Monday, September 29, 2008

In defense of community organizers

At the Republican Convention in St. Paul, former New York Gov. George Pataki sneered, "[Obama] was a community organizer. What in God's name is a community organizer? I don't even know if that's a job."

Huff’s Peter Drier:

The following Sunday (September 14), on "Meet the Press," Giuliani added to the attack by claiming -- wrongly -- that "the group that recruited [Obama] was a Saul Alinsky group that has all kinds of questions with regard to their outlook on the economy, their outlook on capitalism." Giuliani, utilizing what used to be called "red-baiting" tactics in the McCarthy era, then tried to link Obama to what he called "a very core Saul Alinsky kind of almost socialist notion that [government] should be used for redistribution of wealth."

It was here in Chicago that community organizing was invented a century ago. Our Small Schools Workshop and many other CBOs drew inspiration from Jane Addams’ Hull House which inspired the Settlement House Movement in the 1880s.

More Drier:

The Republicans had expected that their orchestrated attack on Barack Obama's community organizing efforts in Chicago would link the Democratic candidate in Americans' minds with inner cities, the poor, racial minorities, troublemakers and radicals. But the Republicans' nasty remarks only triggered a blizzard of newspaper articles and editorials, radio talk show discussions, emails and blogosphere commentary.

After the debate

Community organizer, Marian Wright Edelman, President of the Children's Defense Fund:

Since 2001, we have spent hundreds of billions on two wars, and that doesn't even take into account anticipated further spending requests throughout the next few years to sustain these wars. Yet tonight, Senator McCain called for a federal budget freeze that would literally leave millions of children and families out in the cold.

Cleve Sellers

Speaking of community organizers, one of my heroes from the ‘60s Civil Rights Movement was Cleve Sellers from SNCC. Cleve (I guess he's Dr. Sellers now) is the new president of Voorhees College in Denmark, South Carolina. Here’s part 4 of a series, including a great slide show, on Cleveland Sellers in the Charleston Post & Courier.


Laura Linney, accepting her Best Actress award for her role in the HBO biopic "John Adams," said that the miniseries made her "so grateful and thankful for the community organizers that helped form our country."

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