It's easy to belittle Barack Obama for being a community organizer, but he's the one who got the last laugh on November 6, 2012. Community organizing is key to not only winning a campaign but changing a country, which is exactly what the Obama's plan to do moving forward. Today Michelle Obama helped launch President Obama's "Organizing for Action," a massive community organizing project geared towards pushing through Obama's second term agenda and changing how voters think about issues for the long term.
"Say you're in for the next phase of this grassroots movement."
An email from President Obama was sent to supporters today urging people to get involved.
Today, a new grassroots organization is being launched: Organizing for Action.
Following in the footsteps of the campaign you built, Organizing for Action will be an unparalleled force in American politics. It will work to turn our shared values into legislative action -- and it'll empower the next generation of leaders in our movement.
We may have started this as a long shot presidential primary campaign in 2007, but it's always been about more than just winning an election. Together, we've made our communities stronger, we've fought for historic legislation, and we've brought more people than ever before into the political process.
We have the power to do even more to change our politics and our country for the better. With Organizing for Action, you'll have every resource you need to do it.
But it starts with you. This new organization is in your hands.
I'm so excited to see what you all do next -- and so grateful to be part of it.
The connections between Barack Obama and the methods of Saul Alinsky are clear and well established. The two men never met, of course, but when he arrived in Chicago Obama was trained as a community organizer by people like Michael Kruglik--one of the key figures in Spreading The Wealth--whose online bio says:
(Micheal Kruglik) has been developing grass-roots citizens’ power organizations since 1973 with the (Alinsky founded) Industrial Areas Foundation, the Gamaliel Foundation and Building One America.
From 1984 to 1998, (Kruglik) was co-director of the Calumet Community Religious Conference, the community organization that recruited and hired Barack Obama as a community organizer. Mr. Kruglik’s role as Barack Obama’s mentor has been chronicled in a number of works of history and periodicals.
What did Obama learn from Alinsky? The New Republic said:
The first and most fundamental lesson Obama learned was to reassess his understanding of power. (Another Obama mentor) says that, when Alinsky would ask new students why they wanted to organize, they would invariably respond with selfless bromides about wanting to help others. Alinsky would then scream back at them that there was a one-word answer: "You want to organize for power!"
Obama so mastered the workshops on power that he later taught them himself. On his (2007) campaign website, one can find a photo of Obama in a classroom teaching students Alinskian methods. He stands in front of a blackboard on which he has written, "Power Analysis" and "Relationships Built on Self Interest," an idea illustrated by a diagram of the flow of money from corporations to the mayor.
Both Obama and Alinsky are flinty nihilist power-mongers at heart, but they grasp the power in portraying themselves as moral figures. Alinsky understood the power of image and realized that by occasionally proclaiming the ethical high ground, he’d be given a free pass by a media eager to attack the free market and embrace central planning.
Conservatives have a lot of work to do and no, Mitt Romney's disasterous and suicidal ORCA campaign software doesn't count as community organizing.