Readings and Resources

The AMOS Institute of Public Life is part of an organizing tradition that goes back to the south side of Chicago in the late 1930’s. A young criminologist by the name of Saul Alinksy, who had been influenced by John L. Lewis and the American labor movement, built a very powerful democratic citizen organization in south Chicago called theBack of the Yards Community Council.

The success of that effort led to the creation of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) a network of organizers and organizations that now has over 60 affiliates across the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Germany and Australia. AMOS or A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy is the local affiliate in central Iowa. The AMOS Institute of Public Life is a training and education partner organization to AMOS and other non-profits in Iowa. The links below will take you to foundational articles, book chapters and think pieces that illustrate some aspect of our organizing tradition or teach one of our “universals of social change.”


Reading and Resources:

Brueggemann, Walter – Blessed are the History Makers

Edward T. Chambers – Roots for Radicals, Relational Meetings

Cortes, Ernesto Jr. – Reclaiming our Birthright

Cortes, Ernesto Jr. –  Toward a Democratic Culture

Loomer, Bernard – Understanding Relational Power

Nyberg, David – Power over Power

Pyane, Charles- I’ve Got the Light of Freedom

 Notes on Relational Meetings (PDF)


What still has to be fixed following immigration reformChicago Tribune – January 3, 2014

The Vicious Circle of Income Inequality The New York Times – January 11, 2014

Thinking Outside the (Big) Box More evidence low wage workers are not low cost workers. Higher wages=higher profits! – The New York Times, December 31, 2013

James Carroll: A radical Pope’s first year, The New Yorker – December 23, 2013

The Minimum We Can do, The New Yorker, November 30, 2013

If you find any broken links on this page, please bring them to the attention of Liz Hall.


Ernesto Cortés, Jr. on Relational Meetings

Ernesto Cortés, Jr. on Power

Ernesto Cortés, Jr. on Change

Ernesto Cortés, Jr. on Anger

Ernesto Cortés, Jr. on Moses


Ernie Cortes Honored as 1 of 7 Texans who have helped change the state for the better