Community Organizing Going National?

There are several things that I’ve been noticing out in the community organizing world that I find increasingly intriguing. I first noticed it over the past year with PICO’s push on national health care legislation. Now I am also noticing it on ACORN’s foreclosure campaign. And the Virginia Organizing Project is now also working on national health care access issues.

Now, I realize that a number of groups, particularly ACORN in my experience, have always worked on national issues. But the promotion and visibility of this national level work is unlike anything I have seen in the 13 years I have been moderating the Comm-Org listserv. Is it just me, or is something changing?

Randy Stoecker is a professor of community and environmental sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Center for Community and Economic Development at the University of Wisconsin-Extension. He has worked with and written extensively about community organizing and development groups since the mid-1980s. He moderates COMM-ORG: the Online Conference on Community Organizing and Development at


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