Reading Randy on a Sunday afternoon

June 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

Organisations that have the potential to achieve success on ‘big picture’ issues disempower themselves when they instead focus on agendas – such as more police – that politicians are eager to accommodate. Grassroots neighbourhood groups have the power to redirect public debate over crime toward nonpunitive, preventive solutions; organisers endorsing such solutions are best serving their constituency’s concerns about crime…This is not ‘telling people what’s important to them’; rather, it is a process of ensuring that people know all the implications linked to pursuing certain goals…the issue is not whether residents’ concerns over crime should be ignored; rather, it is how to develop a specific agenda to address the local preconditions creating the criminal landscape. Once crime is placed in the broader context of an overall action plan for the neighbourhood, activism can move toward winning specific and demonstrable improvements in residents’ lives. (Randy Shaw, 1996, The Activist’s Handbook: A Primer University of California Press, p. 40-1)

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