Co$t of War campaigns & on going work

ROP member groups have a long history of peace and anti-militarism organizing.

During WWII, African American soldiers would wave a Double V for victory abroad over the Nazis and victory at home over racism. Similarly today, while we are working to stop the war in Iraq, there is a domestic front to that war being waged here at home on the poorest and most vulnerable members of our community. All of this in the name of "security."

Here are some of our current, on-going, and past campaigns to create peace abroad and peace in our own communities at home.


President Obama once said “It’s not enough to get out of Iraq; we have to get out of the mindset that led us into Iraq.” Zinn asks us to identify that mindset – he suggests that it is imperialism, violence and the unrestricted free market that got us into our current mess – war and the economy. “We want a country that uses its resources, its wealth, and its power to help people, not to hurt them. That’s what we need,” Howard Zinn, (Changing Obama’s Mindset, May 2009 The Progressive)

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Oct 2008 KTA: Get Out the Vote

This month’s Kitchen Table Activism is to make your local group’s plan to Get Out The Vote (GOTV). Over 20 communities already have ballot measure forums scheduled with ROP – that is amazing! These forums are great ways to get in depth information to a smaller group of people that we hope will stay involved with our groups after election day, but we also need plans to reach large number of people with the compelling and concise information that is in the ROP STAND Voter Guide.

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ORGANIZE to End the War!

Sometimes it can seem like the threats to our democracy are too steep to overcome, but the only way to strengthen what we have is to exercise our voice, and organize. Yes, democracy is about voting, but it’s also about holding our elected representatives accountable to our beliefs and priorities year round. One of those issues that our representatives have NOT taken action on is the Unending War in Iraq.

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Rural Organizing Project Goals and Objectives 2008-2013

  1. Expand rural grassroots progressive power through our human dignity groups. Expand rural grassroots progressive power through our human dignity groups. Power is the simple act of being able to get what you want. It’s neutral. Now what you want to do with power is not neutral. For ROP, we want power to enfranchise people. We think the best way to do that is to create local human dignity groups in every small town community that are easy to find, function as movement centers to a variety of timely causes and are seeking to grow local power that is then connected in cross county lines.
    1. Map and analyze the distribution of power in no less than six communities each year; resulting in campaign work plans with each of these group’s leadership team
    2. Evaluate each component of ROP for intentional efforts to build power.
    3. Discuss how power (and solidarity, discipline) are core to enacting progressive policy outcomes at all ROP gatherings like the Caucus and board retreat, and weave these concepts into ROP’s vision, current program work and communication systems: ropnets, web site, KTAs and STAND newsletter.
  2. Support human dignity groups in expanding their capacity to effect social change. Time poverty and stressed communities means that many organizations find just a few people attempting to do too much. Without capacity, the systems to reduce repetitive work, the people trained and motivated to meet the group mission, the group does less and frustration grows.
    1. Assess local human dignity groups and ROP programs to ensure ROP resources are focused on member groups with an articulated and agreed-upon plan for capacity building; work with local groups to develop the three structural basics of leadership team, communication systems and organizing action plans.
    2. Ensure ROP staff works closely with 3-10 specific human dignity groups for defined cycles of time to assist the groups in meeting benchmarks for local capacity growth.
    3. Ensure at least one anchor group exists in each region.
  3. Break rural isolation in all 36 counties. Isolation limits development of beloved community as fewer people volunteer, see the benefits of civic participation or even know how to get involved. Technology can reduce isolation especially when coupled with genuine efforts to build ongoing relationships. Such civic outreach is nothing new to human dignity groups but creating a process to pair systems with people so that we can track our outreach, is new, exciting and cumbersome. The objectives make manageable steps towards a new era of community building with an old concept of welcome wagons.
    1. Broaden the “Welcome Wagon” approach of human dignity groups to recruit an annually agreed number of new contacts into ongoing relationship with local group and ROP. Set, track and assess cumulative goals for repeat outreach.
    2. Track relationship building as an organizing tool (sit-down coffees and living-room conversations) through data base recording and reporting.
    3. Create plans with targeted groups to resolve barriers to movement growth, including quality communication style, skill-building on distribution, training, and one-on-one mentoring and support.
    4. Enhance the ability of technology to capture new and existing relationships by annually reviewing the ROP database to measure growth and make refinements.
    5. Use the ROP office as a hub for supporting local database development and maintaining back-up databases for local groups. Develop a statement of principles on database use, purpose and process.
    6. Explore use of new database technology, such as the Center for Commnity Change voter file database, to find new contacts to approach for on-going relationships that expand the political education circle of human dignity groups and ROP.
  4. Use multi-issue organizing to promote race, class, gender justice to create policy outcomes in our communities. Policies inscribe societal commitments, how we will behave, what we can expect, what we value. Ultimately, progressive social change is institutionalized politically and culturally in the policies adopted. ROP pledges to work towards policy outcomes that use a race, class, gender justice lens to entrench democracy for all. And to prioritize the political education need for ourselves to be vigilant of dominant culture.
    1. Analyze and describe how ROP is unique in make-up, values and focus and our associated strategic advantages in organizing for human dignity, peace and justice so that it shapes how we proceed in ranking campaigns and issues; i.e., what do we bring to each issue that is uniquely valuable?
    2. Record and communicate the story of how and why ROP makes the links between issues of human dignity, peace, and social, economic, gender, and racial justice.
    3. Develop tools and a shared language for the ROP story to be used by all human dignity groups and insure that one anchor group per region is adept at telling the story.
    4. Help human dignity groups create their own stories that focus on local history, issues and attitudes; and speak meaningfully to the local community.
    5. Create and implement a framework, incorporating our core values and unique attributes, that ROP and local human dignity groups will use to evaluate and determine which campaigns or issues to work on and to design our programs.
  5. Assure that ROP’s organizational health is sustainable in both leadership and funding. Assure that ROP’s organizational health is sustainable in both leadership and funding. Creating the world we envision will require time, the patience to measure progress in decades and the commitment to imagine the organization and systems we need to keep warriors for justice active – in short, it requires seeing a plan for our own health as important as the health for the world community. ROP commits to focusing on growing our own resources so that rural Oregonians can know that an organization by and for them will be around over the long haul.
    1. Create an annual plan for economic sustainability that explores new foundations, incorporates fees for service, explores creative revenue options, and expands our grassroots donor base; track successes in each category through year-end; ensure annual Board review of revenue sources compared to prior years.
    2. Engage leadership and human dignity groups in grassroots fundraising for the ROP.
    3. Create a plan to better integrate among fundraising into staff workplans and program work. Promote staff members and our expanding leadership circle to meet annual, individual goals.
    4. Design and implement ROP’s programs to offer a range of approaches to develop leadership mastery of ROP’s organizing principles and practices; evaluate the programs and results at each annual Caucus.
    5. Recruit and develop 3 -5 new leaders in each District or region per year; support their growth to lead effective human dignity groups and ROP.
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Aug 2008 KTA: Making Our STAND: Order ROP Voter Guides by August 15th.

This month’s Kitchen Table Activism is to make your order for ROP’s Voter Guide, STAND: Small Town Actions for New Democracy.  Our voter guide – designed by and for small town and rural voters – is renowned for breaking down confusing ballot initiatives and making tough issues accessible all within a pro-democracy, common sense framework that appeals to a broad spectrum of the community.  

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Host a Movie Night

Bringing together a group of people in your community to view a film on immigration is a great way to start a discussion on a very timely topic. Most of the films listed below can be borrowed for free from ROP’s film library. Contact us with the date you would like to show the film and your top choice and we will get the film to you in time for your local movie night. Email to reserve a film today.

ROP’s Recommended Immigration Film Resources:

UPROOTED: Refugees of the Global Economy is a compelling documentary about how the global economy has forced people to leave their home countries. UPROOTED presents three stories of immigrants who left their homes in Bolivia, Haiti, and the Philippines after global economic powers devastated their countries, only to face new challenges in the United States. These powerful stories raise critical questions about U.S. immigration policy in an era when corporations cross borders at will. (28 minutes) Sign up to borrow this film from ROP (we will ship it to you!) or purchase it online. $20 + $3.50 shipping.

Wetback: The Undocumented Documentary
Persistent massive unemployment has left millions of Central Americans desperately impoverished, with little choice but to migrate to jobs in Canada and the U.S. Wetback is a powerful record of the journey of five Nicaraguans, with no documents and little money, as they make their way north on a dangerous journey. This harrowing film examines the paradox of the “wetback” worker the closer they get to the elusive “free world,” the less free they are and the more “illegal” they become. Following immigrants from Central America and Mexico on often extremely dangerous journeys to North America, Wetback examines the complexities of the immigration issues facing people on both sides of the border. From the U.S. patrol guarding the border to the immigrants risking their lives to cross it, Wetback focuses on the many obstacles in their way, including gangs and vigilantes, to expose the larger problems behind immigration rhetoric. (87 minutes) Borrow this film from ROP or purchase it online. $20.

Oregon Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride
In October 2003, 18 buses of immigrant workers and allies traveled across the country and converged in Washington DC and New York City to lobby and demonstrate for the rights of 31 million immigrants. This film tells the story of the 47 Freedom riders that rode the bus from Oregon across the country. The bus carried immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, China, Taiwan, Palestine, the Philippines, and Siberia as well as African American and white supporters. Follow the riders, rally in communities across the country, and visit the halls of Congress with them as they share their stories of why they chose to spend 12 days on a bus to stand up for the rights and human dignity of immigrants. (1 hour) Borrow this film from ROP or purchase by contacting or 503-543-8417. $15 + shipping.

Rights on the Line: Vigilantes at the Border
“Rights on the Line: Vigilantes at the Border” exposes the ugly anti-immigrant politics that lurk behind the Minuteman Project – and shows the continuum between official border militarization and vigilante action. This video was shot by human rights activists and residents of border communities. It tells the story of border tensions from the point of view of those affected and reveals the underlying motivations of the vigilantes through interviews and disturbing footage of their nighttime patrols. Purchase this film online:


CLICK HERE to Download Poster (.pdf)

CLICK HERE to download Adobe Acrobat Reader (free)

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What is Kitchen Table Activism?

Kitchen Table Activism (KTA) is a monthly project of the Rural Organizing Project. Often building on quarterly themes, short actions are described in each KTA. The theory is that basic steps and tasks can lead to powerful collective results as small groups of people gather to complete the same action throughout the state of Oregon. ROP works to keep the basic tasks easily achievable so that groups with other projects or groups with limited immediate energy can still manage to complete the KTA each month.

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