A new era of organizing?

In today’s Time magazine, Joe Klein tells the story of Nate Hundt, a recent college graduate and Obama organizer he met 11 months ago in Algona, Iowa.

Hundt had made a powerful impression on local community folks. “He’s really become part of the community," said one man, and many other Algonans agreed, telling stories of Hundt’s presence at local civic events, of his showing up for football games, of the friendships he had made. Though he was sent by the campaign to many other states after the Iowa caucuses, Hundt told Klein, “I’m still in touch with my friends in Algona." He added, “I’m not unique. There are a lot of us who had similar experiences."

Klein says “there are untold thousands of young organizers [who] were the heart and soul and backbone of Barack Obama’s victory," forming a philosophical fit with the Obama message of bottom up change and “yes we can." He believes the Obama election victory could signal a sea change in American life. After all, 23,000 campaign workers were trained in at least one day of organizing.

The election gave huge credibility and authority to organizing on an unprecedented scale. I think Klein is right and then some – we are just at the beginning.

Editor's note: Listen to a National Public Radio interview with Marshall Ganz, who designed the field-organizer and volunteer training systems for the Obama campaign.

If you're in the Twin Cities, consider going to Tom's Drugstore tonight for a discussion on "The American Renaissance -- Bringing Organizing to a New Scale." See Upcoming Events at right for details.

Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs