Community Organizers Strike Back! (At Sarah Palin)

September 4th, 2008

Guess what — people who are trained to organize political action might just be able to hit back if you take ‘em on. In the few hours since Republican V.P nominee Sarah Palin made fun of Barack Obama’s community organizer background at her speech at the RNC, the Obama campaign has already sent out a mass fundraising email using her remarks as a hook: “Why would the Republicans spend a whole night of their convention attacking ordinary people? With the nation watching, the Republicans mocked, dismissed, and actually laughed out loud at Americans who engage in community service and organizing.” And of course a quick donation from you will make it all better.

The lefty blogs have also joined in the spirited defense of the humble community organizer, and their disciples are spreading the word far and wide. And so are individual activists like my friend nerdette27, who figured out last night that Palin’s not the only one with access to a video camera: in the clip below, she neatly turns Palin’s remarks against her with some fine verbal jujitsu. Another highlight: Jesus is on our side! (Pharisees beware…).

cpd

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. links for 2008-09-05 &hellip  |  September 5th, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    [...] e.politics: online advocacy tools & tactics » Community Organizers Strike Back! (At Sarah Palin… [...]

  • 2. Paula  |  September 5th, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    Colin’s right: if there’s one thing community organizers know how to do (unlike the Republican party, I know that their “actual responsibilities” are sundry and encompass a world of good) it’s to rally the troops behind their cause, especially when they’ve been proactively attacked.

    If you’re going to go far picking on a defenseless group, then you might want to rethink attacking one that can ahem, organize fierce opposition at a moment’s notice.

  • 3. Alex Steed  |  September 13th, 2008 at 10:10 am

    I had shared this video a bit with friends who were stirred by the community organizer comments, but I think that a reaction to Palin’s speech should be coming with some sort of context.

    Can we consider all of these people mentioned to be community organizers? Of course. The problem the right has had with Obama, however, and his community organizing experience – the problem that can be easily found blogged about on right wing blogs – is that Community Organization = Alinsky = Anti-American Communism.

    And Jesus was a community organizer? So are you comparing community organizing to Jesus? Whenever he brings up being a community organizer, is he saying he’s like Jesus?

    There’s a psychology to these interactions, accusations, etc. America isn’t going to wake up to the awesomeness of what is and what is not community organization. Getting it right, as it were, is more for the liberal than it is for winning this election. In part, conservatives win on the “liberals think that they’re better than you” tip and nothing is more representative of that than videos like this one. It doesn’t give me the feeling that it was produced to make a point, or to sway a side, but to get a little bit of the egg that’s our face onto Palin’s as well.

  • 4. Alex Steed  |  September 13th, 2008 at 10:13 am

    From a previous comment:

    “If you’re going to go far picking on a defenseless group, then you might want to rethink attacking one that can ahem, organize fierce opposition at a moment’s notice.”

    This is also a clever statement – but what counter-attack? Were community organizers not already working hard to get Barack Obama elected? Is this going to push them that extra mile?

    How are they going to organize opposition while they are – well -busy organizing opposition?

  • 5. Alex Steed  |  September 13th, 2008 at 10:21 am

    One final statement – a clarification really.

    In my first comment, this statement:

    And Jesus was a community organizer? So are you comparing community organizing to Jesus? Whenever he brings up being a community organizer, is he saying he’s like Jesus?

    Should read:

    And Jesus was a community organizer? So are you comparing BARACK OBAMA to Jesus? Whenever he brings up being a community organizer, is he saying he’s like Jesus?

    That’s intended to be a conservative reaction to this suggested comparison (that Jesus and Obama were community organizers).

    It seems that the best way to frame a response to these statements is to look at Palin’s experience with Feminists For Life, and her suggestions that she’s a strong woman, and to pick influential community organizing women relative to Palin’s support base, and go from there? Her organization doesn’t employ tactics of community organization? How do you spread your message? What about Susan B. Anthony, who FFL tout as a hero? She wasn’t a CO? What about the founder of the Girl Scouts? Etc.

    Conservatives are so good at honing and targeting messages and responses in a anti nuke-and-pave fashion that allows them to appear tactful and connected with their base. Liberals can still learn a thing or two about doing the same.

  • 6. Alex Steed  |  September 15th, 2008 at 8:40 am

    Looks like I called it:

    From a conservative blog:

    Well, it turns out the Left actually does believe that BHO is some sort of Jesus character. They are now out there letting the world know that “Jesus was a community organizer and Pontious Pilate was a governor”. Yes, Barack Obama is Jesus and Sarah Palin wants to kill him. I mean, that seems to be the liberal mindset.

    http://thegreatamericablog.blogspot.com/2008/09/liberals-defy-logic.html

  • 7. Alex Steed  |  September 15th, 2008 at 8:41 am

    From the same blog:

    Now Rush brought up a good point Friday. The godfather of community organizing in Chicago is a fella by the name of Saul D. Alinsky. People like Barack Obama are students of the Alinsky style of community organizng. Did I mention that Alinsky wrote a book outlining his style of community organizing? The book is called Rules for Radicals. And do you know who he dedicated his book to? He dedicated it to Lucifer…Satan. I bet Jesus would be very proud of that.

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