This summer, Organizing Upgrade asked Aarti Shahani to characterize the shifting landscape of immigration reform. This essay came weeks after her ground breaking report on Homeland Security’s infamous 287(g) program, which made national headlines and was entered into the Congressional Record. Aarti considers the limits of the prevailing framework for immigrant rights and points to structural shifts in state and federal policy that cry for new analysis and innovative action.
Willie Baptist was interviewed by John Wessel-McCoy for Organizing Upgrade in June 2009
Any approach to social change, organizing and leadership development has to be based on your assessment of the situation and of the problem. If you have one assessment or one diagnosis, you’re going to have a particular prescription and a particular approach to the solution. Either we’re dealing with a teddy bear or we’re dealing with a grizzly bear, and either estimate will determine your set of tactics, your organizing approach. If you think you’re dealing with a teddy bear and in reality it’s a grizzly bear coming at you, you’re going to be in trouble. So this estimate of the situation is absolutely crucial to the process.
After receiving an incredibly warm welcome, Organizing Upgrade is excited to continue bringing you thoughtful opinions and strategic essays for left organizers. We also want to stir the pot! We want new ideas and new voices to take a stab at the freshest challenges facing our community.
Welcome to Fast Forum, the new addition to Organizing Upgrade. Consider it a “Plenary-to-Go” or, maybe an “Insta-Debate!” Every month, we will pick a hot topic and ask 3 – 6 organizers from across the country to weigh in. They will have about 500 words to make us go “….hmmmmm.” This month, we asked six organizers for their reflections on the question:
What can left organizers learn from the fight over healthcare?
In April 2009, a round-table of organizers – all of whom are engaged in both local organizing and national movement-building efforts – came together to talk about big-picture left strategy at the Left Forum in New York City. They talked about how left organizers and activists need to adapt our work to step up to the demands of our rapidly changing historic moment. This article – composed of the highlights from the roundtable – was originally published in the April / May 2009 issue of Left Turn magazine. You can access more of the discussion through the video and audio links below.
Joseph Phelan of Organizing Upgrade interviewed Bill Fletcher Jr. by phone in early June 2009.
Joseph: Bill, the first thing I want to get to with you is: What do you think are the most significant things happening right now in the world? What are the shifts that left organizers in particular need to be paying attention to?
Bill: We are living through the convergence of three crises: economic, environmental and a crisis of state legitimacy. It is a moment where we’re dealing with more than a recession or even a depression. We’re dealing with these forces that are coming together and opening up tremendous possibilities in terms of the development of a new set of politics and a new political practice. But at the same time, it’s very dangerous and very scary.