Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Revolution Will Not Be Funded!

Im excited to announce that we finally have the audio files available on the web for this great event we did back in October on the topic 'The Revolution Will Not Be Funded". The forum which brought out a diverse group of about 60-70 activists from around New York City, was co-organized with Sista ii Sista partly as an issue release event for our special issue of Left Turn magazine on the same topic.

For those of you not familiar with the topic and subsequent debates within various movements, the theme 'The Revolution Will Not Be Funded' was taken from an amazing conference organized by INCITE! in the spring of 2004. In that conference the organizers sought to answer a series of important and overlapping questions including:
  • What is the history of how the non-profit model developed, and what reasons did it develop? How did it impact the direction of social justice organizing?
  • How has funding from foundations impacted the course of social justice movements?
  • How does 501(c)3 status impact social justice organizations' relationship to the state?
  • Are there ways the non-profit model can be used subversively to support more radical visions for social change?
  • What are the alternatives for building viable social justice movements? How do we fund the movement outside the non-profit structure?
  • What models for organizing outside the NGO/non-profit model exist outside the U.S. that may help us?
These are just a few of many questions that were addressed at the INCITE! conference a few years back. For those of you who are interested, I highly recommend you ordering the set of audio recordings from the conference itself which are now available on their website. Its $55 for the entire 5 CD set but its well worth the costs, especially if you can split it with a few local activists and or organizations. I feel like its important to build on each others work and interact with a similar set of questions on a larger level so that we are not constantly re-inventing the wheel or figuring out how to deal with these similar problems in isolation of each other. Conferences are often really boring and not that useful to activists on the ground, but this one was a rare exception, so again if you can go order the CD's!

For a good background article on the topic check out an article written by Andrea del Moral for Lip Magazine earlier this year. As i mentioned earlier we did a whole special section on it in Left Turn #18 and one of the feature articles written by Eric Tang is available online as well. The article is titled "The Non-Profit & The Autonomous Grassroots" and is kind of an overview of the shift towards the Non-Profit model over the past few decades coming out of the social movements of the 60s and early 70s. The article is not so much a wholesale critique of the modern Non-Profit as much as a sober analysis of the central role it plays in the United States context. In other places (Chiapas to name one prominent example), the Non-Profit (termed NGOs in most countries) plays a 'supporting role' to the more radical autonomous movements (In that case obviously the Zapatista uprising) instead of a 'leading role' which again is too often what we have here in the US. The reasons for all of this are complicated but its a fascinating subject which i feel leads you to really think through what kind of organizing your currently involved with and what possibilities arise once you are able to think outside of the 'non-profit industrial complex' box.


jamie said...

yo max,
the link on this first sentence is not working. it has an extra 'http' in it that shows up at the wrong page.

"Im excited to announce that we finally have the audio files available"

max said...

Yeah thanks for pointing that out. I actually fixed the link but now it seems that the radio4all website is down temporarily so for anyone tryijng to download the files just keep on checking in...