Yes, it just may be possible that there are a few honest, helpful community organisers on this earth. One of them, Rey Lopez-Calderon, appears to be one of the good guys who went into organising to genuinely help the underprivileged. He’s worked with the United Farm Workers in California and in the Pilsen neighbourhood in Chicago.
He also worked for the Gamaliel Foundation, recipients of Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CHD) funding. And that’s where he got a slightly different insight about community organising. He wrote his story recently for Blogcritics. It’s called ‘Walking the Edge of Immorality’. What a picture he paints.
As regular readers of Churchmouse Campanologist know, Gamaliel’s head organiser is a chap named Greg Galluzzo, who is either an ex-Jesuit or went to a Jesuit seminary — reports differ. Barack Obama also worked for them in the early 1990s.
By way of apology, Rey says:
The idea of an international, faith-based organization that brings together people of all colors and creeds is certainly a noble cause. But the organization’s philosophy was flawed from day one. I worked for Gamaliel in the late 1990s up until 2001…
My former mentors, Greg Galluzzo and his wife Mary Gonzalez, took over the Gamaliel Foundation after breaking with the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), the organization founded by Saul Alinsky. Gamaliel’s leadership system was built on notes obtained from the IAF …
Working life was more Alinsky-oriented than faith-based. It certainly wasn’t Catholic. Rey says:
I have never seen such a strange and warped culture anywhere. Staff were pitted against each other by Galluzzo and Gonzalez.
Galluzzo, in Rey’s words:
wanted organizers to be tough bastards who could build power like the Conquistadors … (no virtù needed at all).
felt that organizers should fight fire with fire.
used to give a cultish advanced training seminar titled ‘Walking the Edge of Immorality’ where he repeatedly stated ‘the ends justifies the means’ and nonchalantly told us that to have an impact on society we had to be willing to ‘lie, cheat, and steal for the greater good’.
… We could be shady to get power but once we had enough power, knowing the Good would be enough for us to make the right decisions.
Too bad Galluzzo … skipped the course on Aristotle where he would have learned that character is a function of habit — i.e. doing shady things makes you shady whether or not you grasp the Good. The final straw for me was when Galluzzo sent out a weekly report with a reflection that we organizers needed to promote a noble myth to our churches that our work was about justice, God, and peace even though we really knew it was about power.
He knows it’s the wrong way to go about things. Okay, he’s way, way to the left and works with IAF affiliates — you can read his blog here. I can’t see the point in encouraging victimhood in this day and age. Whatever happened to character and virtue? However, do note his conclusion:
I left Gamaliel disillusioned and disgusted by what seemed to me to be pure evil. How could a faith-based organization operate under such a skewed, cynical view of the world? Where was God in that scheme? I should have exposed them then. I had a duty to do so. We can’t content ourselves with feelings of moral superiority while people with corrupt principles are out there building power. We ignore these bad apples to our own peril. We have to be willing to shake the tree, letting the rotten ones fall where they may.
Rey would probably disagree with my advocating a boycott of CHD. Some of that money just might be going to organisations he works for and with. Nevertheless, we know already that some of the funding goes to the Gamaliel Foundation.
Please think carefully before giving to the CHD — in fact, please boycott the collection. It’s not Catholic and it doesn’t support Catholic ideals, no matter what the USCCB or their spokespeople say.