choir at MOC ConventionThe Industrial Areas Foundation

West/Southwest IAF

Common Ground


Blessed Are the Organized: Grassroots Democracy in America, Jeffrey Stout, 2010. Princeton University Religion Professor Jeffrey Stout describes the philosophy and practice of IAF organizing in the contemporary South and Southwest.

Going Public: An Organizer’s Guide to Citizen Action, Michael Gecan, 2004. This book by Northeast IAF regional director Michael Gecan describes the IAF’s organizing philosophy and the tools utilized in the IAF’s considerable successes in New York and the surrounding area.

Roots for Radicals: Organizing for Power, Action and Justice, Edward T. Chambers, 2003. IAF National Director Edward Chambers outlines the IAF’s philosophy of relational organizing in this sequel to Alinsky’s writings.

Upon This Rock: The Miracles of a Black Church, Samuel Freedman, 1994. This profile of Reverend Johnny Ray Youngblood describes the contribution of the IAF’s organizing to the growth and development of an east New York congregation.

Let Them Call Me Rebel: Saul Alinsky, His Life and Legacy, Sanford H. Horwitt, 1992. A comprehensive biography of Saul Alinsky, the founder of the Industrial Areas Foundation.

Cold Anger: A Story of Faith and Power in Politics, Mary Beth Rogers, 1990. Profile of Ernesto Cortes, the Southwest Director of the IAF. Features many stories of IAF organizing throughout Texas.

Rules for Radicals, Saul Alinsky, 1971. Near the end of his life Alinsky wrote this classic guide outlining his rules for building power.

Reveille For Radicals, Saul Alinsky, 1946. The founder of the Industrial Areas Foundation, Saul Alinsky, wrote this book on his experiences organizing through the early 1940s.

The Soul of Capitalism: Opening Paths to a Moral Economy, William Greider, 2003. Chapter Four, “Work Rules.” Greider describes the work of the Baltimore IAF in creating workers’ organizations that enable workers to own their own companies and lift themselves out of poverty.

Better Together: Restoring the American Community, Robert Putnam Lewis Feldstein and Donald Cohen, 2004. Chapter 1, “Valley Interfaith: The Most Dangerous Thing We Do Is Talk to Our Neighbors.” The authors highlight the South Texas IAF organization as a model of civic engagement and an antidote to the decline of civic life in the United States.

Who Will Tell The People: The Betrayal of American Democracy, William Greider, 1992. Chapter 10, “Democratic Promise.” Greider describes the work of the IAF in Texas, offering the organization as a model for mediating the gulf between American politicians and the citizens they represent.

Gathering Power: The Future of Progressive Politics in America, Paul Osterman, 2003. MIT professor of management Paul Osterman argues in this book that the IAF’s strategies of institution-based organizing provide the outline for revitalizing progressive politics in America.

Dry Bones Rattling: Community Building to Revitalize American Democracy, Mark Warren, 2001. An in-depth description of the Southwest IAF in Texas in which Professor Warren argues that a robust democracy requires connecting politics to community institutions.

Community Organizing for Urban School Reform, Dennis Shirley, 1997. Professor Shirley’s persuasive book argues that school reform must recognize the role of community in shaping educational experience and describes the successes of the IAF’s educational strategy as evidence of the value of connecting community organizing to efforts at improving achievement.


photo by Mindy Pines