Marshall Ganz is the Harvard University prof who teaches organizing and movement building, and who helped design Barack Obama’s mass movement for change.

We know him because the federal NDP brought him to Canada twice, first to the NDP federal council and again to be a keynote speaker at the August 2009 federal party convention in Halifax.

I was a member of the federal council of the NDP soon after Obama’s victory and I remember well that he did not like my question in response to his description of the “politics of hope” that had overcome the “politics of disappointment” which the US left had hitherto been mired within.  I asked what the result would be when disappointment descended upon the movement.

Regardless of my tactless question and Marshall’s short answer, I was thoroughly impressed by Ganz’s insight and his ability to raise activism and organizing to a science.  He convinced me that the Obama movement did hold out the promise of social change.

So what does Marshall Ganz think now?  Here is his recent article in the Los Angeles Times:  “How Obama lost his voice, and how he can get it back.” 

I think it would be fascinating to have him back to Canada to revisit his ideas about movement building and change.  


Fred Wilson

Fred Wilson is the assistant to the President of Unifor.