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Activism vs. Organizing
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  1. Action Will Be Taken
    Left Anti-Intellectualism and Its Discontents

    Resource Type: Article
    Published: 2004
    Marxism's decline isn't just an intellectual concern -- it too has practical effects. If you lack any serious understanding of how capitalism works, then it's easy to delude yourself into thinking that moral appeals to the consciences of CEOs and finance ministers will have some effect. You might think that central banks' habit of provoking recessions when the unemployment rate gets too low is a policy based on a mere misunderstanding. You might think that structural adjustment and imperial war are just bad lifestyle choices.
  2. Against Activism
    Resource Type: Article
    Published: 2016
    "Activism" stands in contrast to organizing. Organizing aims to bring people together to build and exercise power, informed by a strategic vision for acquiring power and changing society. To be an "activist" now merely means to advocate for change, and the hows and whys of that advocacy are unclear. Activist is a generic category associated with oddly specific stereotypes: today, the term signals not so much a certain set of political opinions or behaviours as a certain temperament. Worse, many activists seem to relish their marginalization, interpreting their small numbers as evidence of their specialness, their membership in an exclusive and righteous clique, effectiveness be damned.
  3. Being an Organizer and Being an Activist is not the Same Thing
    Community Organizers are the "Brain" that Injects Strategy into the Heart of a Successful Social Movement

    Resource Type: Article
    Published: 2013
    There is a lot of confusion surrounding the role that organizers and activists play in social movements. Both roles have profound differences regarding their goals and the way they face problems within social movements.
  4. Calling All Radicals
    How Grassroots Organizers Can Help Save Our Democracy

    Resource Type: Book
    Published: 2007
    Thompson argues that we can reclaim our democracy through grassroots organizing.
  5. Connexions Library: Organizing Focus Page
    Resource Type: Website
    Selected articles from the Connexions Online Library.
  6. From Dictatorship to Democracy
    Resource Type: Book
    Published: 2010
    A short, serious introduction to nonviolent struggle, its applications, and strategic thinking. Based on pragmatic arguments, this piece presents nonviolent struggle as a realistic alternative to war and other violence in acute conflicts. It also contains a glossary of important terms and recommendations for further reading.
  7. How the People's Climate March Became a Corporate PR Campaign
    Resource Type: Article
    Published: 2014
    I've never been to a protest march that advertised in the New York City subway. That spent $220,000 on posters inviting Wall Street bankers to join a march to save the planet, according to one source. That claims you can change world history in an afternoon after walking the dog and eating brunch.
  8. Nothing Is Ever Won Without Organizing
    Remarks to the First Nonviolence Training Session of the Mexican Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity

    Resource Type: Article
    Published: 2012
    All organizing begins with the telling of a story. When we listen carefully to somebody’s story, we learn what motivates him, what she is passionate about. Listening is the first skill and duty of a community organizer. Before we can get somebody to do something, we have to learn what he and she want, which is usually different than what we presumed they wanted.
  9. Traite du Savoir-Vivre for the Occupy Wall Street Generations
    Resource Type: Article
    Published: 2011
    Once upon a time, twenty thousand people descended on Wall Street, the capitol of capital, occupied it nonviolently, and won exactly what they demanded. This is not a fairy tale. It really happened. This is the story of how it happened.
  10. A Troublemaker's Handbook
    How to Fight Back Where You Work -- And Win!

    Resource Type: Book
    Published: 2005
    An organizing manual for workers dealing with both major issues and everyday problems in the workplace.
  11. A Troublemaker's Handbook 2
    Resource Type: Book
    A manual for workers who want to take control over their lives at work. In hundreds of first-person accounts, workers tell in their own words how they organized and struggled to do that.
  12. What a Way to Run a Railroad
    An Analysis of Radical Failure

    Resource Type: Book
    Published: 1985
    How can the high failure rate of radical projects, in the media and elsewhere, be understood? This book analyses the reasons why many of the key organisations and projects in this sector, which grew up during the 1970s boom in cultural politics, either collapsed or moved into a state of permanent crisis. In attempting to come to terms with this 'history of failure' the key concepts of this movement -- collectivity, internal democracy, participation -- are critically re-examined, and an argument is presented as to how and why radical projects also need to redefine their priorities and take on board questions of efficiency, financial control and marketing if they are to survive.

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