After the recent release of  the book “The People Shall Rule: ACORN, Community Organizing, and the Struggle for Economic Justice,” Professor Robert Fisher has been in the news.  A distinguished scholar and professor of community organization at the University of Connecticut, Fisher shares a critical analysis on the contributions and challenges of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), the nation’s largest community organization of low- and moderate-income families in the nation.

National and local media have sought Professor Fisher’s expertise about ACORN since Vanderbilt University Press released his book. Fisher’s specializations and research interests include community organizing, urban policy, social movements and theory, and social welfare history.  He is widely published on issues of urban policy, privatization and social service delivery, community organization and neighborhoods, and urban social movements. Fisher’s works include the well regarded book, Let the People Decide: Neighborhood Organizing in America, and more recently co-author of Settlement Houses Under Siege: The Struggle to Sustain Community Organizations in New York City.

Excerpts and links to full articles follow.

As ACORN grew, so did its clout and its problems

By Barbara Barrett | McClatchy Newspapers, Posted on Friday, September 18, 2009. The story was reprinted in several national and local newspapers and internet news sites.

“Robert Fisher, a professor of community organization at the University of Connecticut, said ACORN and its budget grew significantly during the second Bush administration as society became more stratified.

“ACORN was being a force for progressive change,” said Fisher, editor of an upcoming book, “The People Shall Rule: ACORN, Community Organizing, and the Struggle for Economic Justice,” due out next month from Vanderbilt University Press.

ACORN succeeded in part, he said, because it worked as a blend of local activists backed by a national structure.

“In their campaign against H&R Block, they were able to hold demonstrations at Block offices at 55 different sites around the nation simultaneously, so they could get the attention of a Fortune 500 company,” Fisher said.

“All of a sudden they had this infusion of money,” Fisher said. “They became much more of a national force. … They needed to become more formalized and more careful about what was going on, and they made errors.”

Read the complete article at: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2009/0919/p02s13-usgn.html

ACORN scandal: How much federal funding does it get?

By Michael B. Farrell | The Christian Science Monitor, September 19, 2009 edition

The group’s dual local and national focus is considered unique in the world of community organizing, says Robert Fisher, professor of community organization at the University of Connecticut in Hartford and editor of a book on ACORN.

Professor Fisher says the scorn directed at ACORN “comes with the turf” because the group has become a significant player in US politics.

But, he adds, in the current debate about ACORN, “it seems that only one side is being heard.”

Read the complete article at: http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0919/p02s13-usgn.html .

For more information regarding Professor Fisher’s book and its content, http://www.vanderbilt.edu/university-press/book/9780826516572