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Community Organizer Visits Baghdad

After years of helping residents of Chicago communities get basic services, organizer Elce Redmond is bringing the tricks of his trade to Iraq.

Joining a six-member Christian Peacemaker Team delegation traveling to Iraq from September 16 to 30, the South Austin Coalition organizer said he planned to work with Baghdad residents who have been unable to get water, sewer, and electrical services — “good bread-and-butter issues to organize around” — targeting local Bechtel Corp. officials who are responsible for Baghdad’s infrastructure repair.

“I believe that community organizing is a great tool to address issues of oppression and disenfranchisement,” Redmond said. “If we can get some victories, we can get them to see that non-violent community organizing is the way to go, rather than violence.”

Redmond has conducted leadership development and organizing trainings in a number of war-torn countries, including Bosnia-Herzogovina, Northern Ireland, Argentina, East Timor, and Cote D’Ivory.

As he was leaving, news media were reporting that many infrastructure repair projects were being suspended by the U.S. for lack of funds, and money was going to hire private security forces to guard unfinished water and electric projects.

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Category: international, organizing, peace

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