Description: Federation of community organisations
What is good: Bottom up community organising
HQ Location and Country: Worldwide
Operation locations: Wordwide

A federation of member-based community organisations and unions active in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Canada, and the United States

How it shows

  • San Juan Laragancho – Lima, Peru: One of largest in the world, we have won construction of schools, access to potable water, construction of stairs to squatted land on mountainsides, construction of a park, road paving, and other improvements.
  • La Matanza – Buenos Aires, Argentina: We have worked off and on for many years with squatter families through the elaborate 8-year process to claim title to the land and get access to provincial services.
  • The Neza – Outside Mexico City: Perhaps the largest megaslum in the world, we have worked to extend access to potable water which was sucking up more than 50% of the income of many families, forcing the lines to be extended.
  • Dharavi – Mumbai, India: ACORN, our recyclers cooperative, and our Dharavi Project have been significant pieces of the coalition preventing displacement of slum dwellers facing redevelopment plans to the extent that the displacement has been limited to only one small area.
  • Quito, Ecuador: ACORN worked with communities of squatters to achieve the benchmarks of community support by property owners in order to receive title to the land where they squatted in several areas in the southern part of the city.
  • San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa, Honduras: ACORN Honduras has been involved in continuous campaigns to win access to land titles for long time squatters largely in the colonias around both major cities, as well as winning access to potable water in Colonias Ramon Amador in Tegucigalpa and Cholomo in the maquila areas outside SPS.
  • ACORN affiliates in Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Liberia, and Senegal have been engaged for more than six years in a campaign against land grabbing on palm oil and rubber plantations by companies controlled by Bollore and Socfin.  Agreements with local villages were made and then not implemented while land was taken from the villages and planted without the promised clinics and schools. This campaign continues unabated, yet the Brussels and Paris based conglomerate has refused recent negotiations.
  • In Canada, where we are largely tenant-based, we have fought for and won in certain areas (Toronto) landlord licensing forcing repairs and inspections. We are engaging landlords, REITs, and hedge funds in Ottawa, the Vancouver area, Hamilton, and other cities around demovictions (forced evictions triggering demolition and construction of high value condos), renovictions (forced evictions to enable renovations, creating high end apartments/condos and displacement).
  • In the United States, ACORN was part of the campaign that won the Community Reinvestment Act in 1977 and subsequently engaged in campaigns with major national and local financial institutions that resulted by the mid-80s until the 2007 crash in agreements negotiated by ACORN directly in six million families acquiring homes.


Bottom up grass roots organising to take back what is ours. 

"We believe that every human deserves the means to a dignified and comfortable life. We believe in the capacity of everyone to decide their own future, and to work collectively to find solutions to the problems facing our neighbourhoods, towns, cities, countries and planet. We believe that solidarity and the desire for justice are fundamental to being human."


Acorn UK is affiliated to this organisation

This organisation is the successor to the Acorn organisation (Association of Community Organisations for Reform Now) which was founded in the US by Wade Rathke in 1970 in Arkansas, the quickly spread, becoming the most powerful community organisation in the United States. A relative of the funder embezzled money and although the organisation dealt with it openly the organisation has become dependent on donations - not just membership fees. In the resulting media coverage (1) which was inevitably hostile donors withdrew funding the organisation collapsed. In the US there are a number of rebadged successor organisations. Wade Rathke left the US and has lowered to spread the community organising model across the world via ACORN International and this is how the idea was picked up in the UK starting in Bristol in 2014.

(1) Especially so from hostile observers such as Fox News and the likes of the Capital Research Centre which continues its coverage of successor groups in the US.