Author

Jonathan Bix

Class Year

2014

Access Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department or Program

Sociology Department

First Advisor

Eréndira Rueda

Second Advisor

William Hoynes

Abstract

City Life/Vida Urbana is a base-building community organization committed to structural transformation through racial, economic, gender, and other forms of social justice. Its local work currently focuses on preventing evictions as a result of foreclosures. Most people come to City Life out of the desire to save their homes. However, all City Life organizers noted that saving one’s own home appears to have no impact on one becoming a long-term participant in the movement, or a negative impact when this is accomplished through purely service rather than service-supported direct action. People stay in City Life due to the “incentives” of (1) community and a culture of solidarity, (2) radical moral ideology, and (3) the power members themselves have internally within and externally through the organization. These three organizational characteristics are produced through solidaristic cultural practices and community building, radical political education, the development of organic intellectuals, leadership development, bottom-up organizational structure, and militant and effective protest tactics. Through these mechanisms and “incentives” City Life is able to develop a radical organizing project notable for its ability both to build a substantial base and win gains in the present and to build a significant, committed, and talented base for a long-term transformative movement. City Life therefore exemplifies a radical alternative to neo-Alinskyist community organizing models.

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