Obama organizing

/ 3 April 2008

I got a note this week about the Obama campaign organizing “fellowships” to train people to organize in their communities.

I got my chance on the South Side of Chicago, as a community organizer, and it was the transformative experience of my career.

It allowed me to put my values to work and to see that real change comes not from the top-down, but from the bottom-up, when ordinary people come together around a common purpose.

The experience changed the course of my life — and I want to share that kind of opportunity with you.

I am impressed by the Wellstone Action/Participation 2000-ish nature of this effort. But I’d like to see them go one step further this summer.

These fellowships seem to be geared toward campaigning (“you will be assigned to a community where you’ll organize supporters”). Wouldn’t it be great to see the Obama campaign do some training for community organizing that goes beyond the campaign for the presidency. Just some good works, like a mini habitat but around important issues this summer (maybe fixing up foreclosed homes, or chasing down the owning banks to get them to take responsibility). The political win would be in the halo effect of these good works, the long term community win would be people trained and active who will stay that way whoever wins the big white house.

Obama raised $40M this month alone. Wouldn’t it be interesting if some of that primary money went toward funding some general community organizing efforts?

Be the first to comment