Community Labor Intersections in India

Ideas and Issues International Personal Writings

Delhi     The farther away from the source and closer to the ground, perhaps the more people understand our work? At the end of a day of meetings with people who either worked with big NGOs or understood them cold, I started to think perhaps here closer to the heart of the situation people were starting to not just hear us, but get it, so either the heat had disoriented me or we were actually making progress and were moving towards a working theory. Maybe both?

Where we started to get traction in discussion was when people started to understand the uniqueness of our organizing model in terms of its ability to move lower income people in their dual capacities as community residents or slum dwellers and workers, often informal workers at that. There was recognition of gaps among organization involving the urban poor who seemed to call for an ACORN style approach that was both constituency and membership based and led. And, everyone was clear that traditional labor union models were unable to create formations that were rights-based and winning.

I’m not saying that they were standing up and singing the social movement theme songs, but at least today they were humming along with us.

And that made it a better day in Delhi!