COMMUNITY IS POSSIBLE: Repairing America's Roots by Harry C. Boyte

COMMUNITY IS POSSIBLE: Repairing America's Roots

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Community-action evangelism for the unjaded. Boyte, who wrote a somewhat weightier and more combative book along these lines a few years back (The Backyard Revolution, 1980), encases his look at seven disparate community undertakings in an ideological rationale: historical American tension between ""commonwealth"" and ""progress""; the post-Sixties search for ""new common ground and continuities."" And while much of this bears an unwitting resemblance to business-and-government evangelism on the ""progress"" side (see Botkin, above), and its populist rhetoric has a familiar ting, there are among the motley examples some that might indeed hearten and even mobilize the like-minded. Thus, the chances of Oneida, Wisconsin, may be iffy--can a ""blue collar suburb"" reclaim its Indian heritage, practice Indian values?--and the prospects of the San Francisco Organizing Project, aligning churches and unions, may be unguessable at this early date; San Antonio's COPS, Communities Organized for Public Service, may already have been milked by the media; and traces of romanticism may turn up throughout. Still, the handful of Christian-utopians at Jubilee, a Koinonia-offshoot in northeast Georgia, have found a genuine vocation in assisting refugee resettlement; the ARC Community, near Grandee, Minnesota, has evolved from a feminist retreat center to ""a free space"" for many sorts of groups, Greatest attention is devoted to St. Paul's West Side--almost renewed out of existence, now organized for self-preservation. (There's some yeasty local history here, apropos of history-consciousness as a step to community-consciousness.) The most impressive, untouted example of action is the tenant rescue and upgrading of St. Louis' Cochran Gardens project (where social problems--like very-young-motherhood--are on the agenda too). Young folks might take to this journalistic primer with historical trappings; older idealists may be glad to know that the torch is being passed on.

Pub Date: Oct. 24th, 1984
Publisher: Harper & Row