Transformative Populism and the Development of Community of Color
Kennedy, Marie; Tilly, Chris; Gaston, Mauricio
Kennedy was a supporter and key worker in Mel King's 1983 Boston mayoral campaign. King had projected a vision of populism that the authors describe as "transformative," in contrast to that of Ray Flynn's "redistributive populism" -- where a common consciousness of the struggle of the have-nots against class oppressors and exploiters is seen as a means to a better share of the common pie. In contrast, "transformative populism" sees the development of consciousness as both a means and an end in itself, a share of wealth not elevated over the sense of self worth of variously identified individuals and groups. This difference became critical on questions of race. In the Boston election and its aftermath, "Flynn asserted ... that 'the real problem' is economic discrimination ...” King, in contrast, targeted racism as a serious problem in its own right and challenged whites and blacks to confront the problem. Flynn won the election, but groups like the Coalition for Community Control of Development continued to agitate for a broader approach throughout Flynn's mayoralty.
Temple University Press
Previously Published As
Chapter 13, pp. 302-323, in: Dilemmas of Activism: Class, Community, and the Politics of Local Mobilization, Joseph Kling and Prudence Posner, eds. (Phiiladelphia: Temple University Press, 1990).