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Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Ty dePass

"we" need to stop referring to BO's "humble beginnings as a community organizer."the fact is, he was little more than a glorified (and over paid) outreach worker -- one who mobilizes a specific "target population" considered "eligible" to participate in a specific program or receive a specific service. outreach workers are all about re/distribution, and their jobs last only so long as there is support for that particular program/service. their orientation tends to be pragmatic, short term, and immediate.
on the other hand, organizers are concerned w/ transformation: of individuals, the social systems they are part of, and the social conditions they endure. and while organizers are also concerned w/ matters of resource distribution, their focus is on the long haul, protracted struggle against traditional arrangements of power, wealth, and status.
as i said from the outset, BO was never a community organizer. and i've always suspected that his brief (check it out for yourself) tenure in a grassroots organization was merely to burnish his resume.
mrvr, his uncritical adoption of the DLC's neo-liberal (Third Way) tenet that public policy is best executed by the private (often for-profit) sector betrays his insider's orientation. Third Way advocates are into "tweeking" market forces to produce nominally better public outcomes; grassroots are reduced passive and malleable consumers, denied any meaningful role as primary agents for fundamental change.

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