Let the People Decide: Neighborhood Organizing in America

Let the People Decide: Neighborhood Organizing in America

by Robert Fisher
     
 

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Contrary to political myth, community activism did not die out in the 1980s. If anything, it intensified. According to one estimate, the United States is now home to more than 2 million citizen action groups. In this new edition of his classic study, Robert Fisher rounds out his 100-year history of neighborhood organizing in America with an appraisal of those… See more details below

Overview

Contrary to political myth, community activism did not die out in the 1980s. If anything, it intensified. According to one estimate, the United States is now home to more than 2 million citizen action groups. In this new edition of his classic study, Robert Fisher rounds out his 100-year history of neighborhood organizing in America with an appraisal of those activists and organizations whose pursuit of communal good set them apart during a decade that celebrated the unabashed pursuit of personal wealth. Fisher views the 1980s as an era of practical adaptation for neighborhood organizers. In contrast to the politically charged 1960s and early 1970s, when the predominant philosophy of activism was based on opposition to the established power bases of government and business, the philosophy of 1980s activism was rooted in consensus and moderation: work with those with money and power to get things done. This kind of thinking - which evolved while the neoconservative view of a free-market solution to every social problem dominated policymaking in Washington - encouraged community development corporations: the nuts-and-bolts enterprises now found in cities across the country that rely on government and corporate seed money to develop low-income housing and business activity in economically depressed areas. Throughout the book Fisher concerns himself with the national political and economic backdrops against which neighborhood interests play themselves out. Discussed here are the settlement houses and community centers that thrived during the flush years of the progressive era; the militant tenants' and workers' councils inspired by the Communist and Socialist parties during the lean years of the Great Depression; the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Councils started up during Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal era by Saul Alinsky, widely regarded as the founder of neighborhood organizing; the protectionist suburban neighborhood improvement associations of the cold war yea

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Fisher (political social work, U. of Houston) updates his history of neighborhood organizing in the US to include trends since the 1984 first edition. He starts with the social welfare organizing from 1886 to the depression, through radical and conservative periods to the revolutionary 1960s and populist 1970s. An added chapter describes the organizing of the 1980s based on consensus and adaptation rather than confrontation and the certainty that a noble defeat is better than an inch of compromise. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805797091
Publisher:
Cengage Gale
Publication date:
08/01/1984
Series:
Social Movements past and Present Series
Pages:
295

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