A Victory for the Poor is Still Possible At Least in British Columbia

New Orleans        There are no good times to be poor, but these are especially hard times given persistent inequality and distorted public policies that throw a couple of nickels towards lower income families while opening the gateway to millions for those with big money.  All of which makes the ACORN victory in what might have seemed […]

King’s Boots and Lewis’ Backpack

Photo with the backpack from

New Orleans      Too often our tactics lose their edge when they devolve into more show than steel, more parade than march, more about the media than the target.  This is constantly an organizer’s dilemma in putting together actions that have to impact various audiences.   Without care and thorough, disciplined […]

Selma for Organizers

New Orleans     The movie, Selma, has attracted some attention and controversy.  There were no nominations for best director or best movie and in fact for the first time in decades all of the Academy Awards were as lily white as the management structures of the big movie studios. Others thought President Lyndon B. Johnson didn’t get a fair shake […]

Mutual Aid for the Rest of Us

A black and white photo taken in 1940 of a Coca Cola employees dinner at the Marti Maceo Club, Ybor City’s Afro-Cuban Mutual Aid Society.

New Orleans       Maybe it’s because it’s the season? Not winter, but the season in the sense that “for every time there is a season,” as the psalm records. In this […]

On-Demand Economy, “Utter Nonsense,” and Unequal Negotiation

New Orleans               When we affiliated with SEIU initially in 1984, the one condition imposed on our local union in New Orleans was that we not organize the city police.  They had had a bad experience with a group they had tried to affiliate then had gone rouge and struck to hold Mardi Gras hostage.  No […]

The Tough Process of Organizational Change

view of the alps from the office in Grenoble

Grenoble     Over the last week from Birmingham to Edinburgh to London and now in Grenoble,  it’s amazing how often conversations and questions focus as much on organizational change as organizing programs and prospects. Talking to Martin Smith, the organizing director for the GMB in London, he […]