Transform the System: A Work in Progress

About the Author

      In 1962, a student housing co-op introduced Wade Lee Hudson to the cooperative movement. In 1963, a James Baldwin lecture inspired him to become immersed in the civil rights movement. In 1964, working full-time for twelve months as an orderly in a psychiatric institution opened his heart even further. In 1965, meditation, massage, backpacking, psychodrama, Varieties of Religious Experience by William James, I and Thou by Martin Buber, and The Courage to Be by Paul Tillich led him into the human potential movement and spirituality. Ever since, he’s focused on integrating those three worlds: the personal, the social, and the political.

      In 1967 Wade dedicated his life to organizing communities of faith, love, and action and entered the Pacific School of Religion to prepare for “coffee-house ministries,” which were church-funded cultural centers. There he co-convened the New Seminary Movement, which helped the seminary become less isolated and more involved in the community. After two years, Glide Memorial Church hired him as an Intern Minister and he moved to San Francisco. Since then, he’s been a self-taught community organizer.

      In addition to engagement in numerous projects led by others, he’s initiated or played a major role in these supportive, peer-to-peer communities:

●      Alternative Futures Community, which conducted weekend marathons, called Urban Plunges, designed to nurture personal and political transformation.

●      Network Against Psychiatric Assault, which opposed forced treatment and facilitated mutual support.

●      Muni Coalition, which fought to improve public transit.

●      Other Avenues Community Food Store, which evolved into a workers’ cooperative.

●      District Eleven Residents Association, which did door-to-door precinct work for elections.

●      South of Market Grocery, a neighborhood food co-op that provided affordable food to low-income seniors.

●      Aarti Cooperative, a low-income housing co-op that empowered tenants.

●      Tenderloin Self-Help Center, which served the low-income Tenderloin neighborhood.

●      509 Cultural Center, which evolved into the award-winning Luggage Store Gallery.

●      The Tenderloin Times, a groundbreaking, multi-language neighborhood newspaper.

●      Solutions to Poverty Workshop, which developed a ten-point program to end poverty in the United States and evolved into the Campaign to Abolish Poverty.

●      Internet Learning Center, which served low-income residents during the early days of the Internet.

●      San Francisco Progressive Challenge, which promoted the Fairness Agenda for America developed by the Institute for Policy Studies.

●      Reaching Beyond the Choir Project and What We Believe Network, which aimed to articulate core values and principles that could be broadly embraced.

●      Charter for Compassion Network, which aimed to advance the Charter throughout society with political action.

●      Iraq Peace Team, which opposed the Iraq War as witnesses in Baghdad during the invasion.

●      Occupy Be the Change Caucus, which pushed Occupy San Francisco to embrace deep nonviolence and experimented with mutual support methods.

●      Western Park Residents Council, which established a partnership with management to improve residents’ quality of life.

      With those projects, underlying personal and spiritual values were often implicit and not clearly agreed on. In 2004, Wade decided to explore how progressive activists might be more effective. He then initiated four Strategy Workshops, two Compassionate Politics Workshops, and a Gandhi-King Three-fold Path Workshop — and participated in numerous workshops on related issues convened by others.

      Wade has published four books:

●      Economic Security for All: How to End Poverty in the United States, 1996.

●      Baghdad Journal, Inlet Publications, 2003.

●      Global Transformation: Strategy for Action, iUniverse, 2007.

●      My Search for Deep Community: An Autobiography, 2014.

and two booklets:

●      Promoting the General Welfare: A Campaign for American Values, 2004.

●      The Compassion Movement: A Declaration, Charter for Compassion Network, 2010.


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