Colleges are also seeing more interest in courses along those lines. Peter Dreier, a politics professor at Occidental College, says he usually has 20 to 25 students in his community organizing class. So far, 42 students have registered for next fall.
“I haven’t become any more popular as a professor,” said Mr. Dreier, who directs the Urban and Environmental Policy Program at Occidental. “So the increased enrollment must have something to do with the political climate, student interest in organizing and the impact of Obama.”
Dr. Ganz, the veteran organizer, trained thousands of Obama campaign volunteers to organize communities and voters.
He sees the effect today. Three years ago, Dr. Ganz, who earned a doctorate in sociology and is now a lecturer at Harvard, taught 40 students in his community organizing class at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. This year, 60 students are enrolled, with more wanting to get in. Three years ago, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, began using Dr. Ganz’s curriculum. It is now taught at the College of the Holy Cross, Providence College and Wellesley. And more institutions, like M.I.T. and Northwestern, are calling him.
Certainly, there is an Obama effect. Through his presidential campaign and in his memoir, “Dreams From My Father,” Mr. Obama managed to glamorize and, more important, explain community organizing. He wrote about meeting with people in their homes and churches, listening to their stories, the failures and small victories.
Why does the job I’ve always wanted, suddenly the hip thing to do?! Those under the Obama effect of grassroots organizing…won’t last a day. Learning in the classroom is not how you become a good organizer. You learn from going person to person, falling on your face, and standing up to your biggest fear. That has never happened in any of my classes…one of the reasons I don’t go to them.
Obama’s promise that the U.S. and its allies will put an end to Indian Ocean piracy had the forceful ring to it that good American citizens like to hear, but half the NATO navies aren’t going to change the desperate circumstances that turned Somalia’s fisherman into pirates.
Truthdig – Reports – Pacifica Radio at 60: A Sanctuary of Dissent. By: Amy Goodman
Pacifica Radio, the oldest independent media network in the United States, turns 60 years old this week as a deepening crisis engulfs mainstream media. Journalists are being laid off by the hundreds, even thousands. Venerable newspapers, some more than a century old, are being abruptly shuttered. Digital technology is changing the rules, disrupting whole industries, and blending and upending traditional roles of writer, filmmaker, publisher, consumer. Commercial media are losing audience and advertising. People are exploring new models for media, including nonprofit journalism.
Truthdig – Arts and Culture – Not With a Bang but a Twitter. I agree that the dependence is bad for developing minds, but Twitter and Facebook have revolutionized the way we speak to one another and get information about what is going on.
It’s not that hard to understand why we’re experiencing an upsurge in “senseless violence.” More to the point, it isn’t all that hard to see what we can do about it.
Greenpeace’s new leader talks up need for a green grassroots | Grist. Yay Phil!! He was one of our lecturs during my time with Greenpeace. I’ll run the full article of this one for my next post.