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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #258 (Feb) - Neighbourhoods, The "community organizing" husked (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]

Date Fri, 18 Mar 2016 09:57:46 +0200

For many activists, a question that often remains unanswered is: how to mobilize people? How to develop frameworks for collective political consciousness? The research and trials of community organizing, spanning over a hundred years, are a response to end this problem (almost) insoluble. Proof by example in Grenoble. ---- In order to develop popular against powers, the community organizing is a method of action and collective organization that takes as its starting point the rulers and injustices experienced by people physically, to pursue three objectives. ---- The first objective, which can be described as pragmatic and reformist, is to view the world " as it is " and collectively undertake struggles in the form of direct action to achieve improvements in the living conditions of classes (as could a union, but on land ranging from housing to education through labor).

The second objective, which is a real dynamic of popular [education 1], will realize that these struggles conducted and won collectively will help to overcome a feeling of inevitability and real political exclusion. They will also be the development of class consciousness framework based on a certain interpretation of social antagonisms.

The third objective pursues a revolutionary project: the aim is indeed to build a balance of power by the collective organization of those whose only power is their number.

Introduced and theorized from the late 1930s by Saul Alinsky [2], the community organizing comes from across the Atlantic [3]. One finds its principles in the struggles of California farm workers around Cesar Chavez, and one can see parallels with the analyzes of Freire [4]. In France, these methods have been developing since the late 2000s, in various modes.

On one side of the activists from-es or close neighborhoods are discovering the community organizing on a trip to the United States in 2010. Convinced-es, they and they are trying to implement this approach in France end up creating the Praxis Studio, one of the activities is to train and support collective neighborhoods such as Stop ethnic profiling [5], Zonzon 93 [6]and many others.

On the other hand, activists, social workers, disillusioned-es by the limits of their previous practices, discover the thought of Saul Alinsky and interested. They and they start to train with London Citizens [7]and create in Grenoble in 2010 the Echo association.

In 2012, Echo becomes a citizen Alliance [8], whose governance is ensured by its members and not by the activists. This first trial in 2013 inspired the creation of the association in Rennes If allied itself [9]. Today, an organization of the same type will start in the Paris region [10]. Note that there is also an international organization, the ReAct [11](Network for transnational collective action), which aims to bring together residents and wage earners against multinationals.

The Citizens Alliance in the Grenoble area, for its part, has recently changed its model, leaving that charged by London Citizens, which was to be based primarily on existing communities (associations, schools, cults, etc.). It is now implementing the model practiced by Acorn [12], a very powerful organization in North America (up to 175 000 members in the United States in 2010, currently 70,000 members across Canada) whose method is to go meet individually with people, which allows us to reach more remote from public life and collective frameworks.

All of these projects can be compared to a Multi-Terrain revolutionary syndicalism, whose base is not the company but the neighborhood. They are launched by people who seek to be in the action and take practical measures in a materialistic and pragmatic approach, convinced es that direct action is a powerful means of popular education, and the denunciation of rulers can be truly effective in fighting effectively against acts they generate.

These experiments are already producing results but are still at the experimental stage. The terms vary (you translate "organization of citizens", "community organization", or something else?), How to also do (individual memberships collective memberships both no????): How to import France this Anglo-Saxon method requires experience, in order to combine the best efficiency and democracy, radicalism and pragmatism. To be continued ...

At the Citizens Alliance in the Grenoble area, the work of the base is to go door-to-door. When the board of the Alliance, made up exclusively of members, decides to go to meet the inhabitants and inhabitants of a new district, he commissioned it to an organizer or an organizer (this is how people who are designated working for the citizens Alliance). He or she will then embark on a period of intensive door-to-door. For four hours each day, he will knock on all the doors in the neighborhood.

The key in these individual meetings is based on the concerns of the people we encounter, their practical problems and daily newspapers. The front door is radically materialistic, and at this stage it is considered that all the anger is legitimate. If a person is angry, it is because there is a sense of injustice, and there is no judgment to make on that anger.

It is this legitimacy which makes possible mobilization: it is indeed the antithesis of approaches which people are accustomed: on one side, the sphere of social work tends to return the responsibility for the difficulties the person (do you handle well your budget? you busy yourself well your child? etc.), and other political groups are stronger in inappropriable scholars and electoral discourse to fight and get victories over small concrete injustices.

popular self-education through action and collective

This first meeting is already in itself a moment of political consciousness. Indeed, during a successful door-to-door, the organizer or the host will accompany the person questioning her, so she searched the problem she talks ( "And also that is how ? before and how was it? "), it searches and identifies the solution it wants to see implemented, it identifies the structural cause of the problem.

This is called the "verticalization", as opposed to so-called horizontal anger aimed neighbors, which do not have more power than us. All this so that it becomes aware of the weight of social injustice in the fact that this problem is not resolved, she imagines the number of people who live the same injustice and strength that would bring that number to regroup, and finally she imagines how it might act collectively to change that.

When the Citizens Alliance launches into a new neighborhood, the goal is to quickly get the commitment of a maximum of people. By becoming members, they will work with the organizer or the host to communicate with their neighbors and neighboring dynamic organization in progress. The organizer will thus look to the "put in motion" to more quickly, so they are maximally themselves structuring their neighborhood. "Can we go see all the neighbors you know? Do you have time to go see your side other tenants in your rise to speak to them? "

Gradually, a group was formed. After 4 to 5 weeks, members will meet for group meetings. From the first meeting, the organizer will propose modes (animation, decision making) that will allow to acquire all democratic habits. These practices will then become the culture of the group, will be appropriate for members, which will never be naive before the false steps of institutional consultations.

We find these practices in neighborhood assemblies, which bring together 50 to 100 members. It is during these meetings that the members decide what actions to take priority.

cc Nicolas Moiroud
windows for all!

At the meeting of a neighborhood, the members decided to tackle the problem of dilapidated and poorly insulated windows in some homes. This problem does not apply to all members, but all agreed to treat all first. We treat others then. A letter has already been sent to the landlord to request the replacement of the offending windows, but no response was obtained. The Assembly therefore decided to take a pressing action the following week.

A group of five members is appointed by the Assembly to prepare the action. On the day, blankets on their shoulders, many tenants are set at the local office of the landlord "was cold in our apartments, so today we just warm up in your office," they said, claiming that their windows are insulated. The local press is there to immortalize the scene. A manager comes in, says he does not like the method, but listening to the claims and promises an appointment before the weekend.

A spokesman for the group prepares the negotiation by role-playing with the organizer. The Citizens Alliance will finally get the commitment of the donor to replace the emergency 75 most dilapidated windows. Such actions obviously seeks victories, but these victories, they aim to encourage the members confidence in their ability to collectively intervene and to voice their social interests in the public square.

While one side our society demonizes the conflict, accusing the troublemakers to prepare the civil war, and on the other hand we can not count those that fatalism leads to the submission or the disaffection, the community organizing believes in inclusive under social conflict. Paradoxically, it is assuming to oppose the institutions that can take its place in society.

Or feel part of a society is a prerequisite for the desire to want to change.

Starting with going door to door and take into account the anger of "most concerned", the community organizing is to mobilize win victories by rolling back some of the many small social injustices that they suffer. Through their experience in the Citizens Alliance and participation in concrete actions, people are becoming aware of social conditioning and structural inequalities they experience and live an alternative by practicing radically democratic processes. The victories gradually allow to structure a mass organization and a balance of power more favorable.

Adeline DL (AL Paris-Nord-Est)

[1]On the popular notion of education as we understand it, see the AL record No. 252 of July-August 2015.

[2]Saul Alinsky (1909-1972) is considered the founder of community organizing.

[3]Read AL No. 252 July-August 2015: " The pragmatism of the Atlantic " by Julien Talpin.

[4]Brazilian pedagogue.

[5]Collective founded in 2011. stop control at the facies .

[6]Association based in Villepinte. Zonzon93

[7]Citizens UK is a grassroots organization based in the United Kingdom: citizensuk

[8]Citizens Alliance 38

[9]If allied itself

[10]Organize idf citizens


[12]Acorn USA, founded in 1970, was dissolved in 2010 following a smear campaign by the tea party against him. Acorn . Canada Acorn: Acorn canada .

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