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.

Park 1 – Stadium 0: The People Win!

In April 1996 residents of Newark's Ironbound neighborhood – an old industrial area now home to a thriving immigrant population – read in a...
A "Rent is too high" flyer in South Minneapolis.

Minneapolis, St. Paul Voters Say ‘Yes’ to Rent Stabilization

Despite an all-out effort by the housing industry to stop them, two rent stabilization initiatives were given the green light following this month’s vote.
An orange tinted bridge over water in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

A Battle for Wards in New Jersey’s Hub City

How an organization of residents crossing age, race, and socioeconomic lines took on an unyielding City Hall known for quelling grass-roots efforts and (almost) overtook the political party machinery.

Helping the Mayor Get Your Way

“We need more buses!” That’s what organizers with Miami’s congregation-based organizing group PACT (People Acting for Community Together) heard loud and clear as they...

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...

Bringing Down the Barriers to Enrollment in Federal Programs

Constance Etheridge went to the Department of Social Services office in South Carolina for a simple reason: she and her children were hungry and...
Chris Wilder, Valley Medical Center Foundation CEO, holds a sign that reads "Yes on A: Affordable Housing. Everyone should have the opportunity to live in a safe, healthy, affordable home." The initiative tied health and housing funding for county residents.

Housing Is Health: Ballot Initiatives in California Approved

A conversation with three county supervisors who were instrumental in moving affordable housing ballot measures forward in the California Bay Area by bringing in the health factor.

Still Riding Route 61

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

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,”...

Alameda Corridor Jobs Coalition Wins Railroad Jobs

In 1997, residents of Los Angeles area neighborhoods in the path of what will be the largest public/private rail transportation project in the country...

Philly’s 1970s Fight to Revive Rent Control

As rent control reemerges as a strategy to address an intense housing crisis, we go back 50 years to examine the lessons learned from past struggles in Philadelphia.

A Surprising Victory

When business leaders in St. Louis withdrew financial support for a campaign to pass a badly needed transit tax, it was a blessing in disguise.

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...

Building A Power Base

The first and most important battle organizers face is working with members to build an independent power base. Building an organization, and forcing a...

Homeownership Counselors—And Organizers, Too!

Northwest Side Housing Center combines counseling and organizing to empower homeowners facing foreclosure.

Persistence Pays

Employees of Erickson Cosmetics Company (makers of Banana Boat lotion) only wanted what they had earned. Especially workers like Juana Vasquez who worked at...
Three Minneapolis residents chat while sitting at a table outdoors.

Artists as Organizers

Creative placemaking means more than merely adding public art into the mix. To be sustainable it needs to build relationships—and power.

Thirsty for Justice

Some 200 miles from the Mexican border, residents of New Mexico’s 23-year-old Pajarito Mesa community pay taxes but lack essential services like roads, electricity...

In Red State Florida, Victory for Working People

While 52 percent of Floridians voted for George Bush in the November election, 72 percent backed a Bush-unfriendly ballot initiative: a constitutional amendment raising...

Divide and Conquer

In its one and a half years, the New York City Coalition for the Preservation of Gardens (known as the Garden Coalition) has worked...