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The Progressive's Guide to Raising Hell: How to Win Grassroots Campaigns, Pass Ballot Box Laws, and Get the Change We Voted For Paperback – August 27, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing; 1 edition (August 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603582932
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603582933
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,701,921 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Americans angry about the state of their government or the fallout from the BP oil disaster might find in Court's persuasive manifesto a cause for action. As the president of Consumer Watchdog, the California-based consumer advocacy organization, Court has gone toe-to-toe with powerful politicians and corporations-and won. Without straying far from Advocacy 101, Court provides a how-to on taking a stand and making a difference. Following "10 rules of Populist Power," "Rousing Public Opinion in a New Media Age" explores the use of the Internet to rally and mobilize support. For instance, MoveOn, with over five million members, has become "one of the most successful Internet-based political groups in America." Court also outlines how to build a "Populist 2.0 Platform" using e-advocacy, blogging, social media, and other technologies. Other chapters serve as case studies for taking on energy companies (the author was once recruited into a California task force on gas prices), Wall Street, and Governor Schwarzenegger ("Taming Arnold"). With great accessibility and a fired-up attitude, Court brings his lessons in empowerment to the people.
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Review

Publishers Weekly-
Americans angry about the state of their government or the fallout from the BP oil disaster might find in Court's persuasive manifesto a cause for action. As the president of Consumer Watchdog, the California-based consumer advocacy organization, Court has gone toe-to-toe with powerful politicians and corporations--and won. Without straying far from Advocacy 101, Court provides a how-to on taking a stand and making a difference. Following "10 rules of Populist Power," "Rousing Public Opinion in a New Media Age" explores the use of the Internet to rally and mobilize support. For instance, MoveOn, with over five million members, has become "one of the most successful Internet-based political groups in America." Court also outlines how to build a "Populist 2.0 Platform" using e-advocacy, blogging, social media, and other technologies. Other chapters serve as case studies for taking on energy companies (the author was once recruited into a California task force on gas prices), Wall Street, and Governor Schwarzenegger ("Taming Arnold"). With great accessibility and a fired-up attitude, Court brings his lessons in empowerment to the people.



"Tough, smart, strategic. Read it and take action. NOW."--Robert Greenwald, director and producer of Iraq for Sale and Out-Foxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism, founder of Brave New Films



"Political 'leaders' can only lead if there is a parade for them to get in front of. They can act effectively only if the public forces them to. Progressives need to start many more parades. Jamie Court tells you how in this guidebook to action."--George Lakoff, author of Don't Think of an Elephant! and The Political Mind



"I've often said, 'First we will elect people who we can talk to into positions of power, and then we will hold their feet to the fire so we get real change. This book is the manual for holding Democratic feet to the fire."--Howard Dean, former Chair of the Democratic National Committee and Vermont governor; author of Howard Dean's Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform

Customer Reviews

This book gives a great outline of the tools and tactics that work.
Alan Beggerow
"Raising Hell" will make the most dedicated couch-potato progressive sit up and start hoping again--maybe even acting.
Aussieblue
If we're going to review a book without reading it, I support this book whole-heartedly.
shoshannah

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Michael Lighty on September 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
Court melds analysis, messaging and mobilization in a provocative how-to for progressives. Identifying corporate power as the problem and direct action by people as the solution, using campaigns as case studies, Raising Hell challenges activists to go beyond party loyalty and fight for meaningful, sustainable change. After half-hearted financial reform, healthcare reform that enriches insurers, and a mostly white corporate-funded conservative movement claiming the populist mantle, Court's call for an authentic activism to take back the country from the plutocrats, banksters and corporate profiteers is timely and necessary.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Aussieblue on September 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
American progressives have in recent decades gotten too shy, or too afraid, to raise hell about injustice and unfairness. They peeked out during the 2008 presidential campaign, then fell silent at the first disappointment. Perhaps they're afraid to be tagged with the dreaded label "liberal." The populist space got filled from other directions, including by Tea Partiers who happily put themselves on the line in public.

Jamie Court aims to reverse that course by rearming progressives with tools for making change from below, and steeling them to be a whole lot less polite to power. Also a whole lot more demanding, and more nimble on their feet.

Frederick Douglass, a granddaddy of civil rights and civil action, famously said "Power concedes nothing without a demand." In modern terms, Court tells us, that means constant vigiliance to avoid being co-opted. A "seat at the table"--whether in the corporate boardroom or the government conference room--is power's most effective tool for watering down outsider demands.

After telling hell-raisers what doesn't work, Court offers a different toolkit for what he calls "political jiujitsu"--being alert and leveraging opponents' mistakes to shame them. then building waves of public pressure for change. His anecdotal examples of the David-and-Goliath stunts by him and colleagues at his small foundation called Consumer Watchdog range from hilarious to hair-raising.

For instance, don't be embarrassed to carry a pig into the halls of government to make a point. Grab the chance to clobber a corporate opponent for an ad that appears weirdly racist, using shame to undercut the corporation's sponsorship of anti-consumer legislation.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By H. Rosenfield on September 13, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're angry about the direction of the country (or your state, city, town, or even neighborhood) and you're ready to do something about it, this is the book you need to read.
Forget about political theory: I've worked with Jamie Court for fifteen years, and "Raising Hell" condenses decades of experience fighting the Establishment into a handful of simple rules and strategies. These are the tactics that explain our successes in taking on the insurance companies, HMOs, oil and cable companies, utilities - as well as the politicians who protect them, from the lowliest state legislator to the Terminator. Follow these rules and you will win, and have fun doing it, too. And it doesn't matter what your cause is: the book is framed as a guide for progressives who want to win money-saving reforms such as government control over insurance rates, but the truth is that "Raising Hell" will be equally valuable for people of any political persuasion.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John A. Suda VINE VOICE on November 29, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I think that if there were 10 million people ready, able, and willing (like the author of this book, Jamie Court) to expose and confront the ruling elite, we might see a pronounced change in American politics and governance.

Since Mr.Court is a remarkable combination of informed intelligence, capable organizer, professional activists, proponent of progressive policies, and willing to commit his life to a cause, what are the chances that we we will see such a group?

Ha! That's never going to happen. Is there any hopeful program for progressive change? Court insists that there is.

Court lays out a guide for progressives to try to obtain policy outcomes by, primarily, a defensive approach to counter initiatives by corporate and special interests which dominate political policies and economic budgets. The book is a sort of contemporary version of Saul Alinsky's, "Rules for Radicals" which gained attention among activists in the 60s and 70s.

He provides a list of rules and principles by which the (active) public can counter anti-progressive actions by resorting to the power of public opinion-expose a proponent's greedy and selfish motivations; confront businessmen, politicians and others using political relation methods like protests (both physical and virtual with online means); and media-based campaigns of information and persuasion directed to the public. The specific means are grassroots campaigns, citizen initiatives and referendums, and public exposure of embarrassing mistakes of the ruling class in order to leverage public opinion. The idea is to generate anger, and with anger, comes change. That is the theory. (Although not mentioned in the book, the Tea Party movement can be considered a contemporary experiment relating to this theory.
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