From Act up to Wto

Overview

In March 1987 a radical coalition of queer activists converged on Wall Street—their target, ‘Business, Big Business, Business as Usual!!!’ It was ACT UP’s first demonstration. In November 1999 a radical coalition of environmental, labor, anarchist, queer, and human rights activists converged in Seattle—their target was similar, a system of global capitalism. Between 1987 and 1999 a new project in activism had emerged unshackled from past ghosts. Through innovative use of civil rights’ era non-violent ...
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Overview

In March 1987 a radical coalition of queer activists converged on Wall Street—their target, ‘Business, Big Business, Business as Usual!!!’ It was ACT UP’s first demonstration. In November 1999 a radical coalition of environmental, labor, anarchist, queer, and human rights activists converged in Seattle—their target was similar, a system of global capitalism. Between 1987 and 1999 a new project in activism had emerged unshackled from past ghosts. Through innovative use of civil rights’ era non-violent disobedience, guerrilla theatre, and sophisticated media work, ACT UP has helped transform the world of activism.

This anthology offers a history of ACT UP for a new generation of activists and students. It is divided into five sections which address the new social movements, the use of street theater to reclaim public space, queer and sexual politics, new media/electronic civil disobedience, and race and community building. Contributions range across a diverse spectrum: The Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, Jubilee 2000, Students for an Undemocratic Society, Fed Up Queers, Gender Identity Center of Colorado, Triangle Foundation, Jacks of Color, National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, Lower East Side Collective, Community Labor Coalition, Church of Stop-Shopping, Indy Media Collective, Black Radical Congress, The Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory, Adelante Street Theater; HealthGAP, Housing Works, SexPanic! and, of course, ACT UP itself.

2002 Lambda Literary Award Finalist, Nonfiction Anthology.

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Editorial Reviews

Eric Rofes
“A course for activists of the twenty-first century requires a new literature capturing narratives of a new activism currently igniting our nation. This is the text for that course.”
Marshall Berman
“Shepard and Hayduk's book shows where the first 'movement' of the twenty-first century is coming from.”
Patrick Califia
“How often do progressives get such a powerful snapshot of history in the making, told from our point of view? Benjamin Shepard and Ronald Hayduk have done a masterful job of compiling essays that paint a comprehensive and diverse picture of modern activism. A wide range of issues and the people who confront them, their agendas and strategies, are included here, and make a compelling read. This is a brave and important book that is sure to raise consciousness, cement coalitions, and incite righteous anger. It also gave me some hope that change is possible, if only enough of us will insist on equality, peace, and justice.”
From the Publisher
“A course for activists of the twenty-first century requires a new literature capturing narratives of a new activism currently igniting our nation. This is the text for that course.”—Eric Rofes

“Shepard and Hayduk’s book shows where the first ‘movement’ of the twenty-first century is coming from.”—Marshall Berman

“How often do progressives get such a powerful snapshot of history in the making, told from our point of view? Benjamin Shepard and Ronald Hayduk have done a masterful job of compiling essays that paint a comprehensive and diverse picture of modern activism. A wide range of issues and the people who confront them, their agendas and strategies, are included here, and make a compelling read. This is a brave and important book that is sure to raise consciousness, cement coalitions, and incite righteous anger. It also gave me some hope that change is possible, if only enough of us will insist on equality, peace, and justice.”—Patrick Califia

Eric Rofes
Captures narratives of a new activism currently igniting our nation.
Publishers Weekly
Activist Benjamin Shepard and CUNY political science professor Ronald Hayduk team up to honor the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power in From ACT UP to the WTO, an anthology of essays and interviews that consider the group's influence on community activism, from their first demonstration on Wall Street in 1987 to "the Battle of Seattle" in 1999. The brief, fervent selections offer thumbnail portraits of contemporary social justice movements: transgender activist Leslie Feinberg recounts her arrest during a protest against the murder of Matthew Shepard; Jan Cohen-Cruz profiles the Church Ladies for Choice; and Starhawk, an activist witch, reveals "how we really shut down the WTO." Activism isn't dead after all, the editors insist and there's "a new brand of... joy, perhaps rambunctiousness, involved in the new direct action." (July) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781859846537
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 5/18/2002
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 8.05 (w) x 8.01 (h) x 1.32 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrew Boyd is a writer and activist living in New York. He is the author of Life’s Little Deconstruction Book: Self-Help for the Post-Hip

Stephen Duncombe, an Associate Professor at the Gallatin School of New York University, is the author of Dream and Notes from Underground, editor of the Cultural Resistance Reader, and coeditor (with Maxwell Tremblay) of White Riot.

L.A. Kauffman is an activist and organizer.

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist, fellow at the Nation Institute and author of The Shock Doctrine.

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Creating a new literature for a new era of community organizing
Urban protest and community building in the era of globalization 1
Introductory notes on the trail from ACT UP to the WTO 11
Pt. 1 Glocal Proclivities and the New Social Movements
Target practice: community activism in a global era 21
A short history of radical renewal 35
This city is ours 41
How we really shut down the WTO 52
Community labor alliances: a new paradigm in the campaign to organize greengrocery workers in New York City 57
Students, sweatshops, and local power 74
Jubilee 2000 Northwest: breaking the chains of global debt 81
An ACT UP founder "acts up" for Africa's access to AIDS 88
Pt. 2 Sex, Social Justice, and the New Queer Community Organizing
Radical queers or queer radicals? Queer activism and the global justice movement 106
Jail house rocks, "Matthew Shepard lives!" 121
From Stonewall to Diallo 126
The reproductive rights movement, ACT UP, and the Lesbian Avengers 133
From WHAM! to ACT UP 141
Beyond patient and polite: a call for direct action and civil disobedience on behalf of same-sex marriage 150
Amanda Milan and the rebirth of the Street Trans Action Revolutionaries 156
When private clubs serve the public 164
Jacks of Color: an oral history 172
The city as body politic / the body as city unto itself 178
Pt. 3 Public Versus Private Spaces, Battlegrounds, and Movements
Culture jamming a SexPanic! 202
Stepping off the sidewalk: Reclaim the Streets/NYC 215
Saving Esperanza Garden: the struggle over community gardens in New York City 229
At cross purposes: the Church Ladies for Choice 234
The Adelante Street Theater Project: theatricalizing dissent in the streets of New York City 242
Irony, meme warfare, and the extreme costume ball 245
Kneel before Bush! The origin of Students for an Undemocratic Society 254
Pt. 4 Media and the New Social Movements
The vision thing: were the DC and Seattle protests unfocused, or are critics missing the point? 265
Mayan technologies and the theory of electronic civil disobedience 274
The birth and promise of the Indymedia revolution 290
"So many alternatives" The alternative AIDS video movement 298
Black August continues: an exemplary blend of hip-hop and political history for social justice 306
Wednesday, July 12: invasions of three NYC Starbucks 316
Pt. 5 Race, Poverty, and World Making
From Los Angeles to Seattle: world city politics and the new global resistance 326
Can Black radicalism speak the voice of Black workers? 334
The fight for living wages 342
Building a healing community from ACT UP to housing works 351
Harm reduction in the USA: a movement toward social justice 361
The Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition 370
Community development and community organizing: Apples and oranges? Chicken and egg? 378
Joy, justice, and resistance to the new global apartheid 389
Bibliography 395
Contributors 409
Acknowledgements 417
Index 420
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