By Akwugo Emejulu
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Additional info for Community Development as Micropolitics: Comparing Theories, Policies and Politics in America and Britain
Thus they focused their outreach work on those whom they deemed to be less intelligent and inarticulate to participate in decision-making. In response to this seemingly contradictory policy, a staffer in the Johnson Administration, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who would go on to become an influential Senator, replied: Mobilisation for Youth is going to get hold of a lower level of true and genuine leaders who are – what? – inarticulate, irresponsible and relatively unsuccessful? I am sorry but I suspect that proposition…These are not the principles [to recruit] indigenous leadership.
The Democracy discourse constructs the process of building a movement of people to articulate and demand social, political and economic rights as of equal importance as the success of achieving those rights: ‘Whatever you seek to achieve as an end must be evidenced in the process by which you seek to accomplish it’ (Polletta 2004, 61). Building indigenous leadership requires not only a commitment to democratic ideals but also the adoption of a set of particular practices to support the decision-making and collective action of local people.
How these ideas are defined, how groups might work to achieve these goals and what society would look like if power was redistributed or new institutions were created remains unclear. What is known is that the people may gain freedom from illusions about themselves and their society. This alternative perspective on the meaning of ‘radicalism’, I argue, has been written out of the history of community development. Helping to write the Democracy discourse out of the history of community development is the Poverty discourse.