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 Successful Coalitions

“Participants in a multi-constituency/multi-issue coalition recognize that they cannot achieve their program alone; that is why they are part of the coalition. Indeed, the very notion of a coalition is that different groups join because they have more to gain by working together than they possible can achieve working apart. But as different groups, the parts of the coalition have their own identities, ideas, and interests. These must be recognized, but a group’s formulation of a particular issue may not be acceptable to the full coalition and may have to be modified if backing from the full coalition is to be won.

“Successful coalitions are built on a ‘lowest significant common denominator’ notion. What constitutes ‘significant’ is a matter for the parties to negotiate among themselves. If they are aware that there are larger adversaries out there who will only negotiate if they unite and demonstrate their strength, then the possibility of arriving at that common denominator is enhanced. When they lack that awareness, as has been the case with many of the ‘identity groups’ now operating in the U.S. body politic, they miss the forest for the trees. What one group may consider ‘moral,’ another group may consider of dubious morality or even immoral. The art of compromise is required when building coalitions of diverse groups. So is radical patience – the recognition that once they are in a relationship, people who differ might change their views of each other.” (p.89)

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.

Difficulties of Organizing

Defining Organizing

Community Organizing Today

Myth Control


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