This essay on Civil Society and Community Organizing was a project of Prof. James Bearden's Fall 2006 course Socl 281, Community Organizing. It was moved in July, 2006 from the original Collaborative Writing Project website to its present site on the Geneseo Wiki. Its page history did not survive the move.
Community Organizing can be seen as an act by members of an association to create a change within their society. The act of organizing is done with the intention of making change. The change may be simple or complex. As seen through the experience of members of our class, the types of organizing projects we have taken on have varied in their complexity as well as purpose. Some have called for equity within the New York State education system, while others, such as the Geneseo Free Speech Movement, have attempted to change aspects of their society through direct action. Whether the intended change is on a small or large scale, each requires individuals to come together. Today, there exist many different perspectives on how each of our actions may or may not be seen as contributing to civil society. It is interesting to look at the interaction between one's actions and civil society when viewed through the lenses of Feminism, Christianity, and Confusianism.
Feminism as an Aspect of Community Organizing
Community organizing plays a key role in creating a civil society. People become concerned about an issue and decide to do something about it. They may start something as small as a discussion group or something as large as a national organization. As concerned citizens of the world, they promote the issues of their group in order to change the problem, and in their view, they are making society a better place in which to exist. Feminism has taken a prominent role in organizing, especially since the Women's Movement gained momentum in the 1960s. There are arguments that feminism is flourishing in the effort to create civil society, but also that women are still subordinated despite this movement. There are two general types of feminism that supporters usually believe in: one in which women fight for equality with men, and one where feminists are trying to create a world in which the distinct female culture is recognized and included in society, but does not fall into the patriarchy that already exists. It is widely accepted, however, that we need both aspects in order to shape a thriving society. The problems with creating this world are that there are so many bias and stereotypes about women that exist within our culture that it is difficult to resolve all of them. The language that exists when talking about civil society has a sexist undertone that permeates through to community organizing. Women are usually associated with the private sphere (family), as men are with the public (state). Because the state and the public sphere customarily have a greater influence on society as a whole, civil society is seen as a public domain, and therefore, meant for men's participation. Furthermore, "civil," often implies a contrast with, "natural," or, "familial," words comparative to the private sphere. This is contradictory, however, with, "society," which includes all. One way to remedy this is to make civil society broader, and to point out that each sphere of society shapes the other. There is a distinct connection between private and public life, and so the concept of civil society must include every aspect of life in order to make society truly civil. The perceptions of civil society are becoming more inclusive, as a part of, "active civil engagement," and so it is open to anyone concerned with the world (Phillips, p. 73). Feminism is one of these aspects beginning to take shape in civil society. Feminism is pluralist, meaning that it is inclusive of diversity, and, "pluralism flourishes more readily in the associations of civil society than in either family or state" (Phillips, p. 76). Civil society and feminism are also both about transformation, and challenging prejudices and political agendas. Therefore, feminism should thrive best in civil society and be a strong part of community organizing. Although there seems to be an increase in feminism in the world, there is still a non-feminist agenda. For ages, women have been discriminated against and subordinated under a male-dominated society, while men have been promoted and given power in their work. The "men's club" networking system that advances male power keeps women under their control, instead of sharing power. People exist in civil society, but current sexual inequalities pervade it so that it does not include women in the formation and structure. Community organizing, while seen generally as a non-sexist field, can certainly enforce these stereotypes if they are not purposely working against them. It should be said for this reason, that if sexist language, attitudes, and actions are not recognized within the organization, they will continue to persist. Women must be able to, and encouraged to become strong members of an organization so that equality can truly be achieved while working towards another issue. While an increase in the number of organizations gives way for more feminist, non-sexist groups, there will also be groups that are sexist and anti-women. However, because these are voluntary organizations, there is less protection from the state for individual equalities (even though the state itself can be inadequate). Still, because of the freedom of choice, the self-governing, voluntary association lends itself to a larger, stronger female population that is more accessible and contestable than the male dominated state.
Defining Civil Society in the Christian tradition
We as individuals, as well as the social groups we enter into, each have varying concepts of civil society. Christianity, with over 2.1 billion practicing members, is no exception. One of the best suited definitions of civil society in the Christian sense can be found in the Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law. It simply states "marked by public order: peaceable in behavior." This same dictionary also defines society many ways, but one that particularly fits: "a community, nation, or broad grouping of people having common traditions, institutions, and collective activities and interests." This definition is very sensible in that it contains the word community, and our goal is to determine how community organizing fits into creating a peaceful, orderly society. Our understanding of civil society is directly linked with Christianity. St. Augustine introduced the concept of "two cities": the city of God, also referred to as the heavenly city, and the earthly city. Using a biblical foundation for the "two cities," St. Augustine displays the differences between the two, as well as the constant battle within them. The city of God is seen as a sacred one, while the earthly city is profane, in that it is not special. He believed that they are to be understood as two polarising entities that coexist within their divisions, one of the true society and the other as society in a superficial sense. As explained in Alternative Conceptions of Civil Society, the two cities are based on two different types of love: that of God and that of the self. He believed that the earthly city was united by the love of the self and the heavenly city was was united by the love of God. The city of God is focused solely on loving and praising God peacefully, as well as acknowledging His just judgment. On the other hand, the earthly city loves the self more than God. The earthly city wishes to exert its own power over mankind, ignoring God's rule and replacing it with its own rule. According to Alternative Conceptions of Civil Society(115), the earthly city "hates a fellowship of equality under God, and seeks to impose its own dominion on fellow men, in place of God's rule." In other words, the earthly city "loves its own peace of injustice" and has a "lust for domination" (-Alternative Conceptions of Civil Society,_ 115). How we understand civil society is based on a duality that has its origins in St. Augustine's theory of the "two cities." Just as the "two cities" are seen as a way to conceptualize the tension between the individual and God, civil society is the tension between the individual and the community. Society is said to exist within the city of God and not in the earthly city, because it involves a "stable structure of association and cooperations among persons" (Alternative Conceptions of Civil Society, 118). Thomas Aquinas attempted to reconcile the theory of "two cities," arguing that people's actions can include both a moral and individual sense. Civil society in essence is the melding of the city of God and the earthly city. It is when individuals come together to act morally for the community as a whole. With this definition, it is clear how our concept of civil society is grounded within the Christian tradition. Christians fundamentally believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Jesus was able to use community organizing and direct service as a way to mold society the way he saw best. The Twelve Apostles could be viewed as the core group of followers in achieving goals of the organization. Jesus was also a direct advocate to the poor and homeless as he constantly lived amongst that class of people. This tradition lives on today with the formation and strength of Catholic Charirites, one of the biggest charitable organizations in the world. Catholic Charities was formed by French Ursuline Sisters in 1727 with the formation of an orphanage in New Orleans. Their initial focus was on child care but since has expanded to assist in the needs of housing, healthcare, and education. Today, the National Service Center is comprised of more than 1,600 community-based organizations across the United States and is considered one of the largest social service networks in the nation. They now have clients of all religious affiliations which is a true testament to their commitment to maintaining a better civil society. Their services and programs are community based, and provide people in need with assistance regardless of their religion, social or economic backgrounds. It is run by more than 250,000 employees and volunteers across the United States that support the organization's mission of people helping other people in need, and in the "bringing to completion the kingdom of God in our midst" (Catholic Charities USA, 2006).
The Confucian Perspective of Civil Society
Confucian thought is fundamentally different than western understandings because it does not conceive the world in particular, delimited parts. Instead, Confucian frameworks view society as "the rings of successive ripples that are propelled outward on the surface when you through a stone into water" (Madsen, 192). This is an important distinction, because Confucian civil society is not encompassed of isolated, individual actors, but of individuals who are constantly connected through affiliated ripples of interaction. In this light, it is difficult to make the distinctions that are fundamental in western perspectives of civil society; the distinctions of public vs. private and involuntary vs. voluntary forms of association are not applicable. Contemporary applications of Confucian civil society are commonly viewed as out dated, and inapplicable to an increasingly globalized and westernized world. Consequently, many Asian scholars have abandoned Confucian perspectives in the light of intense social fragmentation, industrial and post-industrial divisions of labor, influence of the global media and an increasing demand of opportunities for free, individualistic self expression. The logic of Confucian thought makes it incredibly difficult to make sharp distinctions between structures and actors within such convoluted social environments, yet some scholars believe that it is neither possible, nor desirable to discard the Confucian legacy completely (Madsen, 1992). Although the Confucian conception of civil society appears ambiguous and lacking in fixed distinctions, contemporary scholars have attempted to continue the legacy of Confucian civil society through an analysis of the association of the nucleated family and the state. Embodying the sense of interconnectedness that is a staple in Confucian though, this analysis is not one that isolates the relational variables between families and the state, but instead views the affiliation as the interaction of different elements that are constantly interpenetrating each other (Madsen, 1992). Simply, Confucian civil society is one in which the people cannot exist without that state, while the state cannot exist without the people; the existence of the people and the state are dependent upon another, and in a constant process of interaction. Although the ideological foundation of Confucian civil society is vague and open to interpretation, its guidelines for human affiliation are relatively simple. Mencius provides this classic formulation of Confucian civil society: Between parent and child there is to be affection Between ruler and minister, rightness Between husband and wife, gender distinction Between older and younger, an order of precedence Between friends, trustworthiness This type of relational patterning suggests that human beings thrive through performing different, mutually complimentary roles. This is not to say that Confucian formulations are authoritative structures, but instead that they function to provide a cooperative environment for different individuals. In this sense, depending on an individual's role in society they provide a complimentary function for an individual in a different role (Madsen, 1992). Confucian notions of reciprocity are rooted in the idea that human flourishing can only occur if social relations are dependent upon a proper moral basis. This does not mean that individuals most adopt authoritative moral barometers, but instead interact socially in manner that cultivates a combination of mental and emotional faculties. Confucian morals are "not an idea of abstract universalism but a dynamic process of self-transcendence, not a departure from one's source but a broadening and deepening of one's sensitivity without losing sight of one's rootedness in the body, family, community, society, and world" (Madsen, 2002).
Community Organizing Methods
Community organizing is a very broad topic and is accompanied by many different methods. Leaders have brought people together throughout history in many different ways. Notable organizers in the past have organized their communities to bring about change. Jane Addams for example organized her working community by raising knowledge about problems in the work place and using that energy to convince the workers to strike. Other organizers, like Saul Alinsky, are known for creating conflict in order to bring about change. He forged coalitions between unlikely groups and believed that we need to create a dichotomy between "us and them" in order to identify the people who are causing the problem so we can solve it. Saul Alinsky's community organizing effort was a highly influential form of grassroots urban activism in the twentieth century. His movement relied on the stable organization of mass institutions such as unions and the Catholic church. In the late 1930's, he was sent by the Chicago Area Project to start an antidelinquency program in the Back-of-the-Yards, a neighborhood near the meatpacking district. He applied labor organizing tactics within the urban communities instead of focusing on the slaughterhouses themselves. The Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) was founded in 1940, and served as the vehicle in which Alinsky and his followers looked for power holders within the communities as well as to build accord among diverse local institutions (unions, churches, civic groups). The IAF worked to achieve small and steady gains within the community. The basic tactics of the IAF have lasted long past Alinsky's death in 1972: to pressure religious, labor, and civic institutions into agreements to benefit the powerless.
Demonstrations, Marches, and Rallies as a Means of Representing Traditional Civil Society
Public displays of outrage are a very common tactic used by organizers. The gathering of people en-mass, chanting loudly, and carrying signs is a method of applying pressure and spreading one's message that has been shown to be very effective. The concept of traditional civil society revolves around the ideas that its members are self-disciplined, share collective interests, stress quality over performance, have extensive objectives, and practice particularism. These qualities are very similar to the qualities an organization needs to have in order to put together an effective demonstration. Putting together a rally or march takes a lot of work and planning. An organization needs to be very well structured, smooth running, and efficient to organize a successful rally. The list of tasks that need to get accomplished is nearly endless. Signs and banners need to be printed up, possible speakers and performers need to be contacted and confirmed, the list goes on and on. Permits need to be obtained, the press needs to be notified (either by press release, press conference, news advisory or some other means), the public needs to be informed so that attendance is large. Attendance is one of the most difficult components of a rally. Organizers should attempt to bring in three times as many people as they actually want. People often have a habit of being absent when attendance isn't required. If no one shows up, then the rally might as well have not taken place and all of your work has been wasted. In order for everything to get accomplished, an organization will need to follow the guidelines of a traditional civil society. Without a purpose or collective issue there is no reason to hold an event. A rally must have a clear and extensive objective; open-forum demonstrations rarely work. Also, if the members of the organization are particularists and have an extreme devotion to their own group's interests, the message of the rally will be that much more clear. If an organization is not self-disciplined, it is likely that various details and logistical issues will slip through the cracks. If there is a heavy emphasis put on quality, the rally is likely to run smoothly. Should an organization approach the planning and execution of a demonstration through the lens of traditional civil society, there is a good chance the demonstration will be a success.
A Non-Hierarchical Conception of Civil Society
What if we, just for a moment, critically examined the possibility that there might be a fundamental issue – with government itself – some one thing that transcends the apparent differences between what we normally consider "good governments" and "bad governments," or "successful governments" and "failed governments?" Perhaps there exists an overarching structural component, common to all governments, which we could then analyze, discuss and do our best to understand. Perhaps we could entertain an analysis that suggests hierarchy – governance based on the individual's submission to a higher, more concentrated decision maker and administrator of force (whether mental, physical or legal force) – is the pandemic that has infected our world's governments, the totality of 'social problems' being its symptoms. So, if hierarchy can be understood to be problematic(an admittedly sizeable if), what alternatives are there? Peter Kropotkin, while not the first to conceive of such a system, wrote a concise definition, for the 1905 Encyclopedia Britannica (more exact citation necessary?), of such an alternative: ANARCHISM: "The name given to a principle or theory of life and conduct under which society is conceived without government – harmony in such a society being obtained, not by submission to law, or obedience to any authority, but by free agreements concluded between the various groups, territorial and professional, freely constituted for the sake of production and consumption, as also for the satisfaction of the infinite variety of needs and aspirations of a civilized being." Arguably, one of the most compelling dimensions of Anarchy is its unwavering commitment to individual autonomy/freedom. In addition to personal autonomy, mutual respect and cooperation are added to form a simplified, three-fold definition of anarchy as social system.
Democracy and civic engagement; which comes first?
The relationship between civic engagement and democracy are heavily debated, but many political and social scientists are starting to look towards evidence that shows democracy does not survive without civic engagement and vice versa. Why is that? In Developing Democracy: Towards Consolidation, Larry Diamond tries to answer this question. First, he makes the important distinction between electoral democracy and liberal democracy. While he admits that countries that hold elections free from corruption and in which everyone can participate are inherently more liberal, he emphasizes different levels of democracy. With electoral democracy, elections are emphasized. There are few civil liberties, but society does not focus on this fact. Also, this political system may put significant political and legal decisions outside of elected officials' control (Diamond 8-9). An example of this would be a national military that is not accountable to elected officials and makes political decisions as an independent body. Liberal democracy, on the other hand, requires that all political decisions are left to officials that are accountable to the general public. Also, liberal democracies characteristically have a horizontal organization of officeholders who are accountable to one another (Diamond 10). This hinders any person or political body from becoming too powerful. In the United States, this is referred to as checks and balances. Each branch of government, the executive, judicial, and legislative, has the ability to restrict any other branch from becoming more powerful than the others. Also, liberal democracies provide many opportunities for political and civic pluralism. These societies also allow for individual freedoms, as well as group freedoms. The question is, are these characteristics necessary in order for a country to move towards a true democracy? Are freedom and civic engagement precursors to liberal democracy? Diamond doesn't make a broad statement answering these questions, but he does point out the fact that states that are characterized as liberal focus more on these aspects of society, rather than elections (pg 13). While political theory is always subjective, it may help to look at instances where democracy has been instituted without the roots of civic engagement and freedom present in the state's society.
More Than Genocide?
Back in 1885, the European world scrabbled for Africa at the Berlin conference. As luck would have it, Germany obtained the "rights" to the nations of Rwanda and Burundi. The Germans did not intend to directly colonize Rwanda, rather indirectly rule the country. This was accomplished by supporting a select group of natives. These natives were chosen based on their relatively lighter skin and more European features. These people were referred to as the Tutsis. While the Tutsis were a small minority amongst the population, they were quickly separated from the more African looking majority, the Hutus, both politically and economically. The Germans, and later the Belgians after WWI, favored the Tutsis by appointing them to political office as well granting them large amounts of land. In 1959, Rwanda became independent from Belgium and granted the right of self-government. In 1961, Belgians met with Rwandans and officially repealed the monarchy. Rwanda was now officially a republic. What followed were years of violence and threats by the Hutus against the Tutsis. After decades of oppression, the Hutus began the process of taking their power back. Elections placed the Hutu political party in the top office. However, this set off years of violence that resulted in roughly 20,000 deaths and mass emigration to neighboring countries such as Burundi. While Rwanda was officially termed a republic, it was barely an electoral democracy. In the first Presidential election, Juvenal Habyarimana ran unopposed and received 91% of the vote (Gourevitch 75). There were daily instances of Hutus burning Tutsi residences. The next several decades were marked with political unrest and violence. In 1994, after years of Hutus murdering Tutsis, the violence reached its peak. The Habyarimana government is thought to have organized the round up and extermination of every Tutsis possible located within the Rwandan borders. Habyarimana was murdered and radios assigned blame to Tutsis rebels. This only intensified the violence, and over the next four months, hundreds of thousands of Tutsis were killed. While there is no definite statistic of how many were killed, partly due to censorship from the Hutu government and the mass chaos of the entire situation, it is estimated that between 800,000 and over a million Tutsis were massacred. Many still believe that this estimate is far too low. So what's the point? Sure this was a tragic event, and many factors were at work. The artificial favoring of Tutsis, even though they were of the same heritage as Hutus, by the Europeans undoubtedly created tension between the two groups. But one has to look at the fact that under European rule, Rwanda was relatively stable. While no one would point to this period of time as ideal, mass genocide was not occurring. However, with the advent of a rough form of democracy, the root tensions were allowed to appear. My point is not that democracy causes genocide. I aim rather to point out the fact that Rwanda had very little history of civic engagement or freedom. Democracy was sprung on this country, which had no democratic roots. This basic form of democracy allowed the majority of oppressed Hutus to single out the minority of the Tutsis. A basic caveat of democracy is that it aims to protect the interests of the minority from the often dangerous will of the majority. Obviously, the Rwandan electoral democracy failed to do this. Although, the minority Democracy has historically protected is the rich from the poor. It has often failed in many culturues (including perhaps our own) to fully protect racial or other demographical minorities. While this is, of course, only one case study the lessons from it can be applied on a more broad basis. Looking at the current struggle in Iraq, it seems obvious that democracy is failing there as well. It can be concluded then that while democracy is an ideal form of government, it cannot work in name alone. Holding elections does not ensure the protection of freedom and equality or protection of minorities. Rather, forcing democracy on societies that do not have roots in these concepts, including strong tendencies towards civic engagement, not only fails to fix the situation, it often exposes root problems that other forms of government were able to keep in check. This is not to say that nations should stop working towards democracy. Instead, democracy should be a gradual, organic process initiated within a country. Outside forces creating artificial democratic institutions is not sufficient. Rather, nations must develop roots in freedom, equality, and civic engagement. Otherwise, tragedies such as the Rwandan genocide are not only possible, but probable.
Ideas of a Global Civil Society
Politicians talk about the needs of a civil society; in fact next to the state and the market, advisors to the US Government have suggested that it is 'the ultimate third way' of governing a society. In his inauguration speech US President George W Bush stated that: 'A civil society demands from each of us good will and respect, fair dealing and forgiveness.' Diplomats also talk of the value of a civil society. Addressing a conference recently UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan said: 'The United Nations once dealt only with Governments. By now we know that peace and prosperity cannot be achieved without partnerships involving Governments, international organizations, the business community and civil society. In today's world, we depend on each other.' Even journalists reflect on the likelihood of a civil society; the British journal The Economist recently commented: 'After decades of totalitarianism and centuries of autocracy, it would be silly to expect Russia to sprout a strong civil society.' There may be a lot of talk about a civil society - but what does it actually mean? "Civil society": can be difficult to understand, but although there are a number of conflicting definitions there is widespread agreement that during the past few decades, civil society receded and political/commercial society advanced in terms of their impact on people's lifestyles. Civil society is based on voluntary participation, whereas the state is based on coercion. It can be argued that political society in pseudo-democracies has a leg in each camp, consisting as it does of competing self-serving organized gangs intent on gaining control of state apparatus including who controls armed forces. Government is institutionalized coercion, and must be so since we have governments in order, essentially, to protect civil society from internal and external predators. Some define civil society to include only non-profit organizations, others define it to include only self-organizing communities of common interest, others apply the descriptor to all forms of non governmental cooperation including big business, while yet others define it to exclude all forms of institutionalized human activity. Consider a selection of images - anti-World Trade Organization demonstrators clashing with the police in capital cities across the world; volunteer rescue-workers from the developed nations helping to save victims of the Gujarat earthquake. Eco-warriors fighting to protect whales and dolphins; children being saved from a life of bonded labor in the carpet-factories of South and South-east Asia; millions of TV viewers across the world watching rock stars perform in Live Aid in 1985 to raise funds for famine-relief. What they have in common is that they're all aspects of civil society. The paradox about civil society is that it covers a vast range of activities - yet it's very hard to define. One description puts it quite succinctly: "A civil society is a public space between the state, market and the ordinary household, in which people can debate and take action." So that could include any voluntary collective activity in which people combine to achieve change on a particular issue - but not political parties, even though civil society has a political dimension. By this definition, civil society includes charities; neighborhood self-help schemes; international bodies like the UN or the Red Cross; religious-based pressure-groups; human rights campaigns in repressive societies; and non-governmental organizations improving health, education and living-standards in both the developed and developing nations. There is the question of whether civil society is - as its supporters claim - an essential feature of a free society? Does it provide a social structure in nations where government is non-existent or rudimentary? And if so, should criminal networks like the Mafia's of Colombia and Russia be considered as part of civil society? Sorting the range of different definitions in use isn't helped by the fact that what once distinguished government from the market was coercive force, present in the one and absent in the other. However, capital has steadily become more concentrated in fewer hands, and governments have relied more and more on big business to finance election campaigns. Therefore quite apart from governments' innate propensity to drift towards less than scrupulous capitalism, the above differentiating line has faded almost to non-existence. We see massive redistribution of income away from poor people, via taxation, to the wealthy and influential, and wars declared by wealthy states, at the expense of public services, purely to promote the interests of resource plundering transnational corporations. What impact will the rapidly changing field of information technology have on civil society? And how will phenomena such as the greenhouse effect, international migration, population growth, and the fight against HIV and Aids all shape our ideas of civil society in the future? There is more and more globalization in the world today than ever before. Issues like HIV/AIDS, global warming, regional wars, droughts, famines and genocides are witnessed and empathized with by millions of people around the world. This increase within the international, global community is taking the ideas of Civil Society to whole new perspectives. "Civil society refers to the set of institutions, organizations and behavior situated between the state, the business world, and the family. Specifically, this includes voluntary and non-profit organizations of many different kinds, philanthropic institutions, social and political movements, other forms of social participation and engagement and the values and cultural patterns associated with them," is the definition used by London School of Economics and Political Science. There is apparent implication that civil society is a network of institutions, but there is failure in the above definition to recognize that institutions are themselves often anti-social products of habituated human behavior and institutionalized ignorance. If there is agreement to lace the above definition's outcome with a realistic perception of the characteristics and ultra conservative outcomes of institutionalization, and with awareness that we need an agreed level of government because self-organized common interest groups aren't always socially benign (as illustrated by the lynch mob, the crowd of football hooligans, and white collar organized economic crime syndicates of the likes of Enron and Andersen), then there can be agreed summary along the lines of - an adaptable network of adaptable self-organizing networks of adaptable people. A few factors that would lead to improvement of the flux of Civil Society would be: More attention needs to be given to building capacity, particularly in respect of global civic groups that represent underprivileged circles. Increased efforts could be directed at expanding involvement in global civil society. Tran border civic activism would better realize the various potential benefits detailed earlier if the campaigns could attract larger followings and higher profiles than most associations have acquired thus far. Greater emphasis on outreach initiatives to the general public would help especially to advance the promise of global civil society in respect of civic education and the development of supraterritorial citizenship. The future development of global civil society should focus on enhancing diversity There is a need for increasing vigilance in respect of global civil society. This is not to support intrusive police-state surveillance of trans border civic groups, though democratic governance institutions have as much right and duty to monitor civic associations as vice versa. In addition, civil society workers can be urged to nurture a more self-critical attitude toward their practices, thereby catching and correcting their own democratic deficits. At present most civic associations lack a program of regular and systematic evaluation, conducted either internally or by external assessors (other than financial auditors). Some more grass roots questions about issues in the realm of Civil Society and Community Organizing for social change are addressed in the following questions for improvement of movements within Civil Society: How can peaceful marchers, those who engage in illegal civil disobedience, and those who engage in illegal acts of destroying corporate property coexist without turning on each other and detracting from the power of each other's efforts? How do we develop a broad movement that has many components in which no one component thinks it has a right to own the movement, but, instead, even with significant differences, room is opened for diverse modes of dissent, none supported by everyone, but all given room to function? How do different constituencies with different views about tactics and strategy, all belong to one large movement, none stifled in their aspirations and experiments, yet none encroaching on the rest by their choices? Indeed, how do we place this type mutual space and respect at the center of our movement efforts?