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Books to Support Building the Movement

There are many new books and publications available to support organizing for social justice. Here are just a few. Send us your suggestions for others.

You can download Organizing Transit Riders: A How-To Manual. This manual draws upon two community-labor boot camps staged with the Amalgamated Transit Union reports Greg LeRoy, director of Good Jobs First and primary author of the manual. In recruiting to the boot camps, they found a "rainbow of community groups organizing transit riders". Most had never met before and shared terrific stories.

NOA member Brian Miller and Mike Lapham expose the false claim that business success is simply the result of heroic individual effort.  The Self-Made Myth: And The Truth About How Government Helps Businesses and Individuals Succeed. "It is critical to change the conversation about how wealth is created, who creates it, and the role of government, and this book does that effectively and importantly. And it couldn’t be more timely. I urge you to read this book and get engaged in the debate about progressive taxes."— Bill Gates Sr., Co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. You can now order this book at Barnes and Noble.

Hot off the University of Illinois Press is Transforming Places: Lessons from Appalachia. Edited by Stephen L. Fisher and Barbara Ellen Smith - What global activists can learn from Appalachia. Transforming Places illuminates widely relevant lessons about building coalitions and movements with sufficient strength to challenge corporate-driven globalization. This collection of seventeen original essays by scholars and activists from a variety of backgrounds explores this wide range of oppositional politics, querying its successes, limitations, and impacts. THIS BOOK IS AVAILABLE FROM NOA FOR $30.00 plus $3.50 delivery. Just Email us at for details.

Former NOA Executive Director Walter Davis and Former Executive Director of the Southern Empowerment Project June Rostan co-authored the chapter: Homegrown Organizing Gone Too Soon.  Contributors are Fran Ansley, Yaira Andrea Arias Soto, Dwight B. Billings, M. Kathryn Brown, Jeannette Butterworth, Paul Castelloe, Aviva Chomsky, Dave Cooper, Walter Davis, Meredith Dean, Elizabeth C. Fine, Jenrose Fitzgerald, Doug Gamble, Nina Gregg, Edna Gulley, Molly Hemstreet, Mary Hufford, Ralph Hutchison, Donna Jones, Ann Kingsolver, Sue Ella Kobak, Jill Kriesky, Michael E. Maloney, Lisa Markowitz, Linda McKinney, Ladelle McWhorter, Marta Maria Miranda, Chad Montrie, Maureen Mullinax, Phillip J. Obermiller, Rebecca O'Doherty, Cassie Robinson Pfleger, Randal Pfleger, Anita Puckett, Katie Richards-Schuster, June Rostan, Rees Shearer, Daniel Swan, Joe Szakos, Betsy Taylor, Thomas E. Wagner, Craig White, and Ryan Wishart.

We remind of the important book Hands On the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC. Edited by Faith S. Holsaert, Martha Prescod Norman Noonan, Judy Richardson, Betty Garman Robinson, Jean Smith Young, and Dorothy M. Zellner.  It should be in every civil rights reading collection.

Kim Bobo's Wage Theft in America, originally published in 2008, has now been updated. Celebrate the anniversary of Interfaith Worker Justice and order your copy.

Eric Mann's Playbook for Progressives: 16 Qualities of the Successful Organizer. Eric is director of the Los Angeles-based Labor/Community Strategy Center and co-founder of the Bus Riders Union. Playbook website press here.

Contesting Community: The Limits and Potential of Local Organizing. (Rutgers, 2010):  "a critical, comparative (U.S., U.K. and Canada) look at contemporary community-based efforts, especially emphasizing how the broader political economy of neoliberalism shaped organizing and what organizers can do about it." James DeFilippis, Robert Fisher, and Eric Shragge. Frances Fox Piven says, " A major contribution to the ongoing debates about community and social movement organizing."

Si Kahn's Creative Community Organizing: a Guide for Rabble-Rousers, Activists and Quiet Lovers of Justice

Catalyzing Liberation Toolkit: Anti-Racist Organizing to Build the 99% Movement (We Are the 99%), Amie Fishman of Catalyst Project and Chris Crass recently developed a toolkit on anti-racist organizing in the Occupy moment. 

Colorful Mamas of the 99% Creative Family Action Toolkit (by Colorful Mamas of the 99%) is available online from Build the Wheel.

Build the Wheel is a collaborative initiative, now supported by the Movement Strategy Center (MSC), to help strengthen community empowerment efforts across the country. Build the Wheel is designed as an online, interactive, learning community where staff and community leaders from diverse organizations, neighborhoods, cities and issue areas can come together to build upon each others' practice, experiences and learning in popular political education and leadership development. This is a space where community leaders and organizations seeking to affect policy change through community organizing and civic participation strategies will gain access to tools, curricula and resources to more effectively educate ourselves and the community constituents, members and leaders we work with.

The Compassionate Rebel Revolution: Ordinary People Changing the World by Burt F. Berlowe. A follow-up to a previous book with Rebecca Janke called The Compassionate Rebel: Energized by Anger. The new book includes 50 profiles of people who have made life commitments from "ground zero to Freedom Riders to organic farming" and "community builders to media activists".

Of interest to environmental organizers is Cultivating the Grassroots: A Winning Approach for Environment and Climate Funders by Sarah Hansen. You can download if free at the web page of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.

Seeds of Change: The Story of ACORN, America's Most Controversial Antipoverty Community Organizing Group by John Atlas is still available and can place some of the threats of voter suppression in context of the destruction of an organization that mobilized voter registration.

Has your local or state government given incentives and tax funds to a private corporation and then failed to examine the benefits? Here is a useful set of tools provided by Good Jobs First: Subsidy Research Toolkit.

Floodlights Instead of Flashlights: Sunshine Laws Out of Step with Government Contracting Leaves Public and Lawmakers in the Dark” – In the Public Interest has released this booklet on line.

If you are looking for ways to create progressive teachable moments, don't miss a visit to the Zinn Educational Project.

Finally, if you are not familiar with COMM-ORG: The On-Line Conference on Community Organizing, give it a look. The Readings page alone is a rich bibliography of printed material on community organizing. And it is only one of the sections of this valuable resource maintained by Randy Stoecker. 

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