totally different dynamic comes into play if the goal is building the
people power necessary to hold major institutions accountable to provide
quality education and child-care; decent, safe, sanitary, and affordable
housing; well-paying and meaningful jobs; affordable health care; and
whatever else the people of a community or an alliance of communities are
willing to struggle for. A rational planning process in the usual sense is
not possible, because you cannot determine the reaction of decision makers
to whom you make proposals for change, nor the tactical opportunities that
will emerge in a conflict.
dynamic is build around the idea of making proposals to decision makers in
government, business, and major nonprofit sectors to change their
policies, structures and procedures. … When reasonable proposals were
rejected, and no alternatives put forward, the demand was for good-faith
negotiations. Since your proposal might be rejected, you must have an idea
of what sanctions you might bring to bear so that good-faith negotiations
take place. This, in turn, requires increasing numbers of people to shift
from passivity to activity so that people power can be brought to bear on
what is now a conflict. Finally, in order to bring increasing numbers of
people into participation, an organization has to make the case that their
participation will lead to a result. Initial small victories are needed to
demonstrate the efficacy of collective action to people who think of
themselves as powerless. Thus, how ‘the system’ will respond is a
prime consideration in issue selection. If an organization makes a mistake
in evaluating ‘winnability,’ it must withdraw and engage in another
arena; and it must withdraw in a way that doesn’t admit defeat.” (p.
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.