and the local institutions they’ve built off the table, Donald Trump is a two-term President. I feel certain of that.

To be clear, I am talking about organizers. Not party officials, traditional campaign staffers, or political operatives. I’m talking about organizers. People who agitate and inspire, people who see in others what they do not yet see in themselves. In the fight to transform systems, they transform the human spirit along the way. …

Racism continues to be the dominant force in American political life. The killing of George Floyd and the uprising of people across the country, followed by the aggressive overreaction by the police and Donald Trump, have focused the nation like a laser on the incredible amount of work we have to do to address anti-Black racism and the role of policing in America.

Social change takes place in steady streams and in big bursts. In the struggle for Black lives, we are in a big-burst moment, which we need to extend for as long as possible. The big burst moments…

There’s an old Creole proverb, “Tell me who you love, and I’ll tell you who you are.”

By standing up for migrant families and children, people from small towns and small cities across the country are telling us who we love and what they stand for.

On June 30th, hundreds of thousands of people marched under the banner, “Families Belong Together,” to support the reunification of families and demand an end to Trump’s inhumane immigration policy. Of the 750 marches and rallies that took place on June 30th, nearly half took place in counties that voted for Donald Trump. …

Image by Seita on Shutterstock

We should be skeptical of the motivation and messengers behind calls for civility.

We hear people say that what is happening to migrants in the United States right now is un-American. I wish that were true. Sadly, American history is full of periods where children of color were routinely taken from their parents. Resistance and organizing, on the other hand, are truly American. In fact, many of our nation’s best moments have been when we heeded the call to stand down hatred and racism.

The Trump Administration has been off the rails since day one. But Donald Trump’s zero tolerance…

Author with his daughter at O’Hare Airport protesting Trump’s proposed travel ban

As more reports surface of children seeking asylum at our borders being separated from their parents, there has been much consideration of the impact and effect on children. As Father’s Day approaches, I can’t help but wonder how I would cope if my daughter was taken away from me. The thought of her feeling unprotected and abandoned is hard to fathom.

Last weekend the Washington Post reported on the death by suicide of Marco Antonio Muñoz. Having crossed the border — fleeing violence and seeking asylum — Muñoz was forcibly separated from his wife and three-year-old son and detained. …

The revolution may not be televised, but in 2018, the resistance is being electoralized. This comes not a minute too soon: elections have already begun, with precinct caucuses in Iowa, special elections across the country and six months of rolling primaries starting in March.

We have to turn our resistance into electoral action quickly, and to the scale of the problems we face.

Hundreds of People’s Action members are going door to door nationwide on Saturday, Feb. 24, to do our part. We will hit the streets every month between now and November as part of a snowballing “From Protest…

George Goehl

George is the Director of People's Action & People's Action Institute. And hosts the podcasts The Next Move & To See Each Other.

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