Calling All Radicals: How Grassroots Organizers Can Save Our Democracy

Overview


American democracy is seemingly in retreat. Voting rates are at an all time low, citizens are disillusioned, and inequality continues to soar. But there is also a belief that change is possible. Calling All Radicals argues that we can reclaim our democracy in the old fashioned way — through grassroots organizing. Gabriel Thompson draws upon his own experience of working within local communities to demonstrate its immediate impact. Some examples: When a brother and sister were being evicted from their home of 73 ...
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Overview


American democracy is seemingly in retreat. Voting rates are at an all time low, citizens are disillusioned, and inequality continues to soar. But there is also a belief that change is possible. Calling All Radicals argues that we can reclaim our democracy in the old fashioned way — through grassroots organizing. Gabriel Thompson draws upon his own experience of working within local communities to demonstrate its immediate impact. Some examples: When a brother and sister were being evicted from their home of 73 years, the community responded by staging a protest in front of the landlord's home — gaining media attention and forcing the owner to allow them to stay. With children in Central Brooklyn suffering from lead poisoning, Thompson designed a campaign that trained inner-city high school students to test neighborhood homes and found that 1 in 3 were dangerous — forcing NYC officials to act by pushing through citywide legislation that held landlords responsible for implementing more proactive steps to fix hazards. Calling All Radicals argues that everyone is capable of community organizing. It explains the key tactics of organizing, leadership development, conducting research, and working effectively with the media.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568583679
  • Publisher: Nation Books
  • Publication date: 9/28/2007
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.39 (w) x 8.27 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author


Gabriel Thompson is the Director of Organizing at the Pratt Area Community Council (PACC), a community-based organization which works in the neighborhoods of Central Brooklyn. He speaks regularly to college students about organizing, and has designed a leadership development program for inner-city high school students. Thompson is the author of There’s No Jose Here and writes for The Nation, the San Jose Mercury News, the Los Angeles Times, The Brooklyn Rail and Our Time Press (the monthly newspaper of Central Brooklyn).
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Table of Contents


Introduction: Community Organizers as Democracy Builders: Sparking a Revival by Going Beyond the Vote     ix
Please Remove Your Hat before We Evict You: Changing the System through Community Organizing     11
A Word of Enthusiasm: Direct Action Gets the Goods!     19
A Word of Caution: The Forgotten Photograph     43
The Wisdom of Ella Baker: Strong People Don't Need Strong Leaders     69
Got a Problem? Prove It!: Using Research to Support Your Organizing     101
Demystifying the Media: Getting the Coverage Your Issue Deserves     123
History Is Power: Why Organizers Should Study Dead People     141
Preparing for Frustration: The Montgomery Bus Boycott You Never Knew     157
What We Stand to Gain: The Journey of the Organizer     175
Organizing 101: A Glossary of Terms     191
Resources and Opportunities for Future Organizers     197
Further Reading     203
Notes     209
Acknowledgments     215
Index     219
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