Network Weaving

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Network Weavers as Community Organizers

Last night Sarah Palin attacked community organizing.

This morning I sent $$$ to the Obama campaign.

Complex systems have indirect and unintended consequences... you would have learned that in Science class, Sarah.

Network weaving and community organizing have a strong presence in our nation's history. The American Revolution would not have been possible without connecting distributed networks and organizing local communities. Paul Revere, Ben Franklin and George Washington were mega network weavers. Without their community organizing, we would not have had a united front against King George and the British.

Community organizing and network weaving are much harder than working the hierarchy [from a position of power]. They are skills necessary to work in the real world where you have no hierarchical authority and must organize diverse parties with conflicting interests -- herd cats. In fact, community organizing may be one of the best training grounds for the global economy/society we live in today.

What do you folks think? What is your response to the attack on community organizing?

Update: Oh yeah, another famous community organizier...

Update 2: MSNBC reports Obama picks up $8-$10 million since Palin speech. While WSJ reports that McCain picked up only $1 million in the same time period.


  • To me it seemed like a bunch of rich white republicans laughing about Obama going to help poor black communities. But also it was obvious that the people laughing (Giuliani, Palin, etc.) have no idea what community organizers actually do, and my guess is because they remain ignorant of inner cities. I.e., "our rich privileged communities already have lots of social capital including all these helpful networks structured into them so why would anyone ever need to go somewhere and set them up?"

    By Blogger Adrian, at 9/04/2008 2:01 PM  

  • Interesting take on equating the founding fathers (prior to the American Revolution) to community organizers.

    Any urls to further strengthen that argument would be appreciated.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/04/2008 2:06 PM  

  • Anonymous,

    Read their biographies. Several interesting accounts of Paul Revere as a network hub -- that is why HIS ride was successful. Ben Franklin's linking prowess, within and between countries, is documented in many places. George Washington had to organize an army before he could lead it -- no DoD back then.

    Do some basic research!

    By Blogger Valdis, at 9/04/2008 2:48 PM  

  • Paul Revere's Ride David Fischer,1776 McCullough, and Benjamin Frnklin, An American Life all have many stories of their community organizing. Paul Revere was particularly skilled at building networks across the divides of nationality and class.

    By Blogger June, at 9/04/2008 3:11 PM  

  • Someone from this Network Weaving conversation sent us a note on your exchange about Palin's reference. And, yes, as a longtime journalist myself -- who has covered a whole lot of crucial community-organizing movements -- it did seem like an unfortunate slam.
    I'm writing because we're hosts to a key Web page, co-sponsored by the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research through Dr. Wayne Baker, who conducts research on American values.
    Dr. Baker has been raising issues this week about work / labor / work in the home / parenting -- and has now raised two posts on Palin and today on Obama. We would welcome any of you who care to add a comment over there -- just click on a comment link and we'd welcome that. You can even mention the home discussion page you're conducting over here as well. We welcome that.
    Just inviting you to raise your voices over there as well, if you feel so moved.

    By Blogger David, at 9/04/2008 4:09 PM  

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