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Abstract

Among the many challenges community action faces after four decades, none cuts more deeply into its central mission than the political and ideological transformation reflected in the rise of the conservative right. Based on a potent combination of grass roots and institutional organizing, coalition-building, ideological mobilization, and inter/intra party politics, the right-wing takeover has empowered a political and policy establishment that is hostile not only to the ideas that animated the War on Poverty but to the very idea of public action against social and economic inequality. While this transformation has kept community action on the defensive, confronting the challenge will require reanimating —and realizing — the vision of community action as a vital force in progressive movement building and politics.

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