|Countries||Canada, India, USA|
|Directed by||Nick Taylor|
|Written by||Nick Taylor|
THE ORGANIZER is a film about people who have dedicated their lives to the often hidden, usually messy and always controversial job of building power for the powerless. I first met Wade Rathke in Toronto in 2009, at the same time as the organization he founded, ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) were in the news for a series of damning hidden camera videos. The controversies surrounding ACORN in 2008-2009, were a hot-button story in the polarized political landscape of the time, but as I filmed with Wade and other organizers and ACORN community leaders between 2011 and 2016, I became far more fascinated with how the biggest poor people's organization in US history was built, not with how it was destroyed. Rathke, a former anti-Vietnam war and welfare rights organizer, founded ACORN in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1970 with a handful of low-income families and the idea to build a multi-racial, multi-issue organization that would build power for the poor. When the organization became national news decades later, it had half a million members and chapters in over a hundred cities across the USA.
In between is an incredible story about the dedication and entrepreneurial vision of a small group of organizers and a growing army of inspiring community activists.
It's also a very human story about organizational tension, personal tragedy, betrayal and ultimately of resilience. It's partly a cautionary tale, but also a hopeful one. At a time of great political uncertainty, it gives an example of how a political force for the poor, marginalized and forgotten was built... and how it might just be built again.