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« A Power Governments Cannot Suppress, by Howard Zinn | Main | The Quotable Rebel, by Teishan Latner »


Organizing for Social Change, by Bobo, Kendall and Max

By an everyday book reader
May 1, 2007

Compiled by members of the Midwest Academy this book is a bible for anyone who wants to effectively organize to change the quality of their lives or the lives of others. Now in its third edition this book has already sold 60,000 copies in all of its editions since 1991.

This book has been an ideal work book for social movement groups for over a decade.

Organizing for Social Change: A Manual for Activists, 3rd Edition
by Kim A. Bobo, Jackie Kendall, Steve MaxBook Picture

Softcover: 425 pages
ISBN: 9780929765945, 092976594X
Seven Locks Press
May 2001

With new information on the trends, technology, and concerns of the new millennium, this edition of Organizing for Social Change will help concerned citizens bring about needed changes by learning from the experiences of those who have succeeded.

This is a handbook on the fundamentals of direct action organizing.

Direct action implies a majority strategy. Much of its power derives from the fear haunting all elected officials that they will be defeated at the polls by angry citizens, or a corporation's fear that it will face massive consumer pressure. This means that direct action works best with issues that a majority of the population would support or at least not actively oppose.

Nonetheless, most of this book's guidelines for thinking and acting strategically and its recommendations on organizing skills are also useful for working on other, less popular, justice issues. We focus on direct action because we believe it is the best method for building local activist-based membership organizations as well as larger state and national coalitions.

It has been used as a textbook in major universities including Harvard and Johns Hopkins. From local to international issues, this book helps organizers create attention and affect change.

Kim Bobo is the founder and director of the National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice. She was a trainer with the Midwest Academy for ten years. Jackie Kendall, Executive Director of the Midwest Academy worked extensively with senior, student, and citizen action organizations at the local, state and federal levels. Steve Max has 35 years of experience in civil rights, labor, and community. He is a key trainer and the designer of the economic education program.

The handbook has been used by Midwest Academy since 1973 in its organizing and activism seminars. Central to the Academy and the manual are three guiding principles: that for people to organize and seek change effectively they must win real improvements in peoples' lives, get a sense of their own power, and alter the relations of power. The main topics presented in the handbook are direct action organizing, organizing skills, and sources of support for organizing. The new edition was inspired by the transition into a new millennium, which prompted a new awareness of the need to bring activists from diverse movements into a unified whole. Sections in this book cover these topics:

  • The Fundamentals of Direct Action Organizing
  • Choosing an Issue
  • Developing a Strategy
  • A Guide to Tactics
  • Organizing Models: the Underlying Structure of Organizations
  • Designing Actions
  • Holding Accountability Sessions
  • Building and Joining Coalitions
  • Recruiting
  • Developing Leadership
  • Planning and Facilitating Meetings
  • Being a Great Public Speaker
  • Using the Media
  • Designing and Leading a Workshop
  • Working with Community Organization Boards
  • Working with Religious Organizations
  • Working With Local Unions, Central Labor Councils and Building and Construction Trades Councils
  • Building Labor-Community Partnerships
  • Tactical Investigations
  • Grassroots Fundraising
  • Controlling Your Work: Administrative Systems
  • Supervision
  • Financial and Legal Matters
  • Working for the Long Haul
  • You Mean You're Not Getting Rich? Economics in the New Millennium
  • Resources for Organizing
  • Songs

You may enjoy the books page, where book titles are alphabetized, or browse by subject or topic. We also have book reviews listed chronologically here. To search by author name, you can use the search box on the right sidebar of this page.

The most important result of any grassroots action is - a strengthened democracy for all.


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