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Winner of the 2012 ARNOVA Outstanding Book in Nonprofit and Voluntary Action Research Award 2013 Charles Tilly Award for Best Book from the American Sociological Association Section on Collective Behavior and Social Movements "Democracy in the Making offers a marvelous synthesis of sociological acumen and hope. Kathleen Blee finds that while social activists often narrow their visions of doable social change, they also can learn together and take surprising new directions with unpredictable results. A wide range of activists will recognize themselves in this book's wonderfully fine-grained portraits of politics at the grassroots."-Paul Lichterman, author of Elusive Togetherness: Church Groups Trying to Bridge America's Divisions "This book is an enormous breath of fresh air in an area that often recycles concepts and perspectives. Blee offers a strikingly original approach to grassroots activism that will substantially reorient research in collective action and social movements."-Marc W. Steinberg, Associate Professor of Sociology, Smith College With civic engagement commonly understood to be on the decline and traditional bases of community and means of engagement increasingly fractured, how do people become involved in collective civic action? How do activist groups form? What hampers the ability of these groups to invigorate political life, and what enables it? Kathleen Blee's groundbreaking new study provides a provocative answer: the early times matter. By following grassroots groups from their very beginnings, Blee traces how their sense of possibility shrinks over time as groups develop a shared sense of who they are that forecloses options that were once open. At the same time, she charts the turning points at which options re-open and groups become receptive to change and reinvention. Based on observing more than sixty grassroots groups in Pittsburgh for three years, Democracy in the Making is an unprecedented look at how ordinary people come together to change society. It gives a close-up look at the deliberations of activists on the left and right as they work for animal rights, an end to the drug trade in their neighbourhood, same-sex marriage, global peace, and more. It shows how grassroots activism can provide an alternative to civic disengagement and a forum for envisioning how the world can be transformed. At the same time, it documents how activist groups become mired in dysfunctional and undemocratic patterns that their members dislike, but cannot fix. By analyzing the possibilities and pitfalls that face nascent activist organizations, Blee reveals how critical early choices are to the success of grassroots activism. Vital for scholars and activists alike, this practical yet profound study shows us, through the examples of both groups that flourish and those that flounder, how grassroots activism can better live up to its democratic potential.
What is civil disobedience? Although Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King helped to bring the idea to prominence, even today it remains unclear how we should best understand civil disobedience. Why have so many different activists and intellectuals embraced it, and to what ends? Is civil disobedience still politically relevant in today's hyper-connected world? Does it make sense, for example, to describe Edward Snowden's actions, or those of recent global movements like Occupy, as falling under this rubric? If so, how must it adapt to respond to the challenges of digitalization and globalization and the rise of populist authoritarianism in the West? In this elegantly written introductory text, William E. Scheuerman systematically analyzes the most important interpretations of civil disobedience. Drawing out the striking differences separating religious, liberal, radical democratic, and anarchist views, he nonetheless shows that core commonalities remain. Against those who water down the idea of civil disobedience or view it as obsolescent, Scheuerman successfully salvages its central elements. The concept of civil disobedience, he argues, remains a pivotal tool for anyone hoping to bring about political and social change.
The post-cold war era has seen an unmistakable trend toward the proliferation of violent non-state groups-variously labeled terrorists, rebels, paramilitaries, gangs, and criminals-near borders in unstable regions especially. In Borderland Battles, Annette Idler examines the micro-dynamics among violent non-state groups and finds striking patterns: borderland spaces consistently intensify the security impacts of how these groups compete for territorial control, cooperate in illicit cross-border activities, and replace the state in exerting governance functions. Drawing on extensive fieldwork with more than 600 interviews in and on the shared borderlands of Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela, where conflict is ripe and crime thriving, Idler reveals how dynamic interactions among violent non-state groups produce a complex security landscape with ramifications for order and governance, both locally and beyond. A deep examination of how violent non-state groups actually operate with and against one another on the ground, Borderland Battles will be essential reading for anyone involved in reducing organized crime and armed conflict-some of our era's most pressing and seemingly intractable problems.
Amilcar Cabral was an agronomist who led an armed struggle that ended Portuguese colonialism in Guinea-Bissau and Cabo Verde. The uprising contributed significantly to the collapse of a fascist regime in Lisbon and the dismantlement of Portugal's empire in Africa. Assassinated by a close associate with the deep complicity of the Portuguese colonial authorities, Cabral not only led one of Africa's most successful liberation movements, but was the voice and face of the anticolonial wars against Portugal. A brilliant military strategist and astute diplomat, Cabral was an original thinker who wrote innovative and inspirational essays that still resonate today. His charismatic and visionary leadership, his active pan-Africanist solidarity and internationalist commitment to "every just cause in the world," remain relevant to contemporary struggles for emancipation and self-determination. Peter Karibe Mendy's compact and accessible biography is an ideal introduction to his life and legacy.
The political writings of Eva Gore-Booth brings together a fascinating array of material from this important Irish author and political activist. The volume includes a selection of letters, political pamphlets, newspaper articles and poetry relating to key aspects of Irish and British events of the early twentieth century; events which are now entering centenary commemorations. The volume is presented in three sections focusing on women's suffrage and women's trade unionism, pacifism and conscientious objection during the First World War, and Irish nationalism before independence. Many of these writings are out of print and difficult to source, and this volume offers a valuable research and teaching resource. -- .
In 1968, as protests shook France and war raged in Vietnam, the giants of black radical politics descended on Montreal to discuss the unique challenges and struggles facing their black comrades all over the world. Against a backdrop of widespread racism in the West and ongoing colonialism and imperialism in the Global South, this group of activists, writers, and political figures gathered to discuss the history and struggles of people of African descent and the meaning of black power. For the first time since 1968, David Austin brings alive the speeches and debates of the most important international gathering of black radicals of the era. With never-before-seen texts from Stokely Carmichael, Walter Rodney and C.L.R. James, these documents will prove invaluable to anyone interested in black radical thought and political activism of the 1960s.
A comprehensive text on the theory and practice of public participation Written by two leaders in the field, Public Participation for 21st Century Democracy explores the theory and practice of public participation in decision-making and problem-solving. It examines how public participation developed over time to include myriad thick, thin, and conventional opportunities, occurring in both face-to-face meetings and online settings. The book explores the use of participation in various arenas, including education, health, land use, and state and federal government. It offers a practical framework for thinking about how to engage citizens effectively, and clear explanations of participation scenarios, tactics, and designs. Finally, the book provides a sensible approach for reshaping our participation infrastructure to meet the needs of public officials and citizens. The book is filled with illustrative examples of innovative participatory activities, and numerous sources for more information. This important text puts the spotlight on the need for long-term, cross-sector, participation planning, and provides guidance for leaders, citizens, activists, and others who are determined to improve the ways that participation and democracy function. Public Participation for 21st Century Democracy: * Helps students and practitioners understand the history, theory, and practice of public participation * Contains a wealth of case studies that explore the application of public participation in different settings * Covers vital issues such as education, health, land use, and state and federal government * Has accompanying instructor resources, such as PowerPoint slides, discussion questions, sample assignments, case studies and research from www.participedia.net, and classroom activities.
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Longshoremen stand at the nexus of the global economy, handling nearly every cargo container that enters or leaves any country. Even in the face of cargo acontainerizationa in the 70s and 80s, a development that decimated longshore unions, they have managed to win contracts that provide health benefits and high wages.
On the Global Waterfront tells the story of how longshoremen in South Carolina confronted attempts to wipe out the stateas most powerful black organization. When a Danish shipping company began to shift their transportation to a nonunion firm in 1999, Local 1422 in Charleston, South Carolina, mobilized to protect their hard-won rights. What followed culminated in a protest in which 660 riot police were deployed against fifty dockworkers, a group that grew to 150 before the night was over. Four black and one white longshoreman -- subsequently known as the Charleston 5 -- were held for twenty months under house arrest on trumped-up felony charges of inciting a riot.
Within the politically conservative, racially charged, and intensely religious climate of the South, the unassuming local union president, Ken Riley -- supported behind the scenes by a militant AFL-CIO staffer -- crafted an international, grassroots campaign in defense of the arrested longshoremen. From Australia to Europe to Korea to the entire west coast of the United States, longshoremen threatened to shut down ports jeopardizing billions of dollars in trade per day. Their ultimate success vaulted Riley, and his reform-minded coworkers, to higher leadership in a notoriously corrupt union, and laid the foundation for successful rebuffs in ports around the world. On the GlobalWaterfront explores in detail a local conflict and in the process exposes the powers that rule the United States and the global economy. This compelling narrative of a local struggle, a transformed union leader, and a newly energized international worker movement highlights the resounding importance of the international labor movement that is not only still vital, but still capable of stopping global commerce on a dime.
How and why has solidarity changed over time? Why have particular strategies, tactics, and strands of internationalism emerged or re-emerged at particular moments? And how has solidarity shaped the history of the US left in particular? In Solidarity, Steve Striffler addresses these key questions, offering the first history of US-Latin American solidarity from the Haitian Revolution to the present day. Striffler traces the history of internationalism through the Cold War, exploring the rise of human rights as the dominant current of international solidarity. He also considers the limitations of a solidarity movement today that inherited its organisational infrastructure from the human rights movements. Moving beyond conventionally ahistorical analyses of solidarity, here Striffler provides a distinctive intervention in the history of progressive politics in both the US and Latin America, the past and present of US imperialism and anti-imperialism, and the history of human rights and labour internationalism.
First Published in 1996. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
Between 1944 and 1996, Guatemala experienced a revolution, counterrevolution, and civil war. Playing a pivotal role within these national shifts were students from Guatemala's only public university, the University of San Carlos (USAC). USAC students served in, advised, protested, and were later persecuted by the government, all while crafting a powerful student nationalism. In no other moment in Guatemalan history has the relationship between the university and the state been so mutable, yet so mutually formative. By showing how the very notion of the middle class in Guatemala emerged from these student movements, this book places an often-marginalized region and period at the center of histories of class, protest, and youth movements and provides an entirely new way to think about the role of universities and student bodies in the formation of liberal democracy throughout Latin America.
This beautifully illustrated book celebrates fifty of the world's sexiest brains-people who have changed the world in big and small ways. What have the world's sexiest people ever really done for the world? We should be crushing big-time on the beautiful brains of the people who make a difference. Elon Musk, swoon-worthy inventor who spends his billions developing sustainable energy sources and space exploration. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, (gavel-)bangin' babe of the US Supreme Court who has spent her life fighting for women's rights. There's the other Tyra, Rupaul: our heroic hunti, the ultimate champion of drag culture. And not to mention our almighty Queen, the modest mogal who came from nothing, the incomparable Oprah Winfrey. These dreamboats are the real pin-ups, the poster people for brilliance, bravery, and giving a damn.
Celebrity philanthropy comes in many guises, but no single figure better encapsulates its delusions, pretensions and wrongheadedness than U2's iconic frontman, Bono - a fact neither sunglasses nor leather pants can hide. More than a mere philanthropist - indeed, he lags behind many of his peers when it comes to parting with his own money - Bono is better described as an advocate, one who has become an unwitting symbol of a complacent wealthy Western elite. The Frontman reveals how Bono moved his investments to Amsterdam to avoid Irish taxes; his paternalistic and often bullying advocacy of neoliberal solutions in Africa; his multinational business interests; and his hobnobbing with Paul Wolfowitz and shock-doctrine economist Jeffrey Sachs. Carefully dissecting the rhetoric and actions of Bono the political operator, The Frontman shows him to be an ambassador for imperial exploitation, a man who has turned his attention to a world of savage injustice, inequality and exploitation - and helped make it worse.
As peace activists have faced increased government repression and accusations of being unpatriotic since 9/11, Toussaint examines how current attempts to control dissent impact the peace movement. This study offers an analysis of self-identified peace activists in terms of their demographic characteristics, motivation for activism, political opportunities, and views of the peace movement. It also discusses the processes involved in successfully mobilizing an increasingly diverse constituency and how broad-based support can be sustained beyond reacting to crises.
This collection of literary/historical essays, written 1970-2010, covers political subjects as diverse as 17th Century Quaker persecution history, the social impact of Malthus, the self-emancipation of English women, Eleanor Rathbone on the human rights of girls and German women's resistance to Hitler. The more literary subjects include the social thinking of the English Romantics, Dickens' Great Expectations, Simone Weil's great essays attacking militarism and Virginia Woolf's opposition to the State -- as well as contemporary American women poets on the problem of war. But despite all its diversity, this collection has one unifying theme -- the necessity for resistance, for 'thinking against the current', as Virginia Woolf wrote in "Thoughts on Peace in an Air-raid". The torch of resistance to oppression and militarism is shown to have been continuously handed on through the generations from the seventeenth century to our own day by men and women who had the courage, at whatever personal cost, to 'fight with the mind'. This book of passionate, lively essays is not merely a treasure trove for biographical researchers; it is also strengthening medicine, introducing us to unfamiliar forebears who can help us in our current struggle for a better world. As Simone Weil said: "We can find something better than ourselves in the past".
Paul Joseph grew up in the 1930s South Africa. He awoke to political activism as an Indian in the racially segregated schools and slums of Johannesburg, and aged just 15, committed himself to fight oppression. He participated in ANC political campaigns from the passive resistance of the 1940s - inspired by Gandhi - through to the armed struggle adopted by the ANC in the 1960s. He was arrested and banned several times and, in 1956, was one of the 156 people accused of high treason by the Apartheid government - alongside Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, Lilian Ngoyi, Ruth First and Helen Joseph. Paul Joseph was held in detention following the Sharpeville Massacre, the banning of the ANC and the imposition of the state of emergency. One of the first recruits of UmKhonto We Sizwe (spear of the nation) - the armed wing of the ANC - he was put under house arrest and then solitary confinement in the Johannesburg prison known as The Fort. Later he had to flee the country. His story shows how the political and personal aspects of his life were intertwined. He shares the impact of his political actions on the lives of those closest to him, in South Africa and in political asylum in London. With an eye for detail and extensive knowledge of South Africans across the racial and class divides, Paul documents social and political issues in one of the most significant liberation struggles of the 20th century.
While the links between conservative Christians and politics have been drawn strongly in recent years, coming to embody what many think of as religious activism, the profoundly religious nature of community organizing and other more left-leaning justice work has been largely overlooked. "Prophetic Activism" is the first broad comparative examination of progressive religious activism in the United States. Set up as a counter-narrative to religious conservatism, the book offers readers a deeper understanding of the richness and diversity of contemporary religious activism.
Helene Slessarev-Jamir offers five case studies of major progressive religious justice movements that have their roots in liberative interpretations of Scripture: congregational community organizing; worker justice; immigrant rights work; peace-making and reconciliation; and global anti-poverty and debt relief. Drawing on intensive interviews with activists at all levels of this work--from pastors and congregational leaders to local organizers and the executive directors of the national networks--she uncovers the ways in which they construct an ethical framework for their work. In addition to looking at predominantly Christian organizations, the book also highlights the growth of progressive activism among Jews, Muslims, and Buddhists who are engaged in reinterpreting their religious texts to support new forms of activism.
Religion and Social Transformation series
Uprisings such as the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street signal a resurgence of populist politics in America, pitting the people against the establishment in a struggle over control of democracy. In the wake of its conservative capture during the Nixon and Reagan eras, and given its increasing ubiquity as a mainstream buzzword of politicians and pundits, democratic theorists and activists have been eager to abandon populism to right-wing demagogues and mega-media spin-doctors. Decades of liberal scholarship have reinforced this shift, turning the term "populism" into a pejorative in academic and public discourse. At best, they conclude that populism encourages an "empty" wish to express a unified popular will beyond the mediating institutions of government; at worst, it has been described as an antidemocratic temperament prone to fomenting backlash against elites and marginalized groups. Populism's Power argues that such routine dismissals of populism reinforce liberalism as the end of democracy. Yet, as long as democracy remains true to its meaning, that is, "rule by the people," democratic theorists and activists must be able to give an account of the people as collective actors. Without such an account of the people's power, democracy's future seems fixed by the institutions of today's neoliberal, managerial states, and not by the always changing demographics of those who live within and across their borders. Laura Grattan looks at how populism cultivates the aspirations of ordinary people to exercise power over their everyday lives and their collective fate. In evaluating competing theories of populism she looks at a range of populist moments, from cultural phenomena such as the Chevrolet ad campaign for "Our Country, Our Truck," to the music of Leonard Cohen, and historical and contemporary populist movements, including nineteenth-century Populism, the Tea Party, broad-based community organizing, and Occupy Wall Street. While she ultimately expresses ambivalence about both populism and democracy, she reopens the idea that grassroots movements-like the insurgent farmers and laborers, New Deal agitators, and Civil Rights and New Left actors of US history-can play a key role in democratizing power and politics in America.
Personal story and diary accounts of Hilda and Rusty Bernstein, and their family following up to and during the 1960 State of Emergency. Both parents were arrested and their 16-year-old daughter, Toni, had to look after her three younger siblings. The book juxtaposes Toni, Rusty and Hilda’s experiences with a focus on Hilda and Toni. A heart-warming insider account of the lives of freedom fighters and the sacrifices that they made for the struggle.
"Sol Dollinger's remembrance of UAW's early days are juicy and
provocative. His recall of those goofy internecine political
battles within the union is tragic-comic. Yet they, united, even
though hollering at each other, made GM, Ford, et al, recognize the
union. The sequence involving Genora Johnson Dollinger, the heroine
of the 1937 sit-down strike, is deeply moving and inspiring."
"Should be read by every labor person who takes the principles of trade union history seriously. . . . Brings the history of the UAW up for a new survey of the events to include the men and women who would otherwise be unsung heroes or written out of history totally."
"--David Yettaw President, UAW Buick Local 599, 1987-1996"
This story of the birth and infancy of the United Auto Workers, told by two participants, shows how the gains workers made were not easy or inevitable-not automatic-but required strategic and tactical sophistication as well as concerted action.
Sol Dollinger recounts how workers, especially activists on the political left, created an auto union and struggled with one another over what shape the union should take. In an oral history conducted by Susan Rosenthal, Genora Johnson Dollinger tells the gripping tale of her role in various struggles, both political and personal.
For over 1500 years before the Empire Windrush docked on British shores, people of African descent have played a significant and far-ranging role in the country's history, from the African soldiers on Hadrian's Wall to the Black British intellectuals who made London a hub of radical, Pan-African ideas. But while there has been a growing interest in this history, there has been little recognition of the sheer breadth and diversity of the Black British experience, until now. This collection combines the latest work from both established and emerging scholars of Black British history. It spans the centuries from the first Black Britons to the latest African migrants, covering everything from Africans in Tudor England to the movement for reparations, and the never ending struggles against racism in between. An invaluable resource for both future scholarship and those looking for a useful introduction to Black British history, Black British History: New Perspectives has the potential to transform our understanding of Britain, and of its place in the world.
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