LOCOA Young Community Organizers Statement
We, young LOCOA organizers from Indonesia, Korea, the Philippines, Myanmar and Thailand, gathered in Seoul, Korea at this forum from June 11 to 29, 2012 to share and learn from each other’s experiences in community organizing work according to established CO processes and principles.
We have learned from our field visits how organizing work has been implemented in Korea, applying CO processes and principles.
Participants from each country have presented and shared their actual experiences in community organizing in their respective communities. From these presentations, we have learned how each country practices CO processes according to CO principles, as well as identified common issues, which have given rise to analysis, identification of common goals, and processes for achieving these goals.
We have benefited tremendously by learning from lectures delivered by senior Korean organizers about community organizing in Asia, including the history of the CO movement in Korea. The opportunity to learn directly from these pioneers has been inspirational, and we vow to do our best to carry on the tradition of organizing that they have started.
Through the process of discussion and sharing, we have reflected on CO philosophy, and practice, leading to our identification of a common basic definition of community organizing, CO processes, principles, the role of community organizers, and a basic success standard for community organizing
We have conducted solidarity demonstrations near the Cambodian embassy to demand the release of imprisoned community leaders from Beoung Kak Lake, Phnom Penh, and at the Japanese embassy in support of the homeless in Japan, who are facing eviction, deprivation of livelihood, and other violations of basic human rights.
As a result of the workshop, we have determined common problems and issues and established a commitment by the young organizers from each country to carry out solidarity activities according to their capacity to address these common pressing issues and problems.
Most importantly, we have devised a common action plan that will link us together in solidarity to create a strong force with the capacity to affect genuine progressive social change with the poor. The joint action plan includes the following elements:
1) A commitment to undertake solidarity support actions to pressure decision makers when called upon to do so by others in the network. Potential cases that might require action in the immediate future include mobilizations to support the homeless in Japan facing evictions, the people of Porong confronting Lapindo’s drilling operations, the residents of Boeung Kak Lake, and the communities living along rivers and waterways threatened by eviction in Jakarta, Manila and Bangkok.
2) An informal “backpack” exchange program to promote further mutual learning and solidarity, which can be undertaken anytime, beginning now.
3) A program for joint practical CO training in one location, which will be implemented within the next 2 years
4) Coordinated mobilizations annually on World Habitat Day, whereby the particular target in 2012 will be the World Bank on the issue of the evictions along the rivers and waterways in Jakarta, Manila and Bangkok, and other World Bank supported development projects that negatively impact the poor.
5) A “one CO, one area” program to be initiated within one month (with monthly updates thereafter) that involves young organizers concentrating on establishing or strengthening their organizing work in accordance with genuine CO processes and principles in a particular site, then using this practical work experience as the basis for continual exchange and solidarity with other young organizers in the network, while also synthesizing these practical experiences for use in further developing CO theory.
6) Developing a communications mechanism that involves the use of a facebook group to maintain contact and ongoing exchange through the “one CO, one area” program and e-mail for communication relating to other activities in the joint action plan.
We have been inspired by our learning from those who have come before us as well as from our peers, and reinvigorated by our last 18 days of living and sharing together. Now, we LOCOA young community organizers, hereby solemnly pledge to implement the above-mentioned joint action plan to the best of our ability. We firmly believe our actions will reinforce our common bond as LOCOA young community organizers. Through our actions, we also aspire to channel our steadfast solidarity toward concretely empowering the urban poor throughout Asia so that they can struggle effectively against the myriad injustices of neoliberalism.