[Springboard] Alinsky & Freire and ICA's approach

R Williams rcwmbw at yahoo.com
Tue Jan 11 10:28:02 CST 2011

There are those who will be able to address your questions much more directly than I, but here's one strand you might pursue.  If you Google "Industrial Areas Foundation" (IAF) and go to the Wikipedia page you will find reference to Ernesto Cortes, Jr. as the Alinski protege who took Alinsky's approach from the 1940s and in San Antonio, TX made it a congregation-based process.
Ernesto (Ernie) Cortes went to RS-1 in the late 60s or early 70s and at one time was a part of the San Antonio cadre.  When I was in the Houston house I remember him from various meetings in San Antonio.  If you could find a way to get in touch with him you might get some answers to your question as far as Alinsky is concerned.  I expect what he may be able to share with you ways in which EI/RS-1, etc. influenced his work in deciding to be congregation-based as well as that of IAF in general.
As for Freire, his book Education for Critical Consciousness must have had an influence in our development of imaginal education, not just the course but the process used in our whole educational approach, although we referred more to Kenneth Boulding and The Image.  His later book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, although I believe not published at the time, is consistent with, but in some ways clearer than, his earlier book.

--- On Tue, 1/11/11, Martin Gilbraith (ICA:UK) <martin at ica-uk.org.uk> wrote:

From: Martin Gilbraith (ICA:UK) <martin at ica-uk.org.uk>
Subject: [Springboard] Alinsky & Freire and ICA's approach
To: Dialogue at wedgeblade.net, "Springboard Dialogue" <springboard at wedgeblade.net>
Date: Tuesday, January 11, 2011, 9:46 AM

Hi everyone, I am hoping that colleagues with longer memories might be able to help me with some history please...

The 'big idea' of the UK's new coalition government is Big Society - variously, applauded as empowering the people, and/or derided as a cynical cover for devastating public spending cuts - see http://www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/policy-campaigns-research/big-society/big-society

A major initiative within this agenda is a forthcoming Government-funded programme to train and support a cadre of 5,000 Community Organisers, explicitly based on the principles of Saul Alinsky and Paulo Friere - see http://www.urbanforum.org.uk/briefings/community-organisers-briefing

I beleive that Friere was an influence on the early development of EI/ICA's methods and approach, and I understand that Alinsky was developing Community Organising in Chicago around the same time as EI/ICA was in Fifth City.  

What I would really like to learn more about is to what extent and how did Friere and/or Alinsky influence the develpment of EI/ICA and our methods and approach; and to what extent and how might our methods and approach have influenced the development of Community Organising?

My partner Derek put this same question, more or less, to George Packard several years ago when he was here in the UK just after Derek had taken a course in Faith-based Community Organising through his local Unitarian church - but I don't much remember what he said, and I'd love to have any more specific recollections and (better still) any documents that might be relevant.

I am hoping this might inform how we seek to position ICA:UK in relation to this emerging new agenda, and that I might draft an article (for ICA:UK Network News if not also elsewhere) based on what I receive.

many thanks for any recollections or insights you can offer, best wishes,


Martin Gilbraith <martin at ica-uk.org.uk>
connect with me at http://uk.linkedin.com/in/martingilbraith 
Chief Executive, ICA:UK
registered charity #1090745 & company limited by guarantee #3970365
registered in England & Wales, at 41 Old Birley Street, Manchester M15 5RF
tel/fax: 0845 450 0305 or 0161 232 8444 - www.ica-uk.org.uk
The Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) - a global network of autonomous not-for-profit organisations in 30 countries
"concerned with  the  human  factor  in  world development"
IAF Certified Professional Facilitator & Chair
The International Association of Facilitators – www.iaf-world.org
-----Inline Attachment Follows-----

Springboard mailing list
Springboard at wedgeblade.net

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://wedgeblade.net/pipermail/springboard_wedgeblade.net/attachments/20110111/6da8c3cd/attachment.html>

More information about the Springboard mailing list