November 1, 2001
Wiener Center for Social Policy, John F. Kennedy School of Government

This paper argues against a 'one size fits all' economically-focused approach to building multiracial political coalitions around issues of poverty in cities and surrounding metropolitan areas. Different political structures and disparate histories of racial conflict in cities create distinct problems (some organizational, some ideological, some both) across regions for building multi-racial political coalitions. The paper also suggests that successful political coalitions are likely to be both race/ethnic conscious and class conscious. Lastly, the paper argues that regional political strategies need not only analysis of economic and demographic trends but creative approaches to de- and reconstructing political, organizational, and social identities.

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