Bland though the subject may be, in view Sen. Obama's claim to community organizing fame, I felt it personally compelling to more precisely define what a Community Organizer really is. Allow me to share my meager findings.
When asked by his college classmates what a community organizer (CO)is, Sen. Obama is quoted in his autobiography as having stated "I couldn't answer them." Since my research is unable to develop an accurate, authoritative and widely accepted definition either, his reply, though unenlightening, is nonetheless some source of solace.
Though being protested, here is Wikipedia's tentative definition of "community organizing": "a process by which people living in close proximity to each other are brought together to act in their common self-interest. CO's act as area-wide coordinators of programs for different agencies in an attempt to meet community needs for various services. CO's work actively, as do other types of social workers, in community councils of social agencies and in community action groups. At times the role of CO's overlap that of social palnners."
Though Wikipedia is having a devil of a time defining CO and seems to concede that the definition may ultimately be a subjective exercise, it's important to note that the U.S. Occupational Outlook handbook doesn't list "community organizer" as a job listing. However, according to the U.S. government CO's "come under paid for nonprofits" and are defined as "activists [who] recruit and organize members of a common community to work for a cause, they publicize and lead community gatherings and discussions and meet with government agencies and the leaders of nonprofits."
(You may now stretch.)
Though this is probably more than you ever wanted to know about the subject, by the Wikipedia definition I gather that the local military recruiter could be said to be a CO. For that matter, a godfather of organized crime could be considered a CO. And though never self-identifed as such, Mahatma Ghandi, Marthin Luther King Jr., Christ, albeit our savior, and leaders of gay rights and anti-war activists could also be described as CO's.
So, after all is said and done, it appears that CO's are, in shorthand, "activists who recruit and organize members of a community to work for a cause." Just what cause is entirely up to the CO in question, and in Sen. Obama's case my research exposes precious little in the way of specific, substantive or otherwise remarkable accomplishments. (Perhaps CO accomplishments are not measureable, but who really knows.) So, how his CO experience has any significant relevance to his presidential qualifications is, at best, still painfully elusive.
Of special interest and concern to me, however, is the fact that during my research "community organizing" as a regimen/field/discipline/occupational speciality, especially as it relates to Chicago's South Side, appears to be built upon the socialist philosophy of one Saul Alinsky, a radical socialist who wrote "Rules for Radicals" (1971) and "Reveille for Radicals"(1946).
Alinsky championed "social reform", aka "change", which had as its aim the destruction of the upper and middle classes through political struggle and the redistribution of income. Alinsky's name continually popped up in my CO research, for it was his socialist activities and principles that guided the Developing Communities Project in Sough Side/Chicago for which Sen. Obama worked in 1985 for a $13K salary and the use of an automobile.
So, is it mere serendipity that such populist and seductive terms such as "change", "fairness", "economic security" and "social justice" are at the very core of Sen. Obama's presidential campaign rhetoric? I think not. For when one considers his choice of radical associations over the years and the strong expressions of support, outright endorsements and praise extended to him by the likes of the Democratic Socialists of America, Fidel Castro, Hamas, George Galloway, MoveOn.org, Daily Kos, Louis Farrakhan, ACORN, Daniel Ortega, Hollywood elites, Qaddafi, Jane Fonda, Tom Hayden and the Communist Party USA, among other far-leftists, the obvious answer to my query is academic. And it is on that basis that I believe America's got a very serious problem, perhaps insuperable, on its hands, i.e. a stealthy socialist takeover of the American government in November by a wily CO.
With the toxic specter of an Obama Administration in league with a Democratically-dominated Congress before us, it looks like all we can do is pray and work very hard to elect decent and well-grounded Republicans and Conservatives to Congress, continue to expose the excesses and chicanery of the Democratic elites at every turn, and to soundly defeat Obama at the polls. Let's wish ourselves and this great nation, already under seige, copious good fortune in this challenging endeavor.