[Springboard] [Dialogue] Alinsky & Freire and ICA's approach

Len Hockley lenh at efn.org
Wed Jan 12 16:35:35 CST 2011

There is also a great story (true or not) about Alinsky and King meeting 
in O'Hare airport just before the housing march.

It seems King was carrying on about how his movement was so "grassroots 
and unstructured" and Alinsky comes back and says "The only movement 
without structure is cow shit."


On 1/12/2011 11:13 AM, Bill Schlesinger wrote:
> The primary difference between our approach and Alinsky's (who did not 
> lecture in any early Academy I remember in the 60's) was 
> methodological, not an establishment/disestablishment orientation. 
>  Alinsky's approach depended on a responsive establishment that would 
> not simply shoot organizers.  It relied -- as did Ghandi's and Dr. 
> Martin Luther King, Jr.'s approaches -- on the moral values perceived 
> by the establishment system.  'Rub raw the sores of discontent' was 
> intended to energize marginalized communities to a level of 
> dissatisfaction with the 'status quo' that would then provide the 
> emotional strength to make specific demands of the ruling elite, and 
> to expose contradictions of normative value within the ruling elite in 
> order to create open dissension and a change of practice in that 
> elite.  That was a basic strategy of the Civil Rights movement.
> Our approach -- 'locality development' in social service literature -- 
> was more focused on organizing available resources within the 
> marginalized community ('Every local community can feed itself') and 
> creating a partnership with identified elements in the wider society. 
>  The intent was to develop an approach that did not rely on a specific 
> response from the governing elite ('OK, OK, we'll put a stop sign on 
> the corner').
> Bill Schlesinger
> Project Vida
> 3607 Rivera Avenue
> El Paso, TX 79905
> (915) 533-7057 x 207
> (915) 533-7158 FAX
> pvida at whc.net <mailto:pvida at whc.net>
> www.projectvidaelpaso.org
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *From:* dialogue-bounces at wedgeblade.net 
> [mailto:dialogue-bounces at wedgeblade.net] *On Behalf Of *Len Hockley
> *Sent:* Wednesday, January 12, 2011 11:43 AM
> *To:* Colleague Dialogue
> *Cc:* Springboard Dialogue
> *Subject:* Re: [Dialogue] [Springboard] Alinsky & Freire and ICA's 
> approach
> For what it is worth, it has been noted that Alinski was a lecturer a 
> one of the early Academys.  Also, he did early work in Detroit where 
> we had his people come and talk with us.  As I remember it he was a 
> bit too disestablishment for the likes of us.
> I looked up the IAF in Portland (OR) within the last 15yrs were they 
> were still active in parishes.
> Len
> On 1/11/2011 8:28 AM, R Williams wrote:
> Martin,
> 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.
> Randy
> --- On *Tue, 1/11/11, Martin Gilbraith (ICA:UK) 
> /<martin at ica-uk.org.uk> <mailto:martin at ica-uk.org.uk>/* wrote:
>     From: Martin Gilbraith (ICA:UK) <martin at ica-uk.org.uk>
>     <mailto:martin at ica-uk.org.uk>
>     Subject: [Springboard] Alinsky & Freire and ICA's approach
>     To: Dialogue at wedgeblade.net <mailto:Dialogue at wedgeblade.net>,
>     "Springboard Dialogue" <springboard at wedgeblade.net>
>     <mailto: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
>     -- 
>     *Martin Gilbraith* <martin at ica-uk.org.uk
>     <http://us.mc593.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=martin@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
>     <http://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 <http://www.iaf-world.org/>_
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