Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council


The Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council (BYNC) is an example of Saul Alinsky’s organizing principles at work. It was originally composed of two major local institutions in the New City area of Chicago: Packinghouse Workers Organizations Committee and the local parish of the Roman Catholic Church . Membership was based on organizations, not individuals, so that the community’s existing social institutions were harnessed for activism. The membership grew to include veteran associations, other union chapters, and churches. The BYNC emphasizes cross-organizational cooperation which helped overcome tensions between ethnic and racial groups. Initially these groups were in opposition; but decided to unite against the larger socioeconomic issues. According to Alinsky, this is not a panacea, and some conflicts could be irreconcilable; however, this is a framework that can suggest the directions to mediating the complexities in a social ecosystem.