Organizers Burden

P1010029 (1)Bangkok The Organizers’ Forum delegation had two great meetings with organizers and the job before them was stunning and prodigious.  We had the opportunity to meet for several hours with five union organizers working to organize industrial plants along the eastern shore of Thailand.  We also got lucky and our trip coincided with a training session for young organizers from Korea, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Cambodia, and the Philippines where we were able to spend several hours sharing discussions about the state of community organizations.  These were gifts!

The union organizers meet once a month to discuss their work.  Rudy Porter of the Labor Solidarity Center estimated for us that these five in the last decade had probably organized 100,000 workers with 9600 being last year where they were keeping the pace.  This is all the more remarkable since that level of production represents 20% of the total union membership in Thailand!

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Four Regions Slum Network

P1010048Bangkok The Organizers’ Forum delegation forged out to see various slums along the river and canal courses of Bangkok and the dense acres near the city center, so we were prepared by the time we sat down for several hours with leaders and organizers of the Four Regions Slums Network as they came back to the Human Settlement Foundation compound after a march of 2000 people on Government House.  Despite being caught in pouring rain, they were in good spirits as the truck was off loaded with the flags and banners of the day.

The organization had formed about 10 years ago and amalgamated eight different networks of slums of various shapes and sizes from small 50 to 100 family squats along the canals to stilted and braced shacks of thousands.  The structure was complicated with FRSN more the action arm of the residents and other entities more likely to be able to get support from donors and supporters, even surprisingly the government.  The handles for legalization were tenuous still and the demands seem to be tactically designed to break the stalemate, either moving from the 30 year rental situation enjoyed by many of the slums to a collective title, or an affirmative relocation and support program that made a difference.   The march today was part of a regular diet of mobilizations designed to keep the issue moving forward and was met with more promise from assistants to the Commissioner of coming responses in the near future.

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