The participatory nature of organizing is crucial, regardless of the
type of organizing it is. The inclusive process we've been describing
may ultimately depend on direct action and the exercise of political
power for success, but it may also depend on collaboration. Locality
development can also be an exercise in bringing together all the sectors
of a community -- even those that normally wield the power -- in an
effort to improve conditions and the quality of life for everyone.
Who is included in the definition of "community" depends
on the situation that exists to begin with. If the purpose of organizing
is to gain equal footing or fair treatment for a group that has had
neither, then that group is the community in question. If the aim is to
revive a town whose economy has all but died, or to improve health
conditions across the board, then all citizens are the constituency.
The ideal situation is one in which everyone in the locality can be
persuaded to work together, and in which everyone's interests are
attended to. In reality, this situation may be rare, but it's something
worth striving for. Building a community and developing an
infrastructure that makes it possible for people to work together are
necessary regardless of the aim of organizing.
There are a number of basic steps to locality development that we'll
discuss, more or less in the order in which they should be taken."More
or less" because each community and situation is unique. In some cases,
you may need to work on several things at once, or to take a particular
step out of order, or even skip it entirely. It's important to respond
to the circumstances that exist.
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