Tag: community organizing

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: We Need to Support Walmart Workers’ #Ride4Respect by JayRaye



Right now as you read this, Walmart Workers are on buses and they are caravanning from various cities to Bentonville, Arkansas where Walmart will be holding its annual shareholders meeting on June 7th. They plan to make their presence known by urging Walmart to stop its retaliation against associates who dare to speak out about working conditions. The #Ride4Respect uses the Freedom Riders of the Civil Rights Movement for inspiration. Completely appropriate, in my book. The fight for our rights as workers is a struggle for civil and human rights. Workers are American Citizens, and we are human beings. We don’t stop being Human Beings and Citizens when we pass through the doors of our place of employment.

One of the rights guaranteed to working people by U.S. Labor Law, is the right to speak out about the conditions of labor, and to do so without retaliation from our employer. That retaliation is illegal! Walmart’s retaliation has not ceased, in spite of denial that it exists, and in spite of promises to stop this retaliation (which they deny exists!) This is where the Unfair Labor Practice Strike comes into the picture. Striking Walmart Workers are a big part of the #Ride4Respect. This strike is historic as it will be the first prolonged ULP strike made by Walmart Workers. They are taking OUR Walmart’s fight for respect to another level.

Lisa Lopez walks and gives notice of ULP strike.

A Woman of Courage has put on her fighting clothes!

Mother Jones would be proud!

From Occupy Wall Street to Occupy the Neighborhoods

The Occupy movement has done something amazing, getting Americans to start questioning our economic divides. It’s created spaces for people to come together, voice their discontents and dreams, creatively challenge destructive greed. It’s created powerful political theater, engaged community, an alternative to silence and powerlessness.  

The Seductions Of Clicking: How The Internet Can Make It Harder To Act

Without online technologies, Barack Obama would never have gotten past the primaries.  Had Facebook, YouTube, texting, a 13-million name email list and a website developed by Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes been absent from his campaign, he would never have raised enough money, been seen and heard by enough people, or enlisted enough volunteers. Yet progressive hopes are faltering, not only because of Obama’s compromises and mistakes and Republican intransigence, but also because far too many of his supporters have come to believe they can act exclusively through these online technologies, to the exclusion of face-to-face politics.  

We Energized Each Other: Finding Engaged Allies Where We Work

Whatever our situation, we need allies to work successfully for change. We need people to talk with, brainstorm ideas, lift us up when we’re down, and build power by acting together. Many of us involve ourselves in local and national political issues, but what about our workplaces? How do we shift these contexts to help create a more just and sustainable world? Unionization is one key approach. Had the Deepwater Horizon workers been unionized, they could have challenged the dangerous shortcuts that BP was taking without fear of being capriciously fired. Instead, many may well have held back from expressing their concerns for fear of losing their jobs. But whether or not our workplaces are unionized, we need to find engaged allies if we want to make a difference.

From An Eighth Grade Education To Testifying Before Congress

Too many of us hold back from community involvement because we think we don’t know enough to act on our beliefs, or don’t have the standing or confidence to take a public stand. When we see a woman who begins with no money, no power, no education and no status in the community, and then becomes a powerful voice for change, it should inspire us all.

* * *

Virginia Ramirez, of San Antonio, Texas, could easily have lived out her days without ever discovering her ability to speak out. She left school after eighth grade to get married. “That was what most Hispanic women in my generation did. My husband, who drives a taxicab, went to work after sixth grade.” Although dropping out seemed normal at the time, she felt frustrated when she couldn’t help her five children with their homework.

When Virginia was forty-five, she realized that an elderly neighbor was getting sick every winter. The neighbor was a widow who lived in a house so dilapidated that it couldn’t retain heat. “She was one of those people who always paid her taxes on time, always faithfully making out her little money orders. But she couldn’t afford to repair her house, and everyone around here was just as poor. So I went with her to city agencies trying to get help. They kept sending us from place to place, from department to department. Finally she died of pneumonia. The paramedics said she’d never have died if her house hadn’t been so freezing cold.

“I’d never been so angry in my life,” Virginia recalls. “This woman had done everything she was supposed to, and now she was dead because no one could help her fix her house. Someone said there’s this community organization called COPS, and maybe they could help.”  

Training Tuesday: Learning from Obama for Local Campaigns

originally posted by Will Urquhart at Sum of Change

Today’s Training Tuesday comes to us from the Organizing 2.0 Conference in New York back in December. During lunch, we were joined by Colin Delaney, of e.politics.com. He and Charles Lenchner, of the Working Families Party, held a conversation about how to translate lessons about new media from the Obama campaign to local campaigns.

Training Tuesday: Translating Community Organizing to Online Space

Originally posted by Will Urquhart at Sum of Change

Training Tuesday with #org20: Getting Through the Bureaucracy

originally posted by Will Urquhart at Sum of Change

This week, we have something new for our Training Tuesday series. We still have plenty of videos left to come from Democracy for America’s Campaign Academy, but a couple weekends back, we attended the Organizing 2.0 conference in New York. This conference was a unique opportunity for activists to learn about new media and online organizing from some of the greatest online organizers around.

@Organizing 2.0

originally posted by Will Urquhart at Sum of Change

Last weekend, I attended the Organizing 2.0 conference in New York, put together by Charles Lenchner of the Working Families Party. This conference brought people together to hear from some of the greatest minds in the online organizing world. I came out of it with lots of great footage, and today we are previewing some of it. The majority of the footage, however, will be featured in our Training Tuesday series. So check back Tuesday at 6:00pm for more Organizing 2.0 footage. We are also collecting all our Organizing 2.0 footage onto one page here. But if you are reading this, then you really should find the time to watch these videos.

How Will This Baby Run?

Ok, so NLinStPaul wrote an essay back in October entitled Let’s see how this baby runs … and I recall being struck by the fact Obama has built his own grass roots political machine — one that eventually helped him win the Presidency of the United States.

And today I’m reading Al Giordano’s Daily Kos diary, Bipartisanship Isn’t “Weak” and Partisanship Isn’t “Tough” and I’m bickering with some of the commenters who can’t see the forest for the trees because they got hung up on the title and the first paragraphs about approval ratings and such — bickering because they just plain missed the story, which is this:

More consequentially for the long run, he would have lost the moral authority to do what the next few days will bring: the jump-start of Organizing for America (300 of 3,200 house meetings nationwide begin today), a Monday trip to “fire up” the crowds in Indiana, a Tuesday visit to make public opinion “ready to go” in Florida (and a national media narrative set through both events), all leading up to Tuesday’s Senate vote on the Stimulus Bill and the subsequent House-Senate conference committee machinations. What the Obama camp knows – it proved this time and time again in 2008 – is that to exercise maximum force at the moment of decision means taking care to not peak too soon.

From NL’s essay:

Last Friday, the Washington Post reported on a “pep talk” that Obama gave to about 750 volunteers in Columbus, Ohio.

“We’re coming around the turn,” he said. “America recognizes that at this time in history, with so much at stake, with the economy nose-diving, with two wars and the threat of terrorism, the threat of climate change, we need to do something fundamentally different. And all of you are the shock troops.”

Obama acknowledged that his campaign is trying a new model of organizing volunteers and turning out the vote, and said it is now time “to really make this thing work.”

“We’ve been designing and we’ve been engineering and we’ve been at the drawing board and we’ve been tinkering, and we’ve been — now it’s time to just take it for a drive,” he said. “Let’s see how this baby runs.”

What will be even more exciting than seeing how this baby runs on election day, will be to see how this kind of engagement by so many people in “community organizing” changes things afterwards.

(I’m not sure the LA Times link still works but I put it in anyway).

Today it’s starting, and NL’s question will soon be answered.  Today there are folks all across the country having house parties to help work on the stimulus bill.  This is an entirely new political machine.  Like it or hate it, it’s sure something to watch.

As an aside, I found the website Giordano linked not to be very snazzy for this blogger.  I do think bloggers can help these folks on the tech end (for one thing, I don’t want to click on a state to find out information and find it’s a pdf without warning!).

I have to say, this has me curious.  Very high stakes are being played here.


Throughout this most recent campaign I, like all of you, have been trying to get a handle on just who this man is that we have now elected as our next President. So many of us are projecting our hopes, fears, and cynicism onto who he is and what kind of President he will be, that it often gets confusing.

I continue to have lots of questions that will only be answered in the days to come. But the one thing I feel pretty certain about is that if you look at Obama’s history and how he ran his campaign, this is a man who believes in community organizing. The question is, how will that affect how he governs?

Friday Night at 8: Core

Everybody’s talking about the center and where is the center and who comprises the center and then, of course, if you find yourself not included in this new definition of the center it’s like childhood games of musical chairs that moment everyone else grabbed a seat and you’re standing there, going “huh.”

Last one to the trough is a goober!

And the strange thing is I don’t really even know where the trough is or what’s in it or if I’d even like to partake.  But boy do I feel the vibe urging me onward like a madwoman at a sale at Century 21, the Downtown location, yeah, you know what I’m talking about.

Thing is, whenever  I get this feeling, that vibe pushing me along when I don’t recall asking for the shove, I get suspicious.

I start thinking, “is this some shiny distraction?”

Center.  Bah.