Forging a ‘new’ organizational infrastructure for Los Angeles’ progressive community


What margins of maneuverability do urban‐based progressive movements have for affecting policy outcomes in entrepreneurial and neoliberal political systems? This article provides a partial answer to this question by examining how relations developed and stabilized between actors in the different sectors (community based organizations, labor, university) of Los Angeles’ progressive community. Such relations are a necessary but not sufficient condition for affecting policy outcomes. I argue that these relations have resulted from a 20‐year process of interactions between the more innovative agents of each of the sectors. Through their repeated experimentation in building frameworks to coordinate their partnerships, I argue that a variety of complex mechanisms have taken shape that nourish relations and coordinate complex forms of collective action. Functioning as ‘relational platforms’, these coordinating mechanisms have combined to form an emergent ‘organizational infrastructure’ that facilitates both ongoing relational processes and the mobilization of collective resources in politically effective ways. Thus, by examining the organizational infrastructure that makes such a broad based ‘movement’ possible and sustainable, the article offers the reader one insight into how urban progressives have been able to build the power necessary to affect policies in one of the world’s most entrepreneurial and neoliberal cities.