Poor People's Movements: Why They Succeed, How They Fail unknown Edition
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-- E.J. Hobsbawm, New York Review of Books
"This beautifully written book is the most exciting and important political study in years."
-- S. M. Miller, Department of Sociology, Boston University.
"Of the first importance; it is bound to have a wide and various influence; and it is disturbing."
-- Jack Beatty, The Nation
From the Publisher
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Top international reviews
It's a question we often ask, and hear answers proffered too: how do we change the world? This theory, and that, abounds in the political arena. But it's rare for such a systematic and scholarly response to be given, rooted in such detailed case studies; each of which examines not only the nature of the movements themselves, but the significance of the 'obective' (i.e. immovable, background) conditions in which they took place. Even if you don't agree, there's a formidable case to be answered.
Piven and Cloward argue that change is achieved through large-scale, *disruptive* mobilisation, against propitious historical backdrops. The significance of disruption is that where it cannot be suppressed, bought off or ignored, the terrain of political incentives faced by the powers that be alters - and so government and business must alter their actions in order to dampen the fire of revolt. It is through this, they argue, that victory can be achieved.
Piven and Cloward argue against creating formal institutions, suggesting that this path is antithetical to the militant, disruptive approach which they favour. It may be interesting to see how their thesis stands up against the success (we might argue), since the book's publication, of groups such as ACORN and the Industrial Areas Foundation in the US, in using institutions to create disruption, and build power through sustained organisations.
It is a shame that the only way (that I can find) to buy this book new in the UK is by having it posted from abroad through the Amazon marketplace - try it though, you won't be dissapointed!