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Front Page » Table of Contents » Community Organizing

By Diane Wahto on June 14, 2011

In the 1960s, during the heat of the civil rights, student rights and anti-war movements, women, both black and white, found themselves relegated to the domestic side of leftist activism. Much to the surprise and disgust of leftist activist women, left-wing males let movement women know that their role was to cook, clean, make the coffee, and make themselves available for sex whenever the men wanted it. Author Gail Collins covers this issue in her book, When Everything Changed, an overview of the women’s movement during the last fifty years.

Not every man treated every woman as a subservient being, but the treatment was widespread enough that many women finally decided to form their own movement groups, giving birth to the Second Wave of the women’s liberation movement.

Read more of this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on March 27, 2011

I've never read Charles Dickens. I was never assigned to read any of his books during high school or college. I've watched various Christmas Carol movies, but had not really watched any other versions of a Charles Dickens book. A few months ago my wife and I watched an old 1930s version of A Tale of Two Cities with Ronald Colman and we both loved it.

Soon after I then read an essay by George Orwell that talked about how subversive a writer Dickens was and how his stories attacked most of English institutions for their apathy towards the poor. It turns out that many radicals and social activists have been influenced by the books of Charles Dickens for his sympathy for the poor and for his critique of the British capitalist system.

Read more of this post here ...

By John Atlas on January 19, 2011

After the horrible Tucson shooting, John McCain and even Roger Ailes, the Fox News president, joined President Obama's call for a more civil discourse. Ailes told his anchors and reporters to “tone it down.” McCain agreed with the President’s call for “… every American who participates in our political debates… to aspire to a more generous appreciation of one another and a more modest one of ourselves.”

But if the recent history of ACORN is a guide to the future, Obama’s attempt to jolt the nation into civility, something we desperately need, will fail. And unless Obama fights to protect his base from the upcoming attacks by the Right, he will undermine our chance for a resurgent movement based on respect, equality and democracy.

Imagine how Rush Limbaugh and the Fox News commentators from Sarah Palin to Glen Beck would have responded to the Tucson violence if we discovered the gunman had some connection to ACORN, the group demonized by conservatives as a dangerous, even criminal organization.

Would they have pushed their current talking points about the assassin being a lone wolf, a paranoid schizophrenic completely unaffected by the political rhetoric of the left?

Read more of this post here ...

By John Atlas on October 26, 2010

A raging debate has ensued around whether NPR correctly fired Juan Williams because his remarks were inconsistent with editorial. Some say Williams undermined his credibility as a news analyst. Others accuse NPR of bungling its response and stifling free speech. What’s been missing in the debate over his firing is this.

Immediately after National Public Radio fired Williams because of his remarks about Muslims, Fox Cable’s Bill O’Reilly said, “This is like the ACORN deal — no more money to NPR. NPR has now devolved into a totalitarian outfit functioning as an arm of the far left.”

The Republican leadership and the right wing echo chamber followed O’Reilly’s call for the federal defunding of National Public Radio. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., announced plans to introduce legislation to strip federal funds from NPR because it fired Williams. According to DeMint, NPR received $4 billion in federal money since 2001 and will get $430 million in the 2011. Republican Minority Whip Eric Cantor and nearly every Republican running for office this year promised to seek an end to taxpayer subsidies for NPR and public television.

Read more of this post here ...

By John Atlas on September 30, 2010

James O’Keefe, the conservative activist known for manipulating the mainstream media by making undercover videos that helped destroy the progressive community group ACORN, plotted to humiliate CNN and its investigative journalist Abby Boudreau.

He planned to record a meeting using hidden cameras aboard a floating "palace of pleasure" where he would seduce Boudreau and make sexually suggestive comments, according to CNN.

O’Keefe, a convicted federal criminal, tried to lure Boudreau onto a boat filled with sexually explicit props and then record the sessions. CNN documents and interviews yesterday suggest that O'Keefe had secretly, and illegally, taped phone calls he had with Boudreau.

Read more of this post here ...

By John Atlas on August 30, 2010

A week after Katrina hit New Orleans, Federal Government officials and private relief organizations were still discussing how to send aid to the area. ACORN, which had been organizing low-income and working class residents in the city since the 1978, had already moved into action.

Banks were giving their middle-class, mostly white customers ninety days or more to make their payments, but borrowers who had subprime, high-interest loans (like many black homeowners in the Lower Ninth Ward) were given only one month. Three weeks after the storm devastated the city, ACORN released a report, "How the sub prime mortgage industry is sandbagging Katrina-affected homeowners," to expose the industry's double standard. After the media publicized the report, ACORN—along with labor unions and consumer groups—demanded meetings with the banks and sub prime lenders and successfully negotiated plans to prevent foreclosures for dozens of homeowners.

Read more of this post here ...

By Janet Morrison on August 3, 2010

For the last year, we have partnered with The Gleaning Network of Texas to create an After-School Academy Learning Garden.

We started the garden after receiving approval from the Dallas Housing Authority to use a fenced in plot of land behind the After-School Academy. We were given approval in June of last year.

If you know anything about Texas soil, you know June is not the smartest month to start a garden. But, with the perseverance of Susie Marshall, Executive Director of The Gleaning Network, the garden was under way.

It has taken some time for the kids to get used to the garden. But they have taken ownership of the garden and often beg to go water, dig, look at the worms, or "cook" the compost.

Read more of this post here ...

By John Atlas on June 15, 2010

On Monday, June 14, a preliminary probe by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) of ACORN has found no evidence the association or related organizations mishandled the $40 million in federal money they received in recent years.

A review of grants by nine federal agencies found no problems with ACORN's grants. In my new book, Seeds of Change: The Story of ACORN, America's Most Controversial Antipoverty Community Organizing Group, I document how ACORN, the largest most successful national anti poverty organization in America, was forced to close its door.

The GAO, an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress, is often called the "congressional watchdog." It investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars.

Read more of this post here ...

By John Atlas on May 27, 2010

What's the difference between James O'Keefe, who made national headlines with his ACORN undercover video, and ACORN? O'Keefe is a criminal and ACORN is not. Yesterday O'Keefe pleaded guilty to charges of entering federal property under false pretenses when he attempted to embarrass Senator Mary Landrieu because of her support for the health care legislation. O'Keefe, along with three co-defendants, said their goal was to show that the Senator's office phones were working, yet people opposed to health care reform could not get through to register their opinions. He was sentenced to three years probation, 100 hours of community service, and a $1,500 fine.

Despite numerous official investigations and innuendos by the extremists, like Republicans Rep. Darrell Issa (CA), the Ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, ACORN has never been convicted of a crime. Issa released a report in 2009 falsely accusing ACORN of hiding "behind a paper wall of nonprofit corporate protections to conceal a criminal conspiracy ... to manipulate the American electorate."

Read more of this post here ...

By Janet Morrison on May 23, 2010

Charlie Mae Ransom was diagnosed with cancer in 2006. I remember the heavy hearts we all had when we heard the news. The doctor had given her only months to live.

We should've known better.

Ms. Ransom never was one to simply accept news. She was a fighter. She defied the doctors. Up until a few months ago, she might get tired a little quicker, but she never let it show.

She was tough and she spoke her mind. She demanded respect for herself and the community around her. When something wasn't getting taken care of, she made phone calls and went up the chain of command until she found the right person to take care of the issue. Her persistence gained her respect and reverence so that if Ms. Ransom called, you answered and you did whatever she asked...and if something new was going on in the community, you made sure Ms. Ransom knew and approved.

Read more of this post here ...

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