ORGANIZING: A Guide for Grass Roots Leaders by Si Kahn

ORGANIZING: A Guide for Grass Roots Leaders

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Si Kahn has been involved in organizing for economic and political change since the halcyon days of the Civil Rights movement--which he wistfully evokes in a poetic afterword to murdered black farmer Herbert Lee--and he's currently consulting for the Midwest Academy in Chicago, a resource firm for would-be organizers. So he has some tuned-in observations to make on the nature of leadership, politics, and culture, as well as on the mechanics of communication, money, meetings, strategy, etc. One of the most important functions of leaders, he explains, is to produce other leaders; this gives the organization a broader base of appeal, a wider spectrum of skills from which to benefit, and less vulnerability to opposition pressure. On a more practical note, Kahn recommends steering clear of parliamentary procedure in meetings: it tends to inhibit discussion and become a power tool to ""manipulate group situations"" (though knowing the ins and outs is necessary, he admits, when confronting, say, different levels of government). And tactics? Hold the big guns for last, we're advised; high-pressure tactics against the opposition ""also create a greater counterpressure on our own organization and members."" Most of this is offered in an easygoing question-and-answer format that allows the reader to pick and choose among the topics. But though it feels relaxed, it's also thoroughly informative and reliable.

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 1981
Publisher: McGraw-Hill