Organize!

In our Organize! columns we explore various lessons in organizing strategies and tactics, going beyond the outside story of a campaign to look at how it worked or what lessons it might have to teach us.

Tenant Organizing When Rising Rent Isn’t the (Main) Issue

Tenant organizing has been re-energized in coastal cities where housing costs are soaring. But tenants need a voice in the rest of the country too—and they are organizing to get one.

Gaining Ground by Holding Back

Late last year, St. Louis ACORN members learned that Regional Hospital – the city's only "safety net" hospital that guaranteed care regardless of ability...

Tenant Organizing Wins One-for-One Replacement

In 1996, a small group of highly organized residents of North Beach public housing in San Francisco began to raise questions about the fate...

A Neighborhood in Brooklyn Says “No” to Worker Exploitation

A language barrier, I believe, has muddled my conversation with Nieves Padilla. “We’re fighting to get the workers on Knickerbocker Avenue the minimum wage,”...

New Jersey’s Campaign Against Lead

The effects of lead poisoning on a child’s physical and emotional development and cognitive ability are well known. An investigation that ran two years...
protesters

Fighting Gentrification Through Collective Bargaining

For the past two years, the Crown Heights Tenant Union of Brooklyn has turned collective bargaining strategies on landlords—and policymakers.

Still Riding Route 61

A labor/community partnership stops a fare hike and gives workers a boost

Occupy Makes Space for Community Advocates

By smashing the wall of media silence about America’s wealth and income divide, the Occupy movement has opened a dramatically new terrain for organizations...

A Radically Different Planning Process in Brownsville

In a year-long program that included bike rides, serenades, and Dragtivist performances, an art collective guided Brownsville, Texas, residents in reimagining how they could influence equity and justice in their city.

Don’t Start Small

It’s often said that organizers should begin with easily attainable goals to bolster their group’s confidence. But Caroline Murray, executive director of the Anti-Displacement...

Clearing the Air

The Bronx neighborhood of Hunts Point has one of the highest asthma rates in the world. Home to the world's largest food distribution center,...

Cross-Community Collaboration on NYC’s Municipal ID Program

Lack of identification hurts many different groups in different ways—from the homeless to immigrants, and they all need to be considered in the fight for an alternative.

The Right to Know

 Josefina de la Cruz’s migration history does not stop at her arrival from Mexico in 1972, but continues through five different Chicago neighborhoods, most...

Walking the Walk

In a city full of problems and promise, I'm taking the first steps toward learning up close what community organizing can accomplish.

Organizing to Build a Movement

In December 1994, President Bill Clinton proposed converting public housing and project-based Section 8 into vouchers. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Congressman Rick Lazio...

From Brooklyn to Berlin: Organizing Schoeneweide

The scene looks familiar enough. In a foyer outside an elegant legislative chamber, a group of citizens is pigeonholing their local politicians. A vote...

Thirty-Five Years of Building Citizen Power

The 2008 presidential contest vaulted community organizing into the national limelight, as the McCain campaign sought to cast doubt on the legitimacy of Barack...

Housing Set-Asides: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

In August 2002, Kevin Jackson, director of the Chicago Rehab Network, sent a letter out to network members and supporters to introduce a campaign...

Winning a War, But Losing the Battle

Victory in a tenant organizing campaign is usually defined by improving conditions for the tenants involved – an egregious repair problem is fixed, landlord...

Fighting for Worker's Rights in Maine

Years of alleged wage, immigration, safety, and civil rights violations, environmental sanctions, and other infractions at the DeCoster egg farm in Turner, Maine, have...