THE POPULAR EDUCATION NEWS
Connecting popular and community-based educators and activists to resources for improving educational work in social movements against oppression and for democracy, sustainability, social justice, and peace.

A monthly newsletter about popular education/community organizing resources for facilitators and practitioners: Many of the materials reviewed or listed in the newsletter are part of the collection in the Penny Lernoux Memorial Library at the Resource Center of the Americas, 3019 Minnehaha Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55406.

NO. 30 September 2005                              THIS MONTH'S THEME: COMMUNITY ORGANIZING 3

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. THE 1st UNITED STATES SOCIAL FORUM (USSF) ATLANTA, GA SUMMER OF 2006
2. REVIEW OF THE MONTH
3. COMM-ORG: THE ONLINE CONFERENCE
4. WHERE POPULAR EDUCATORS WILL GATHER
5. LINKS TO POPULAR EDUCATION WEB SITES AND ONLINE BOOKSTORES
6. “WHAT IS POPULAR EDUCATION?” DEFINITION OF THE MONTH
7. A POPULAR EDUCATION HANDOUT

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1. THE FIRST UNITED STATES SOCIAL FORUM (USSF) ATLANTA, GA SUMMER OF 2006

For Information see www.ussocialforum.org or contact United States Social Forum, 211 10th St. SW, Albuquerque, NM 87102 Tel: 505-247-8832

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2. REVIEW OF THE MONTH

 

Stir It Up: Lessons in Community Organizing and Advocacy by Rinku Sen. Jossey-Bass, 2003, 211 pages.

While visiting the Highlander Center in Tennessee and perusing their re-organized bookstore last spring this book nearly leapt off the shelf. It is good advice to organizers and activists to “Stir It Up.” The idea of “stirring it up” resonates with what we need. The book lives up to its sub-title with “lessons.” It is now part of our collection of popular education and community organizing books at the Resource Center of the Americas.

In the preface to this book the author argues, first, that "today's social, political, and economic context, characterized by global capitalism, a resurgent conservative movement, and the continued role of racism and sexism in world society, requires a deeper strategic capacity than most organizations have today;" and, second, that "although organizing among the people suffering from these systems is more important than ever, the range of political skills required of us goes far beyond recruiting members and planning creative actions." Thus, she highlights the need for movement leaders and community organizers to be clear about the problems they will be facing, know and utilize solid evidence to support their cause, and recognize and feel comfortable with the dominant importance of media outreach. The book is written for people who are thinking about or who are already involved in organizing.

One of the strengths of the book is the author’s use of “Illustrations” drawn as core examples from 14 community organizations that were all Ms. Foundation for Women economic justice grantees. (The Ms. Foundation funded the author to carry out the research and write this book.) The stories and experiences from these groups illustrate and greatly enrich the presentation. The author also provides what she calls “Exercises and Exhibits,” many of them worksheets, that will help the reader carry out the processes for improving organizing that are advocated.

The body of the book is composed of nine chapters. They are: 1. New Realities, Integrated Strategies, 2. Organizing New Constituencies, 3. Picking the Good Fight, 4. Ready, Set, Action!, 5. Leading the Way, 6. Take Back the Facts, 7. United We Stand, 8. Speaking the Truth to Power, and 9. Education for Engagement. The end of the book contains resources, references, and an index.

The book is about community organizing, but also about many issues that popular educators care about and the “Illustrations” describe many activities that would be part of a popular educator’s repertoire. Sen may not agree with the definition of popular education in this months “Definition of the Month” found below – her understandings of the theory and practice of popular education seem much narrower than the one who wrote that definition, or than mine. She does provide a short definition and discussion of popular education midway through the book – relying on a short description of the ideas of Paulo Freire, and makes some references to popular education in her call for political education in the final chapter. It does not, however, draw on the wide variety of practical materials that might, for example, help carry out the kind of political education called for. Not to belabor the point but a few resources like Educating for Change, Counting Our Victories: Popular Education and Community Organizing, Naming the Moment, Starting With Women’s Lives, and the popular education workbooks from Project South need to be on the shelf along side of this book.

At this time in history community organizers have come to know that somehow popular education is important for their work; it has become almost mandatory for community organizers to mention popular education when describing their work. Often there is a mention, an acknowledgement, but not much sense of the deep connections or understandings. There is a rich literature of popular education theory and practice, but it is not in the bibliography of this book.

Sen is right about the need for the long haul and movement building. Popular education can help; using it can give participants voice, build relationships, develop sustainable meeting and decision-making processes, expand social and political analysis, and more, much more. It has been exciting for me, an old popular education advocate, to see more and more community organizers interested in popular education. I think all activists and community organizers should pay attention.

In summing up what she learned in the short “Conclusion” Sen suggests two things that activists can do to be the most successful: pay attention and take action. Sound advice. I would suggest a corollary to the first: listen – you can’t pay attention if you are talking. Review by Larry Olds with assistance from Jessica Bullen, Popular Education News intern

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3. COMM-ORG : THE ONLINE CONFERENCE ON COMMUNITY ORGANIZING AND DEVELOPMENT

An extensive list of Community Organizing Training Materials and Online Manuals can be found on the web site http://comm-org.wisc.edu/train.htm

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4.
ADDITIONS TO WHERE POPULAR EDUCATORS WILL GATHER

Sept 4, 2005 Highlander Center Homecoming Festival 2- 9 p.m. hrec@highlandercenter.org

September 17-18, 2005 Project South Building A Movement - BAM Workshops & Retreat, Atlanta (Project South facilitates BAMs to examine the current movement, to practice popular education as an organizing strategy, and to give you the skills to create specific educational tools for your ongoing work. BAMs create that essential space to raise consciousness, generate vision, and build more effective strategies.) Register online email stephanie@projectsouth.org

Sept 21, 2005 Cross-Class Alliance Building Co-sponsored by the Chicago Center for Working-Class Studies, Class Action, and United for a Fair Economy Roosevelt University’s downtown campus in the Chicago Loop http://www.classmatters.org/calendar/

Sept 30-Oct 2, 2005 2nd Annual National Immigrant and Refugee Rights Training Institute, Oakland, CA (Join immigrant and refugee rights community organizers and advocates from around the country forhands on train-the-trainer sessions on the BRIDGE Popular Education curriculum, to meet and network with other organizers from around the country passionate about popular education, participate in workshops, skill-building and dialogue on human rights, grassroots advocacy, fundrasing, media work and the politics of translation and interpretation--all from a community-building perspective.) For information contact echo@nnirr.org .

Sept. 30 - Oct. 2, 2005 Highlander Social Change Workshop, New Market, Tennessee (English and Spanish-speaking people and groups who would like to learn more about Highlander Center and share ideas and information about working to change the world.) hrec@highlandercenter.org

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5. LINKS TO POPULAR EDUCATION WEB SITES AND ONLINE BOOKSTORES
(*those with online bookstores)

*Catalyst Centre (www.catalystcentre.ca/index.htm )
*Highlander Center (www.highlandercenter.org )
*Institute for Peoples'Education and Action (IPEA) (www.peopleseducation.org/ )
*Resource Center of the Americas (www.americas.org )
*Growing Communities for Peace (www.humanrightsandpeacestore.org )
Project South (www.projectsouth.org )
Center for Popular Education and Participatory Research (www.gse.berkeley.edu/research/pepr/ )
Pop Ed Links Directory (www.flora.org/mike/links/poped.html)
WE LEARN: Women Expanding-Literacy Education Action Resource Network(http://www.litwomen.org/news.html)
Centre for Popular Education, University of Technology Sydney (http://www.cpe.uts.edu.au/)
The Change Agency (www.thechangeagency.org/index.htm)

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6. "WHAT IS POPULAR EDUCATION?" DEFINITION OF THE MONTH

…popular education--the education component of community organizing.

From the www.comm-org.org website

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7. A POPULAR EDUCATION HANDOUT FROM THE EDITOR

When I do presentations and workshops on popular education one of the most often requested handouts is “The 8 interlocking and overlapping principles of popular education.” The principles are often presented as questions in no specific order for interrogating materials or for planning educational events.

The 8 Interlocking and Overlapping Principles of Popular Education

· How does the activity link education and action?

· Are there activities that help people name their world, tell the stories of their experience, speak and find their voice at the educational event – not just at the beginning but throughout?

· Are there tools of social analysis that help people connect their experience to a broader understanding of it, to understanding political and other social connections, etc.?

· How does the activity address race, class, gender, culture and other issues of privilege and oppression?

· Are there activities that use art, music, theater, dance, and other such ways to use people’s non-verbal capacities?

· How does the activity implement a people/community centered versus a banking approach to knowledge?

· What steps were taken during the activity to address the teacher/learner ­learner/teacher issues?

· How does the activity expand consciousness about participants own humanity as well as consciousness about the world.

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You learn more from listening than you do from talking - Anonymous
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This newsletter is produced by the Popular Education Resource Collection Circle. Larry Olds worked on this issue. You can contribute to future issues by sending suggestions, notices of materials and short reviews to lolds@popednews.org. Help improve the newsletter. Subscribe by sending your email address to lolds@popednews.org.