Fordham Urban Law Journal
Community Economic Development (“CED”) and community-based social justice non-profits more generally have been criticized by social justice lawyers, legal scholars, practitioners, and activists, who charge that these efforts too often overlook the structural drivers of inequality, strip social justice movements of their confrontational, activist politics, and fail to give community members meaningful control over their programs. Over the past decades, anti-authoritarian activists — perhaps most famously known through Occupy Wall Street — have developed new frameworks for social change movements based on philosophical commitments to horizontalism, autonomism, and prefigurative politics. Many anti-authoritarian activists have turned their attention to creating community-based social change groups. These groups often engage in both activism and service provision, but do so outside of traditional frameworks for community-based organizations. These “community counter-institutions” hold the potential to address some of the critiques of CED models, and may develop to become more confrontational, democratic, and inclusive community-based social change organizations that still provide essential community services as part of their work. Transactional social change lawyers can play an important supportive role in helping anti-authoritarian activists to develop these new models.
CED after #OWS: From Community Economic Development to Anti-Authoritarian Community Counter-Institutions, 43 Fordham Urb. L.J. 295
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