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March 25, 2010

What Progressives Must Learn from the ACORN Debacle

by Rinku Sen

I’ve been expecting it for months, but I was still bummed to see the official announcement: ACORN, a decades-old community organizing powerhouse, will be closing its operations permanently as of April 1.

I’m not [an] ACORN apologist. The organization had some serious quality-control issues, and hasn't always played well with others. The embezzlement could have been handled more forthrightly, for example, and in the struggle over Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards stadium project, a number of New York activists charged ACORN with cutting an inadequate deal with developers. I am struck now, though, by the ease with which a 40-year-old stalwart could be taken down with a flimsy, if concerted right-wing smear campaign. Some of the challenges ACORN faced are commonplace among progressive organizations and leaders. Loose internal oversight combined with poor media and communications skills left the organization prey to shoddy corporate journalism, all of which contributed to this outcome.


NoLandGrab: Activists don't think ACORN's deal with Forest City Ratner was inadequate — they think it was flat wrong.

Posted by eric at March 25, 2010 8:54 PM