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Playing Bigger Than You Are: A Life in Organizing Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

''It is all too easy to think of Washington as a center of power. Stewart Acuff knows that power flows everywhere there are organized Americans, and he is one of the best when it comes to helping Americans organize to get things done.'' -- Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent US Senator from Vermont

''I like the lessons you spell out and the examples that accompany them. Organizers need to hear these lessons, especially new organizers. You talked about the important lessons we know are true in order to succeed in organizing. It's important to have someone like you with your experiences sharing those lessons.'' -- Sarah McKenzie, Director, AFL-CIO Organizing Institute

''Stewart Acuff's life story has been packed with organizing ordinary people and moving them to do extraordinary things. Across the country, he has helped working people stand up for themselves, together with their co-workers and their neighbors, for dignity and justice against the rich and powerful.'' -- Ken Zinn, Research Director, National Nurses United

''Stewart does a fine job of spreading the gospel about our 'righteous' work, as he calls it, and that's a reason to give thanks!''-- Wade Rathke, Founder and Chief Organizer of ACORN, and currently Chief Organizer ACORN International

''After reading the cover poem, and the first paragraph, tears came into my eyes.'' -- Amy Fields, General Manager, Eastside Food Co-op, Minnesota

''[Stewart has] captured the organizing journey of our generation from the community to the Employee Free Choice Act, from the South to the halls of Congress.'' -- Larry Cohen, President, Communication Workers of America

''...new organizers and activists should read it.'' -- --Bill Fletcher, Labor activist, author, and Director of Field Services and Education Department, American Federation of Government Employees

About the Author

Stewart Acuff developed his skills as a grassroots organizer in Texas, Tennessee, and New Hampshire. He organized and led the historic effort to unionize the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, risked his life as a UN observer during the first democratic election in Sierra Leone, and participated in the WTO ''Battle of Seattle''. As Organizing Director of AFL-CIO, he managed national campaigns that helped shape the direction of US labor. Stewart presently serves as Chief of Staff for the Utility Workers Union of America.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3216 KB
  • Print Length: 130 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Windwalker Media (November 8, 2012)
  • Publication Date: November 8, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A4HEDKC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #632,239 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I'm just an every day rank-and-filer, working middle class mom who values and benefits from unions. I want to learn all I can, to do what I can, right where I am, to help in any way I can. So in my own small way I have been on a journey to do just that.
What I love about Stewart's book is his personal story. So much so that I sat down to read it and could not stop. Nothing makes for better reading than an organizer's story! I laughed while reading about investigators left waiting in a hot car and thanked God he was well versed in Bible passages that served him well. I connected with his testimony of how organizing work takes time and often times it's precious family time. A work that has no time clock and often goes unnoticed. That organizing will have ups and downs, wins and losses, highs and lows. When he talks about the split between the AFL-CIO and the Change To Win unions, sometimes organizing may even put you at odds with your close friends.
From sleeping on a cot in a tent city to spending time in jail Stewart takes the reader on a journey through conflict and power. A journey of commitment and hope and the belief that people, above all else, will fight for dignity and respect. That together we can play bigger than we are and make our lives better.
Thank you Stewart for sharing your story!
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Format: Paperback
A few years ago, Stewart Acuff was on tour for his previous book, "Getting America Back to Work." I was invited by friends to go to a reading in the Twin Cities to hear Stewart's take on the American economy and what can be done to fix it.

During the book discussion, the conversation turned to the work of organizing and how we need to continue to organize people to place a countervailing pressure against the organized money of the financial elite who are directing our nation.

I'd been working as an anti-poverty organizer for a few years and, after ups and downs and victories and losses, I was exhausted. I raised my hand and said, "I appreciate all you've done to build power for working people. There are a lot of organizers in this room, who do work like you've done. I'm thinking a lot of us feel beaten down. I'm betting a lot of us are tired and tired of fighting. What advice do you have for us?"

Stewart looked me straight in the eye and said words I'll never forget. "Yeah, I bet you're tired, brother. We're all tired. We're tired of working people not getting what they deserve. We're tired of poor people not getting a fair shake. But you know what? We can't stop. We can't get tired. Don't you think Dr. King was tired? We all get tired. I'm tired, too. But we fight on, because we have to."

From that moment, I've been looking forward to reading more about Stewart's life and work. This book does not disappoint at all. Stewart Acuff is a master community organizer. He's worked all across the country with labor and community groups to help build power with and for people to fight back against corporate excesses and bad public policy. His story, so richly and vividly told here, is both an inspiration and an agitation. Organizers know that we can learn from each other's successes and failures, and in this book, Stewart maps out the ways he's built organizations and walked with people to create a more just world.
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Format: Paperback
Stewart's recounting of his life as an organizer is inspiring and instructive. A must read for those who want to know first hand what labor organizing is all about. Very readable and rich with anecdotes that instruct anyone how to overcome the difficulties that emerge when one takes on a cause. I highly recommend it to those who are ready to take to the streets to make change and create a better world.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is an incredible book, and a very quick read!! Even though I am a very slow reader, it is such a page turner, and I finished it in a few hours! Stewart Acuff's life story is so inspiring. The book outlines his victories and defeats in the labor movement, and proves that a small group of people CAN make a difference and CAN change the world! I highly recommend this book!
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Format: Kindle Edition
Stewart Acuff was the Organizing Director of the national labor federation the AFL-CIO from 2002 to 2008. During that time he was the voice and the heart and the soul of the campaign to reform America's broken labor laws to favor workers. "Playing Bigger than You Are" tells that story and many more from the life and work of Brother Acuff. I have bought this book for my whole staff and sisters and brothers who aspire to organize. It is a quick but invaluable read!

Solidarity,

Peter Olney
Organizing Director of the West Coast Longshore Union (ILWU)
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Format: Kindle Edition
I've been a longtime fan of Senator Bernie Sanders, so when I saw that he wrote the forward to the book, I was instantly intrigued. Though I've never been a part of the labor movement or a union member, I found Mr. Acuff's story surprisingly accessible and engaging. In our current time of great economic, social, political, and environmental uncertainty, this is an inspirational story I encourage anyone to read. Mr. Acuff's passion and determination inspires us all to fight for what we believe in, no matter the odds.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's rare to get an insider's description. Stewart has been involved in some landmark campaigns such as getting fair working conditions for the Atlanta Olympics. The life of a labour organiser has never been easy but Stewart's account is full of inspiration and hard won wisdom.
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