Monday, July 19, 2010

On organization-building

Following up on yesterday's post on the need to develop the reach of Canadian progressives, Murray Dobbin adds another item to the to-do list in the form of organization-building:
I often say to people that the left – whatever that is these days – has to offer people hope, not despair, if we are to motivate and engage people in social change action. And yet I still feel like an expert at telling people how bad things are – alerting people to outrages they may not have noticed, predicting economic Armageddon, warning of what Stephen Harper has in mind for the country.
Right now I have to say that there are few organizations in Canada – social, political, environmental, cultural – that demonstrate an awareness of the incredible urgency for action on all these fronts. I may be suffering from some sort of apocalypse syndrome but I find it distressing that the day to day world of social justice politics has not changed even though the situation has altered fundamentally.
Without organizations committed to challenging these enormously powerful forces we are certain to suffer huge setbacks before cultural change begins to reflect itself in the political and economic world.

Does that mean completely new organizations? A huge change in the ones that already exist? Is the answer coalitions of groups that can together come to grips with the fight that is ahead of us? A concerted effort to transform the NDP into a real party of change?
Not surprisingly, I'll have my own thoughts to add on the matter. But I'd think it's worth giving Dobbin's questions some time to simmer first - as well as wondering if there are any essential elements of a strong progressive movement missing from his list.

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