From the Introduction:
History is full of stories of the oppressed rebelling against the oppressor, only to reinstate an equally oppressive system. What we learn from oppression is how to oppress. If we want a truly transformative politics, then we must take up methods that embody the kind of world we want to create; we have to change deeply embedded beliefs and behaviours.
In this engaging and passionate book, long-time community organizer Joan Kuyek offers important insights and concrete tools to encourage people to get involved in social justice action at the community level. In Canada, activists are frustrated with their inability to effect change in the global economic system, overwhelmed by the number and complexity of issues and too often unaware or dismissive of the efforts of other activists. As a result, social forces for justice and the environment are fragmented and ineffective, and the economic elite grows more powerful. Community Organizing argues that it does not have to be this way. Suggesting that most of our attempts at change and community-building fail because we cannot get along with each other, Community Organizing starts at the community level to describe how we can work together and create organizations based on dignity and respect. It provides strategies to build movements from the community to assert democratic political power and tools to create a culture of hope in this time of despair. This book offers the means to reclaim political power in Canada.
“I have practiced and taught community-based social justice leadership for 30 years. My copy of the 1990 edition of Fighting for Hope is tattered and full of sticky notes. A series of lending copies have disappeared. Now this new edition, updated to include some of the game-changing tools and events of the past twenty years, brings an important handbook back into circulation for a new generation of Canadian social justice activists. To them I say, if I had space for just one organizing manual, this would be it.”
— Anne Bishop, author of Becoming an Allyand Beyond Token Change