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 Knowing the Enemy

Elected politicians. Their bottom line is votes won versus votes lost. A politician who takes a stand on a controversial issue will win some votes and lose some, both in her present constituency and in one associated with a higher office she aspires to. Wealthy donors may cut their contributions, which translate into purchased media time to influence voters. A people’s organization has to persuade a politician that it can bring both votes and machinery to reach enough voters to make up for these losses. …

Corporate executives. Their bottom line is profit and a reputation that contributes to making a profit. A strike, slowdown, sickout, boycott, disruption of work, or a picket line that keeps workers or consumers out can all affect profit. But a corporation with a bad reputation for its treatment of the environment might also find it more difficult to recruit top talent from business schools.

Public sector managers. …while the top administrators are neither elected nor dependent on profit for their budgets, they are vulnerable to disruption of business as usual. They don’t want an elected official who votes on their appropriations inquiring about why their program beneficiaries are upset. Those beneficiaries are also voters. Nor do they want any potential rivals, either for their jobs or for the tasks assigned to their departments, to use public discontent against them. …

“Organizers and leaders who give careful thought to how those decision makers make up their minds can use the anticipated responses to build the numbers of people engaged in changing the status quo. ‘The action is in the reaction.’” (p. 100-1)  

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.

Continuous Job

Organizer's Job

Educating the People

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