Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Learning from Alinsky : one way to begin reframing the political and policy debate

Rules for Radicals

Reveille for Radicals
Have just received my latest newsletter from The Change Agency.  It gladdened my heart to see them list among their very useful pdfs for download Saul Alinsky's ten commandments of activism.  They are set out at the end of this post.  Please get hold of the books above to learn of Saul Alinsky's methods and views.

Clearly, I am not the only one who is grateful to Alinsky as a tutor in community organising.  Alinsky is one of the greats - not only because he knew what he was doing and had runs on the board.  Alinksy was creative and had a great sense of humour.  

I commend the above books to anyone who wants to engage with communities; who wants to bring about change.  

At the moment, Australia has the opportunity to grasp change.  We have the opportunity to reframe the political debate, to have more inclusive engagement in the decision-making process.  If we are to do this, the process must begin in the community - and not a community that seeks to divide itself into National Party, Liberal Party, Labor Party and Greens.  Community engagement must not be a process of division but of looking beyond what divides to what achieves widespread community support - the type of support that brings positive outcomes.

In the end, it is the outcome that matters and good outcomes can only be achieved by way of sound and inclusive processes.  Good outcomes built on bad processes are like building a beautiful home with timber that has well-hidden termites.  I have written before on this blog about bad policies of the Howard era continued under the Rudd-Gillard government.  It is no wonder to me that Australia has found itself in a political mess. The cumulation of bad policies from both sides of politics made such a mess inevitable.

Financial markets speak of "corrections".  Australia is undergoing a period of political "correction".  Are we capable of sound, corrective choices - or are we going to deal ourselves in for more of the same?

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