Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Transformative Organizing

I've got something special for you this month -> a sneak preview from the next issue of Left Turn! Below is a review by LT editor Max Uhlenbeck of two distinct documents both exploring something they are calling "transformative organizing".

As Max points out in his review, the piece by Social Justice Leadership gets at the need to not only make demands upon oppressive powers but to also shift our individual and collectively embodied practices toward our values. It is here that I think a third document,
So That We May Soar by Another Politics is Possible and LA COiL, has something to add to the conversation. Although we don't use the term transformative organizing, So That We May Soar, which was also prepared for distribution at this past summer's US Social Forum in Detroit, explores "prefigurative politics", a notion akin to SJL's embodied practices. In particular, this document co-written by at least a dozen organizers from NYC, LA and places in between, focuses on horizontality and intersectional struggle as two practices that are crucial to embody if we are to realize our democratic and transformative visions for the world. Although not yet available on-line, you can check out a review of So That We May Soar and the workshop LA COiL led in connection to it -as well as a snippet of the document itself- at Suzy Subways' blog, AIDS and Social Justice. I've also got a few copies left so drop me a line if you'd like me to send you one :-)

In other news, Movement for Justice in El Barrio co-hosted the National Encuentro of Organizations and Struggles of the Other Campaign in Atenco with the People's Front in Defense of the Land on November 12-14. Here are two articles from Hermann Bellinghausen covering the gathering for La Jornada (1,2).

Meanwhile, Raúl Zibechi was here in NYC. Raúl's visit was full of great encounters but perhaps the richest was an informal dinner with S'bu Zikode, elected President of Abahlali baseMjondolo (the South African Shackdwellers' Movement). Although I can't share the details of that conversation here, you can find several videos from S'bu's visit at Abahlali's website as well as an article, When the Poor Become Powerful Outside of State Control, which he wrote for Pambazuka News during his visit to the US. As for Raúl, we're planning to have some of his presentations up in audio and transcript format sometime down the road so stay tuned!

And without further ado, here's that Left Turn sneak preview...

a review by Max Uhlenbeck
from the forthcoming issue #38 of Left Turn Magazine
The 7 Components of Transformative Organizing Theory
By Eric Mann
The Labor and Community Strategy Center, 2010

Transformative Organizing: Toward Liberation of Self and Society
By Social Justice Leadership
Social Justice Leadership, 2010

If there is anything we have learned from the political struggles of the 20th-century United States, it has been the great importance of grassroots and mass-based organizing. From the IWW to the CIO, the early Communist Party to the rise of the civil rights movement, the question of how to organize and refine best practices has always remained central.

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