Zoe Yuk Lam @ London Citizens
Saul Alinsky’s Community organizing
Community organizing is based on Saul Alinsky’s work in 40’s.His books Reveille for Radicals (1946) and Rules for Radicals (1972) were, and remain, important statements of community organizing. The tactics for radicals mentioned in the Rules for Radicals becomes the important reference in community organizing in UK. Community organizing work in UK is practical but also theoretical. Saul Alinsky was born in 1909. In 1930s, the Great Depression flooded across United States and Europe, the president of US Franklin Delano Roosevelt started “The New Deal” tried to intervene the free market. A lot of people start to expect the Communism could bring them the future, and the Marxist saw the great depression as the eventually failure of capitalism while the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics leaded by Stalin had high promotion of economic growth.
Diaspora People’s Assembly
The end of a year is the assembly’s seasons of CITIZENS UK. Different chapters will hold their delegate assemblies in October and November. The New Citizens Organizing Team (NCOT) had its Diaspora People’s Assembly in the 10th of December. The NCOT is formed a year ago. Organizers in this team are responsible for organizing different ethnicity groups in London. The CUK Diaspora Peoples’ Assembly (DPA) was held on 10 Dec 2011. The aim of holding DPA is to exercise power by bringing together the largest and most diverse peoples’ gathering this year to do public business with power; to build the power of the New Communities Organising Team and diasporic participation in Citizens UK through recruiting powerful new members and to celebrate past achievements like child detention and build momentum for new campaigns.
The assembly was not successful in organizers’ mind. As the ‘Turn Out’ (the amount of people who have presented to the event) was not good, there were only 550people who have attended instead of what organizers aimed at driving 900 people and who agreed to attend the assembly. The logistics during the whole assembly were awful because the video couldn’t be played, one of the co-chairs wasn’t being recognized, and the attendees were very noisy during the assembly.
The tactics for radicals
The bulk of the rest of Rules for Radicals is concerned with tactics, which he sometimes also refers to as the rules of power politics. One of the tactics is A good tactic is one your people enjoy. To review that whole process from preparing the assembly to the end of the assembly, I do not think that the organizers were happy about it. The team had the cabinet meeting about the preparation of the assembly. However, the meetings sometimes were not focusing on the preparation. The position of work also changed two weeks which I know some organizers were overloaded with the positions and some organizers’ work was not being recognized. And many organizers were angry about the preparation.
The ACTION is in REACTION
To review the DPA, the success in the assembly is the REACTION. Every assemblies in CITIZENS UK aims to achieve different politics goals. The power player will be invited in every assembly. The leaders and the power player will have the negotiation during the assemblies. For the Queens Chinese (the BOC, mentioned in the previous work by other volunteer in 2008, 沒有國籍的公民, http://blog.roodo.com/haoran2008/archives/9803515.html), the Senior Responsible Owner replied and agreed to have a meeting with the Queens Chinese to discuss the issue that they are having. Also, the stop and search issue in young people and the minority groups get a good reaction that they are going to have further meeting on the stop and search issue.
The Next step
Evaluation needs to be done every time after our action. The DPA is just like a big action with almost 600 people that we have done on 10th December 2011. Focusing on the feeling of every organizers, NCOT team will have a away day which aim at building a stronger relationship among the team.