March 30: Joan Kuyek and community organizing; Rockin’ Robbee live in the studio

Click image for more on OPIRG Windsor

Listen to entire program here:

On the program over the last year or so I’ve focused on ways we can reorganize our lives to break free of the dominant view that corporations and business in general should be free to act in pursuit of profit and power with as little “interference” as possible from government. These forces have been successful because they  ensure that politicians from the municipal level on up serve their interests, and there is no better example of this in action than the recent provincial and federal budgets. The alternatives we have explored are worker cooperatives, participatory budgeting, and various guests such as Ron Scott with the Boggs Center to Nurture Community  who have critiqued the dominant political and economic culture.

 Continuing with the theme that there are alternatives, Joan Kuyek was on the line from Ottawa. Joan is a long time community organizer and social justice activist. She published a book last year – one of many – and this one is an updated version of her 1990 Fighting for Hope: Organizing to Realize Our Dreams. Her latest is Community Organizing: A Holistic Approach and in it she describes her journey so far: “Working for community, for the healing and protection of the earth and for justice has organized my life in Canada for over forty years. Life as a community organizer has shaped my values and analysis of the world around me. This book is a product of that work and of the work of other organizers from all over the world.” (Click on link  for YouTube video of Kuyek and her book)

Click image for more on the book Community Organizing: A Holistic Approach

I’ve wanted to have Joan on for some time since the publication of her latest book last year, as she lived and worked for many years in my hometown of Sudbury where she and other activists struggled for change in ways that I think were ahead of their time, in the north anyway, and those struggles have a lot, I believe, to teach us here in Windsor.

Click image for Resources for Community Organizing

I asked Kuyek to define the term community organizer and mentioned that US president had described himself as one during his 2008 campaign:

Kuyek mentions in the above clip Saul Alinsky:

Click image for more on the important community and labour organizer Saul Alinsky

 I asked Kuyek about why this book now:

A key concept Kuyek briefly explores in the book, yet is central to her work is the three forms of power relationships:

In this clip Kuyek describes the influence of First Nations people, her views on our culture and the environment and who she has learned from:

More on Weir Reid

Click image for ordering info for the book
Rockin' Robbee in the studio

If Not For You:


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