I’m at a training session for community organizers this week in Chicago run by The Midwest Academy, one of America’s foremost organizing training centers. They are a Chicago treasure, established in 1971 by Heather Booth and Steve Max.
“The Midwest Academy is a national training institute committed to advancing the struggle for social, economic, and racial justice. From local neighborhood groups to statewide and national organizations, Midwest Academy has trained over twenty-five thousand grassroots activists from hundreds of organizations and coalitions. Midwest Academy teaches an organizing philosophy, methods and skills that enable ordinary people to actively participate in the democratic process. Courses and consulting services are designed for progressive organizations and coalitions that utilize civic engagement activities to build citizen power at all levels of our democracy.”
From the first day of training, a very hard truth: “Being right doesn’t mean you win.” The Number One rule for social change? People in charge will not give you anything unless you organize for power to demand it and then only if the people in charge believe that you have organized enough power to hurt or help them.