The Film

Famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass wrote, “Power concedes nothing without demand.” The Democratic Promise: Saul Alinsky & His Legacy is the story of ordinary people making demands for the power to govern their own lives. Narrated by Alec Baldwin, the documentary examines both the history of community organizing — through the work of Saul Alinsky — as well as the current state of community organizing, as shown by contemporary organizations in New York and Texas. In a larger sense, the program is about the restoration of American democracy through shared public participation in civil life — a vital antidote to an era of increased citizen alienation and voter apathy.

The Filmmakers

  1. Bob HerculesProducer
  2. Bruce OrensteinProducer

When Bruce Orenstein was invited by his friend, Bob Hercules to serve as an advisor on a new documentary about legendary community organizer, Saul Alinsky, Orenstein said “Of course.” But under his breath he was saying to himself, “This is the documentary I wanted to make!” Rather than go head to head, the two decided to collaborate, embarking on a six-and-a-half year odyssey.

The filmmakers feel The Democratic Promise should be seen, not only for its historical significance, but because of what it says about today’s world. “The concern in the ’30s was fascism,” says Hercules. “Now the problem isn’t fascism, but apathy and disgust in the political process.”