More on Poverty: The Myth of Saul Alinsky

More on Poverty: The Myth of Saul Alinsky

It is most fascinating that Saul Alinskys approach to community organizing is commonly regarded as a radical one and that a number of people with progressive and radical leanings are so strongly attracted to it. However, the Alinsky model neither implies a radical view of society nor calls for radical social change. What, then, are its essential ingredients of social action?

The major goal is to build a powerful neighborhood organization. This organization is to include all elements in the community—the people, the clergy, businessmens groups, PTAs, service groups, block groups, the poor. Essentially, it is to be a local united front, an organization of organizations, and, like a labor union, it attempts to maintain its status as the sole bargaining agent in the area. The local organization involves at most 2 per cent of the people in the community; its purpose is to shift power to itself by taking it away from the existing local groups that are most vulnerable.

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