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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. FBI harassing fossil fuel activists in the Pacific northwest
    Resource Type: Article
    Published: 2015
    A grassroots movement of eco-activists is achieving unprecedented success in challenging fossil fuel developments in the Cascadia region of the US's Pacific northwest, writes Alexander Reid Ross. And that has attracted the wrong kind of attention - from local police, FBI and right-wing legislators determined to protect the corporate right to exploit and pollute.
  7. 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.
  8. Get out there and organise
    The excitement of activism has supplanted slowly organized structures working for social and political change

    Resource Type: Article
    Published: 2016
    While there has been an explosion of activism over the past couple of decades, the left must better cultivate organizing to make activism more sustainable and effective.
  9. Hegemony How-To
    A Roadmap for Radicals

    Resource Type: Book
    Published: 2017
    Hegemony How-To is a practical guide to political struggle for a generation that is deeply ambivalent about questions of power, leadership, and strategy.
  10. "Hegemony How-To": Rethinking Activism and Embracing Power
    A review of Hegemony How-To: a Roadmap for Radicals, by Jonathan Smucker

    Resource Type: Article
    Published: 2017
    "How many times, I wondered, had I favored a particular action or tactic because I really thought it was likely to change a decision-maker’s position or win over key allies, as opposed to gravitating toward an action because it expressed my activist identity and self-conception? How concerned were we really, in our practice, with political outcomes?"
  11. How (Not) to Challenge Racist Violence
    Resource Type: Article
    Published: 2017
    As white nationalism and the so-called "alt-Right" have gained prominence in the Trump era, a bipartisan reaction has coalesced to challenge these ideologies. But much of this bipartisan coalition focuses on individual, extreme, and hate-filled mobilizations and rhetoric, rather than the deeper, politer, and apparently more politically acceptable violence that imbues United States foreign and domestic policy in the 21st century.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. On Activism and Organizing: There is a Distinction
    Resource Type: Article
    Published: 2016
    What's the difference between an organizer, an activist, and someone who is just plain fighting for their life, on a personal level? Often, there is no discernible distinction, as these roles often blend together in ways that could never be separated. But for some people, there is no such complexity. I point this out because, in recent years, there has been a verbal shift in social justice spaces towards referring to everyone involved as an organizer. As a person who believes that we too often negate the meanings of words by transforming them into umbrellaed concepts, I have to say my piece about the matter.
  15. Other Voices: The Connexions Newsletter - December 20, 2016
    Fake News

    Resource Type: Serial Publication (Periodical)
    Published: 2016
    "Fake news" is the latest mania to convulse the mainstream media. All at once, we're being subjected to an outbreak of hand-wringing articles and commentary about obscure websites which are supposedly poisoning public opinion and undermining democracy by spreading "fake news." Since we don't like to be left out when a new fad comes on the scene, Other Voices is jumping on the bandwagon too, with this, our last issue of 2016, devoted to "fake news." Our focus, however, is not so much on the crackpots and trolls making mischief on the fringes, but on the dominant actors in the fake news business: governments and the corporate and state media.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. What is Organizing?
    Resource Type: Article
    Published: 2018
    Morgan reviews the history of Organizing in the USA and provides advice to activists on how to organize in an inclusive, constructive, way.

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