In community organizing “Targets” are representatives of government offices who have the authority and the responsibility to implement programs and services but do not do so , or if they do at all, the do so very badly.
There are two kinds of “Targets” – the good and the bad. The good “Target” is good for community organizing. The bad “Target” is bad for community organizing. Good for community organizing means the situation caused by the “Target” makes people see the unfairness of a given situation. It’s a case wherein the “Target” doesn’t wear a mask anymore. He/ She clearly espouses an interest that clashes with the people’s interest. For instance, here is a situation where the people to be evicted from where they live are told by the “Target” that they have benefited from the land for years anyway and that they are not paying taxes. The “Target” shows an outright ugly face that the people doesn’t need to unmask his/her true self-interest. On the other hand, a bad “Target “ is bad for community organizing because the official representing the office shows a cordiality that looks like commitment to the people.
Before a community starts a group action, the community organizer needs to facilitate first a session on target analysis. The questions to be asked the people are:
Why is the particular office the people are going to go to a “Target”? Has a social investigation been done regarding the way this particular government official responds to people’s demands? Note by the way that services and programs are entitlements because they are covered by the people’s taxes. In short, they are not favors to be requested. However, because when people relate with people, some kind of politeness is part of the transaction. Because of this the “people’s demand” is sometimes referred to as requests. With a bad target, people can be straightforward by using the word “demand”.
What is the injustice caused by the government office/ by the government official in particular who doesn’t deliver the services supposed to be delivered? In the case of a government office tasked to build or repair roads or drainage systems, what injustice is being caused? How much budget has been allotted for the particular government program of the particular government agency?
What is causing the delay of government service delivery?
Where does the budget of a given program go if people don’t benefit from the program?
From your background study about the “Target”, how did the Target usually react when a big number of people goes to his/ her office to claim for program implementation or service delivery?
What is self-interest of the “Target”? Does the Target’s self-interest conflict with the people’s interest? Why? Why not?
Which government agencies have interests that are aligned with the “Target”?
Within the community/ people’s organization, who among them have a relationship with the “Target” – party affiliation, kinship, social affinity, ethnicity, common class history, etc .
Has the “Target” any history of dividing people so that his/ her self-interest could prevail on them?
What could pressure the “Target” into responding positively to the people’s demands?
What concession would the “Target” very likely concede to at the negotiating table? What would be your Plan B in case your Plan A doesn’t succeed?
Target Analysis is reading the issue and the people’s demand correctly otherwise, if the Target Analysis gets faulty, even the solution to be presented to the Target would be wrong.