Post a 200 word reply to one of your 3 group members. Make sure to link their summary to a previous reading, and think back to Units Three, Four or Five, that we have covered since the midterm.
six group membersï¼š
This documentary is a good introduction to the work of legendary organizer, Saul Alinsky. “The Democratic Promise” shows how people learned to get together and lobby their government and workplaces to promote their welfare. He was assigned to the Chicago neighborhood known as “Back of the Yards” in 1938 to organize the community on delinquency issues. In 1939, Alinsky organized the “Back of the Yards Council,” a unique community organization built by the use of democratic power with the support of organized labor and the Catholic Church, the two chief power blocs in the Back of the Yards.
In my point of view, I think Alinsky used Coalition Theory to organize the council. Coalition Theory is a political science approach to direct policy change happens through coordinated activity among a range of individuals with the same core policy beliefs. First of all, it had the largest factory in the community to assemble people who are poor or powerless. In the documentary, it described the factory as the dynamic and united drive to deal with the social problem. People working or living there were full of love and respect. No security no down payments. They all hosted the same goal to promote democracy and to prove life conditions. Second, Alinsky took great responsibility to assemble leaders and convenience them to work with the labor union. This accords with another useful method of Coalition which is a sympathetic administration is in office. Alinsky thought participating in politics was the key to obtaining democracy. John in the community had a strong tie with the Catholic Church leader. Therefore, he hosted several meetings with the Church leader and others of Chicago who were willing to labor union.
In conclusion, based on those two points, I believe Alinsky used Coalition to organize the Back of the Yards Council. He provided comfortable working and living conditions to those people so that the whole community was having the same goal. Moreover, he worked several influential leaders in politics to change democracy.
In the mid-1960s, Saul Alinsky helped form an organization (entitled FIGHT) which at a fundamental level believed that corporations had a duty to serve their communities. More specifically, the organization fought for Kodak to provide job training and employment for hundreds of unemployed Black citizens living in Rochester, New York. While the two sides initially came to an agreement, Kodak quickly decided to void it and told protestors at a shareholder meeting that they would not sign a deal. After a few months of protests, growing support from the middle class, and endless press coverage, Kodak was forced to sign an agreement between the two sides for greater employment opportunities. The dispute most obviously backfired in the face of Kodak executives, who had tarnished their reputation and divided the city of Rochester, only to make a deal anyway. The better solution would have been to simply sign an agreement early on, as it would have benefited all parties involved. However, FIGHT saw criticism over the dispute as well. Many felt FIGHT was being too inflammatory and was not focusing on bigger, more important issues, especially considering Kodak had been considered one of the most socially responsible corporations in the city.
Grassroots are sustained by continued popular momentum. If years go by and nothing is achieved, morale issues start to arise and the movementâ€™s stability is threatened. If the group finds success, its leaders might than use the power they wield to enhance their own standings and pivot to other positions and causes. From these observations, Saul Alinsky saw only a five-year lifespan for many relevant grassroot movements.
However, I propose the model has changed, not just because of new forms of organization, but by the ways the problems themselves are presented. When looking at some of the biggest grassroots movements, I see the Parkland student survivors and the climate change school walkouts that occurred all across Europe. Both of these problems will require consistent pressure for change on the power brokers of our society in order to succeed, especially the latter. Due to the long-term nature of these problems, it has in turn inspired long-term solutions. Rather than just pushing for politicians to vote yes on environmental bills, grassroots organizations are looking towards the future and switching their activism around by instead getting pro-environment candidates into office via primaries. This is a move that has shown to be effective in the past in the case of birth controls rights and Emilyâ€™s List.
previous reading for Units Three, Four or Five