Friday, September 05, 2008

Mark Hemingway on Community Organizing on National Review Online

Mark Hemingway on Community Organizing on National Review Online: "Obama spent three years in housing projects in Chicago and — according to his book, Dreams of My Father — even he couldn’t explain what he was doing. “When classmates in college asked me just what it was that a community organizer did, I couldn’t answer them directly,” Obama wrote. Indeed, who could say what a community organizer does?"
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Sarah Palin's devastating comment that a small town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except with actual responsibilities, has caused the Obama campaign to squirt blood from its collective ears in rage. But I think she has a point. If you have a mayor and city council who listen to your problems, why would you need a community organizer? The fact is, these folks are essentially trying to duplicate the roles of elected officials and in most cases undermine them.

I have met many community organizers over the years and I know what they do. They are overwhelmingly socialists or at least far to the left. Their activities are mainly of the "politics of protest" variety. Read the bible of their icon, Saul Alinsky, who wrote "Rules for Radicals." Their work mainly consists of trying to get ordinary people angry at the government and business institutions in their neighborhoods, and using that manufactured discontent to disrupt those institutions enough to force concessions from them. Those victories give the community organizers credibility that they try to leverage into a permanent power base. Community organizers also get involved in local politics. Some community organizers use their power base to run for elective office themselves. Give me a minute and I'll think of an example...

1 comment:

Beth said...

I think this question in your post is the key:

"If you have a mayor and city council who listen to your problems, why would you need a community organizer?"

IF your mayor/city council are aware of & listen to your problems, you're probably right. IF they are not, a community organizer could help you make them so.

Perhaps some community organizers are the venal proto-politicians you describe, but surely it's as possible to have noble aspirations in this field as in any other (law comes to mind).