April 28, 2008


A friend of El Cabrero's recently asked me to help out in a workshop on the topic of writing for social change. The invitation prompted many thoughts and this is as good a place as any to unload them.

First up, over the last 20 years, I've been involved in several campaigns aimed at improving conditions or making things less bad for workers, children, and low income people and some of them have been successful. And some kind of writing by some people has played a part in just about every one of them.

It does seem that those who are able to craft and convey messages effectively, which at some point means writing, have a big advantage over those who aren't, all things being equal. However, all things usually aren't equal and writing by itself usually isn't enough to make something good happen or keep something bad from happening. That usually involves coalitions, social capital and networking, strategy, research, civic engagement, etc.

Writing won't get you all the way there, but you probably won't get there without it.

More tomorrow.

ONCE UPON A TIME, one income was enough to raise a family. What happened? Here are economist Jared Bernstein's reflections.

BELT TIGHTENING. From changing habits to meal planning, the recession is hitting home all over.

SUPPLY SIDE SNAKE OIL. Here's another nail in the coffin of the idea that tax cuts "pay for themselves."

DE COLORES. Here's the latest edition of the Rev. Jim Lewis' Notes from Under the Fig Tree. It's pretty colorful.

DIAL A BUG WITH A PLANT. I'm not sure what relevance this item has to the topic at hand, whatever that may be, but recent studies by ecologists suggest that above ground and underground insects communicate with each other using plants "like telephones."



Jay said...

I'm not writing for social change, but I am writing about social change(fiction)and I'm trying to do some research about VISTA's in WV in the '70s but I'm having a hard
time finding materials. No books, no websites. Nothing.

What I'm looking for is just the basic mechanism of the system, really. Things like management hierarchy, living arrangements, degree of autonomy in work, etc...

Any suggestions? Is there a "Memoirs Of A VISTA Worker" out there that I'm not finding? Would someone be willing to answer a few questions by phone or e-mail? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Digging the blog as always, El Cabrero.

El Cabrero said...

Interesting topic. WV Public Broadcasting did something about that a while back. I know some people who were Vistas or Appalachian Volunteers. Why don't you send me an email at RWilson@afsc.org and we can talk about it.