Monday, September 8, 2008

Community Organizers Strike Back

The jibes at community organizers at last week's Republican convention really struck a nerve. Already two groups have stood up to fight for the dignity of those put-upon souls.

The National Association of Social Workers was outraged to hear Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, one of the nation’s vice-presidential candidates, malign in a live international broadcast the work of community organizers.

Outraged is right, and they want you to read all about it: Social Workers Respond to Gov. Sarah Palin’s Attack on Community Organizers. According to the NASW, we owe our very democracy, our economic growth, and even our health and family services to community organizers. God bless them all, and I'm sure they could use some of your spare change.

And if the social workers are outraged, then the organized community organizers [I can find no other way to describe them] at Community Organizers Fight Back are angry and demanding an apology.

Community organizers across America, taken aback by a series of attacks from Republican leaders at the GOP convention in St. Paul, came together today to defend their work organizing Americans who have been left behind by unemployment, lack of health insurance and the national housing crisis. The organizers demanded an apology from Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for her statement that community organizers have no “actual responsibilities” and launched a web site,, to defend themselves against Republican attacks.

Once again, I'm left perplexed when community organizers explain what they do, exactly:

Though many people are unfamiliar with community organizing, the job is both straightforward and vital: community organizers work with families who are struggling–because of low wages, poor health coverage, unaffordable housing, and other community problems–so that collectively, they can fix those problems and make government respond to their day-to-day concerns.

So, 'working with' these Dickensian families apparently consists of telling them to collectively fix their own problems by demanding that the government do something about them. Is that it? Everything I know about life tells me that if you expect the government to fix your problems for you, it will result in nothing but steady employment for more community organizers, generation after generation.

No comments: