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 At the Table

“Many community organizers today are fond of saying that they are now ‘at the negotiating table’ and no longer need to use the tactics that got them there. But nothing is worse than co-optation that isn’t recognized by the co-opted. Being at the table means having the continuing opportunity to present proposals that ever more fundamentally address inequalities of wealth and power that undermine American democracy. When such proposals are presented, ‘the other side’ will resist. Organizations will have to demonstrate that large numbers of people support the more radical proposals – ‘radical’ in the sense of the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary definition ‘of or relating to the origin; fundamental.’ And this support will have to manifest itself in demonstrations, lobbying, voting, boycotts, strikes, or nonviolent disruptive mass action. Organizers who have convinced themselves that they are now ‘equals’ at the bargaining table need to read the Frederick Douglass quotation that opens the book.” (pp. 84-5)

Blame the System

System Meetings

Frederick Douglass

A COMMUNITY ORGANIZER'S TALE by Mike Miller, Berkeley:Heyday Books, 2009. CSCO believes this is the best book on organizing. Miller has been with CSCO for many years.

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