Community Organizing

Obama has said his five-year education, in what is euphemistically labeled "community organizing," was the best education he ever got anywhere.

A "community organizer" is an agitator -- a rabble-rouser. The agitator's job, according to Saul Alinsky, is first to bring folks to the "realization" that they are indeed miserable, that their misery is the fault of unresponsive governments or greedy corporations, then help them to bond together to demand what they deserve, and to make such an almighty stink that the dastardly governments and corporations will see imminent "self-interest" in granting whatever it is that will cause the harassment to cease.

Obama graduated from Columbia College in 1983 and briefly entered the commercial world, staying in New York for a little more than a year after graduation. He was employed by Business International Corporation before moving to the activist New York Public Interest Research Group.

Business International Corporation (BI) was a publishing and advisory firm dedicated to assisting American companies in operating abroad. In 1986, Business International was acquired by The Economist Group in London, and eventually merged with The Economist Intelligence Unit.

Obama's recollection of this period demonstrates his tendency towards puffery, writing in "Dreams...," (p. 135), that his first job after graduating Columbia was as a "research assistant" in "a consulting house to multinational corporations," with "my own office, my own secretary" and "myself in a suit and tie, a briefcase in my hand."

But as one of his former fellow workers (and an Obama supporter) has written, it wasn't a consulting house; it was a small company that published newsletters on international business, "a bit of a sweatshop" where casual attire and low pay were the norm. His job was essentially copyediting "in the cramped three Wang terminal space we called the bull pen."

Obama rejected the commercial world and joined the agitators at The New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG). Created by Ralph Nader in the 1970s, NYPIRG is New York State's largest student-directed consumer, environmental and government reform organization. It is a not-for-profit group, established to effect policy reforms while training students and other New Yorkers to be advocates. Since 1973, NYPIRG has played the key role in fighting for more than 120 public interest laws and executive orders.

During this period, Obama spent three months working for a NYPIRG offshoot up in Harlem, trying to convince the minority students at City College about the importance of recycling.