Mutual aid and organizing

Readings DSA-LA Mutual Aid platform: http://www.dsa-la.org/mutual_aid_resource_committee_platform Funding America’s Nonprofits: The Nonprofit Industrial Complex: https://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:156455 Charity, Mutual Aid, and Class Struggle: https://propertyistheft.wordpress.com/2010/08/15/charity-mutual–aid–and-class-struggle/ Today’s topic is mutual aid. Some important points: Mutual aid is not charity. Charity is paternalistic and carries a stigma. Mutual aid involves people working together. Mutual aid provides desperately needed relief. If we care about people’s suffering, why not be involved […]

No Shortcuts by Jane McAlevey

Why you should read this book: McAlevey covers a fascinating history of the CIO under George Meany. Meany was notoriously anti-communist, yet he relied heavily on American communists when organizing workplaces. He did so because they were successful; when Meany hired communist organizers, the unionization drive always succeeded. But whenever he hired non-communist organizers, the […]

Mindful listening

Today’s education topic teaches a basic organizing skill. Instead of readings, members were asked to come up with: Something negative that happened to them that they don’t mind sharing. This could be something that happened in kindergarten, or something from yesterday; something embarrassing or unpleasant to something tragic. Whatever you’re comfortable sharing. Something they are […]

Social change through elected office

Our reading for this topic is an extremely insightful analysis of the election to Seattle City Council of Socialist Alternative candidate Kshama Sawant. By all accounts, Sawant has been an excellent elected official. SA has been able to work constructively with Democrats where they agree, as well as move ideas leftward. SA has also been able […]

Poor People’s Movements

The title of today’s topic is taken from Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward’s book, Poor People’s Movements. At that time, social sciences scholarship focused on the role of elites in influencing policy. Piven and Cloward instead focused on movements that were driven by ordinary people. A key argument is that ordinary people’s ability to influence […]

Deep organizing

We discussed the deep organizing model of social change. Wisconsin’s largest protest in recent history occurred in early 2011, where hundreds of thousands protested at the State Capital building against the Budget Repair Bill. Yet a single protest had, at most, 2% of the state population. Activists, or those who work for social change, probably […]