How do communityâ€“based political activists justify the ongoing effectiveness of their chosen location for political activity? How do they describe the shifts in relationships between communityâ€“development activism and the state? This article presents findings from case studies undertaken with two communityâ€“development organizations based in Sydney, Australia, and Toronto, Canada. The focus of the analysis is 40 inâ€“depth interviews conducted with activists in the late 1990s. The article details how the activists describe the present realities for communityâ€“development activism and what they conceptualize as the future for their field of political action. It is argued that by appreciating how activists substantiate the relevance of communityâ€“development activism in periods of economic, political, and social change we are able to build a notion of participation that is inclusive of, rather than critical of, everyday activist experiences.