Increasing space and influence though community organizing and citizen monitoring: experiences from the USA.
In the United States, politics is heavily dominated by the large middle class and strong economic interests. As a relatively small minority, poor people thus face particular challenges in influencing important policy decisions. They have neither the numbers nor the wealth to have easy access to decision makers, and there is little officially sanctioned \"space\" and opportunity for them to have an influence. Poor people in the USA must therefore be highly organised and active to have any influence on the issues which matter most. They must build powerful mass-based organisations to represent their interests, and become highly creative in developing sophisticated strategies to maximise their influence. They must take full advantage of the political space which is open to them (\"their space\") and work to expand it. They must also create new space of their own (\"our space\") where they can organise people and build organisations which increase their power, capacity, sophistication and influence.
IDS Bulletin - Vol 35 No 2, pp. 91-98 [DOI: 10.1111/j.1759-5436.2004.tb00126.x]