I wonder how many Marin residents, reading this innocuous sounding article about various churches and synagogues getting together for social causes realizes that there is a huge political agenda going on here. (The giveaway is in the second paragraph.) And this being Marin, I wonder how many would care if they knew:
A group of 25 churches, synagogues and other local groups is working to build a political power base they hope will begin to address a variety of community issues. The Marin Organizing Committee is the workaday name for their effort, based on the community organizing concepts of social reformer Saul Alinsky in the 1930s.
“We are not confrontational in any way,” says Joanne Saxe of Congregation Rodef Sholom in San Rafael. “We want (the political decision-makers) to join us in solving these problems.”
She and other representatives of member institutions plan to unveil their agenda in a meeting open to the public at 7 p.m. Thursday in the St. Raphael Catholic Church gymnasium.
Local political leaders have been invited to attend by the Rev. Paul Rossi of St. Raphael and Rabbi Michael Lezak of Congregation Rodef Sholom. The group has no elected officers.
The committee will propose an agenda for action that will include:
– Providing an emergency shelter to serve homeless individuals and families.
– Examining “serious problems” with the Redwood Landfill in Novato.
– Providing psychiatric care for those who can’t afford it.
– Looking at issues of transportation, education, teens and immigration.
While 11 institutions so far are financial sponsors of the committee, 14 others are actively involved or have indicated they will join.
I like the way Saul Alinsky has been neatly packaged as a social reformer. He was a self-professed revolutionary, who viewed his approach as the wedge for true socialist revolution.
I have no problem with true grass roots movements, where people band together to take care of themselves or their community. When Alinsky’s name comes up, though, you know that there’s more to it than mere local self-improvement.
UPDATE: Info on Alinsky.