Rural Organizing Project is an organization that helps Community Organizations. It provides in-person, on-sight assistance and open access to research, data libraries, communication techniques, established networks and scheduled regional meetings and caucuses.
Once a year, R.O.P. meets at their headquarters in Woodburn, OR in an organization-wide caucus, strategy meeting and social get together. Janelle Cedergreen and I, representing Power of One attended the meeting this year. The meeting, held on June 8th, was eclectic, enthusiastic, fun and very instructive. It was deliberately casual and very focused on networking. Attendees covered a wide spectrum from every race, sexual orientation, social class and level of education. R.O.P.’s strong Latino involvement and physical location in Woodburn was of benefit and instructive.
The framework of the Caucus was well organized. There was an initial coffee with breakfast rolls; followed by a general assembly with introductions, statements of purpose and reports. After a break there were key-subject work sessions and round-robin discussion groups. Each attendee selected which work session they wanted to attend for the day. Lunch was next, followed by the afternoon session. The conclusion consisted of round-robin strategy workshops for each key-subject group. A BBQ and socializing events concluded the day.
The work sessions were titled:
• Race in the next 20 years
• Debt and Economic Refugees
• Aspirational Vision of the Small Town Commons in 2033
• Extraction Economies, Multinational Corps, Climate Change & Human Dignity
I attended the Extraction Economy Session. Janelle attended the Small Town Commons Session.
The Extraction Economies Session proffered the idea that “Economic growth over everything else does not, and is not, working”. It looked at what has occurred, e.g. Coal Trains into Port Westward; the mortgage crises and big banks; genetic (GMO) modification and control of seeds, worldwide, especially in the United States. The session discussed reactions by Community Organizations, like our own Power of One, and how such groups help community consciousness, commitment and actions in providing solutions. To elaborate, we looked at how energy companies, especially those dealing in fossil fuels, work to divide, overwhelm and conquer large segments of population with money manipulation, propaganda, corruption and legal bullying. Solution strategy was laid out: i.e.
• Refusal to be divided and “just go along” / Organize and fight for your rights
• Emphasizing of human-dignity, transparency and democracy
• Empower the Community: e.g. “Kitchen Table” Talks and forums = exposure
• Creating change thru communication and social action/boots on the ground