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. 21 November 2004                              THIS MONTH'S THEME: Weaving Popular Education and Community Organizing

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. REVIEW OF THE MONTH
2. LINK TO BOOKS BY MICHAEL NEWMAN AND CENTRE FOR POPULAR EDUCATION, SYDNEY BOOKSTORE
3. ADDITIONS TO WHERE POPULAR EDUCATORS WILL GATHER
4. LINKS TO POPULAR EDUCATION WEB SITES AND ONLINE BOOKSTORES
5. "WHAT IS POPULAR EDUCATION?" DEFINITION OF THE MONTH

*********************************************************
1. REVIEW OF THE MONTH

                      

A New Weave of Power, People & Politics: The Action Guide for Advocacy and Citizen Participation by Lisa Veneklasen with Valerie Miller World Neighbor Publications, 2002, 346 pages. www.wn.org

I teach political studies and direct programs in community development and community organizing for an urban university that serves the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. Several years ago, I helped convene a dialogue to explore the connections­and tensions­between community organizing and popular education. It was a tough meeting. One community organizer chastised the popular educators for emphasizing long-term education over day to engagement on issues of economic and social justice. Several popular educators saw little value in mobilizing reform campaigns when the underlying patterns of social and economic inequality were left unchallenged and unexamined.

We could have used this book. As the title suggests this collaborative effort represents a "new weave" between several circles of practice and schools of thought that too often talk past one another­if they talk at all. Lisa Veneklasen and her team bring together experiences and perspectives that bridge the local and the global, short term tactics and long term strategies, advocacy and popular education. The book offers a deep exploration of critical concepts that underlie social and political change with a practical guide to action. Part 1, Understanding Politics, for example offers a very helpful exploration of such concepts as democracy, citizenship, advocacy, gender and power. The next two sections present the tools to act on these understandings: planning, problem analysis, policy development, messages and the media, mobilization, alliance building­and much more. As one would expect in a work that draws heavily on popular education, the book is full of helpful exercises based on the best participatory pedagogy.

Although I found the last two sections of the book very helpful­I plan on using several of the tools in my work with community-based organizations­it is the conceptual work in the first section that I was most excited about. The chapter on power is, well, powerful in its clarity and comprehensiveness. I liked the discussion of common expressions of power: power over, power with, power to and power within. I appreciated its presentation of levels of power: the visible power we see in decision making by legislatures, for example; the hidden power exercised by groups that set the political agenda; and the invisible power that shapes the meaning and belief systems of society. Moving from understanding of self, to understanding of political processes, to understanding of cultural values and beliefs, this view of power does indeed help us weave strategies that cross what have all too often been boundaries of understanding and action.

Much has happened in the world since that disrupted dialogue between community organizers and popular educators several years ago. The community organizer who was so critical of "pie in the sky" ideas of social transformation is now incorporating aspects of popular education as he works with our region's emerging East African and Latino communities. A leading community organization which had always been "hard nosed" and pragmatic, just convened an annual meeting that focused exclusively on "third level" meaning and values. In a post 9/11 United States, necessity itself is the teacher. Change is in order. This book is a very timely resource toward that end
                   . .Review by Tom O'Connell

*********************************************************
2. LINKS TO BOOKS BY MICHAEL NEWMAN AND CENTRE FOR POPULAR EDUCATION, SYDNEY BOOKSTORE

Information on books by Michael Newman are at http://www.michaelnewman.info. Also note that the Centre for Popular Education, University of Technology, Sydney, which distributes the books and other popular education resources including the Bulletin of Good Practice in Popular Education, has been added to the list of online bookstores below.

*********************************************************
3. ADDITIONS TO WHERE POPULAR EDUCATORS WILL GATHER (full list)

February 8-10, 2005, PRIA Society for Participatory Research in Asia in cooperation with the Faculty of Education, University of Victoria, Canada, International Conference on Participation, Learning and Social Transformation: 3rd International Conference on Citizenship and Governance, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, UP, India http://www.pria.org/cgi-bin/international.htm

February 25-27, 2005 The Healing Story Alliance, Healing through Story A Multi- disciplinary Conference Celebrating the Oral Tradition, Minneapolis, Minnesota, (The purpose of this experiential conference is two fold: To investigate and explore the use of story to create occasions for healing and to promote health for individuals and communities and to support participants in developing practical skills in story evoking, gathering, telling and listening skills. http://www.healingstory.org/events/overview.html

March 11-12, 2005, Women Expanding / Literacy Education Action Resource Network (WE/LEARN), Second Annual (Net)Working Conference, Women & Literacy: Strengthening the Web, Providence, RI. (Call for Presenters: deadline November 30, 2005) www.litwomen.org/welearn.html

April 1-2, 2005, Center for Popular Education and Participatory Research (CPEPR), Conference on the theme Citizenship and Power in the 21st Century, University of California, Berkeley. http://www.cpepr.net/

May 29-31, 2005, Pedagogy and Theater of the Oppressed (Co-hosted by the Center for Theatre of the Oppressed and Applied Theatre Arts, Los Angeles) 11th Annual Conference, Los Angeles, California, (May 24 - 28Theatre of the Oppressed Preconference Workshops with Augusto Boal) http://www.unomaha.edu/~pto/conference.htm

4) 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 )
*IPEA (www.peopleseducation.org/ )
*Resource Center of the Americas (www.americas.org )
*Growing Communities for Peace (www.humanrightsandpeacestore.org )
Centre for Popular Education (www.cpe.uts.edu.au)
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 (http://www.cpe.uts.edu.au/)

*********************************************************
5. "WHAT IS POPULAR EDUCATION?" DEFINITION OF THE MONTH

Popular education has a long and distinguished tradition in the U.S. and around the world. It has galvanized the labor and civil rights movements in this country, and is at the core of people's struggles for economic justice and democracy in Latin America, Africa and Asia. We have been inspired by the work of Myles Horton and his colleagues at Tennessee's Highlander Center, by Brazilian educator Paolo Friere, and by the many popular educators working for justice in this country, in Latin America, and around the world.

This tradition has given us two basic principals: building democracy requires a domocratic educational process; and education must lead to action, which in turn provides the best material for education. Our educational approach is rooted in participants' own experiences, using not only discussions but also participatory research, story-telling, songs, and other group activities. We bring people together in informal settings where we can learn from each other, tap the power of our own cultural and spiritual roots, and discover new ideas and resources for collective action.
               .from Pinetree Folkschool Web Site: http://www.ptfolkschool.org/educatin.htm

**********************************************************
A single hand (of a person) cannot cover the sky. - Ghanan Proverb **********************************************************

This newsletter is produced by the Popular Education Resource Collection Circle. Larry Olds and Tom O'Connell 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. Larry Olds 3322 15th Ave S Minneapolis MN 55407 USA 612/722-3442