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Direct Action: Protest and the Reinvention of American Radicalism Paperback – February 21, 2017
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“It is impossible to overstate the importance of this book. Chances are that even if you know something about the recent history of the left in America, you probably only know a few isolated parts. L.A. Kauffman has connected a vast field of dots to create an overview, and she has done so with dispatch, clarity, and elegance. Her book is essential reading for today, and will be for tomorrow.”
—Luc Sante, author of The Other Paris
“A movement tour de force. A must-read for those who have committed themselves to the life of the mind and of struggle.”
—Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou, theologian and organizer
“As the new political reality settles in, resisters are asking a follow-up question: What else can I do? L.A. Kauffman’s new book Direct Action provides some answers.”
—Maya Singer, Vogue
“L.A. Kauffman may have the best-timed book release in years.”
“In Direct Action, L.A. Kauffman assesses movements of the past half century not as scattered uprisings but as phases of an overarching project … Our current radical-action culture, she thinks, really started in the early seventies, when a new generation of green shoots rose up from the ash.”
—Nathan Heller, New Yorker
“If direct action is ‘a laboratory for political experimentation and innovation,’ as Kauffman argues in the introduction, then this is the lab report.”
“You could not ask for a better guide through recent social movement history than L.A. Kauffman. A champion of radical causes with decades of experience on the front lines of civil disobedience, she chronicles the fascinating evolution of a set of protest tactics today’s activists take for granted. Kauffman has done a tremendous public service: by helping us better understand the past, in all its glory and folly, we can be more effective dissidents and rabble-rousers tomorrow. This startling, inspiring book is for anyone who has ever felt the urge to put their body on the line and shut things down for something they believe in.”
—Astra Taylor, author of The People’s Platform and co-founder of the Debt Collective
“The lurid circus sideshow has seized center ring in Washington, making direct action by progressive agitators all across the country more essential than ever. Don’t agonize, organize! How to do it? Kauffman’s powerful book, drawing on our people's recent history, shows the way to create true justice for all.”
—Jim Hightower, author and activist
“Kauffman, an important and experienced organizer, senses in Occupy, Black Lives Matter and perhaps even the Bernie Sanders campaign new political oxygen, locally-based movements that cannot be effectively controlled or easily squashed.”
—Paul Buhle, Socialism and Democracy
About the Author
L.A. Kauffman has spent more than 30 years immersed in radical movements, as an organizer, strategist, journalist, and observer. Kauffman was the mobilizing coordinator for the massive anti-war marches of 2003-2004; she has been called a “virtuoso organizer” by journalist Scott Sherman for her role in saving community gardens and public libraries in New York City from developers. Her writings on grassroots activism and social movement history have been published in The Nation, Mother Jones, n+1, The Baffler, and many other outlets. She is currently involved in a range of initiatives to resist the Trump presidency.
Top customer reviews
In the book DIRECT ACTION by L.A. Kauffman we are confronted with the questions when is change needed what are some willing to do in order to truly shake things up and move things in what is seen as a better direction and why is it so important that the objective of the "action" is clear.
I really appreciated this book, mainly because it gave examples of when things needed to be changed or shook up and what some were willing to do in order to create a better result. The book also reminds us that as important as the goal is the way it is carried out, as it might do more harm than good if not handled correctly.
Can change come about? Yes of course, but Kauffman reminds us that it's not an easy road at all. What it takes is organization, support and the right attitude about the end result. If you have those things you will be able to see not just things evolve but change in the right direction for those involved.