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losing becomes just another way to learn. SOCM has been determined to stay in the struggle for the long haul.

While it’s great to win, it’s just as good to see what happens when ordinary people become more skilled and more confident and their world becomes larger as they learn about the struggles of others in different communities in the state, in the country, and even internationally. Their analysis of the roots of problems sharpens. Care is taken to develop sensitivities and understanding about the race and class barriers that so often divide people who really have much in common. It was vitally important to win the Fall Creek Falls issue. Just as important, however, was seeing Landon Medley, a factory worker from Doyle, Tennessee, and chair of SOCM’s strip mine issue committee, speak eloquently about the power of citizen efforts in bringing about the victory.

There are many community organizations like SOCM in the United States in virtually every state and working with virtually every ethnic group and race in the country. My experience is that community organizing, where people themselves are transformed in the process, is both a method to bring about the changes needed for a better environment and a more just society, and a way to truly build a working democracy in our country.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to share SOCM’s experiences with you and to learn from you at this workshop.

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