Thursday, October 29, 2015


Primary Resources

Highly Recommended
  • Frances Fox Piven, Challenging Authority. Describes a theory about how ordinary people can get power from disrupting the status quo and use it to force change. Compatible with Gene Sharp's theories about nonviolent struggle.
  • Charles Payne, I've Got the Light of Freedom. An outstanding history of the black uprising of the 1960's. Provides insight into SNCC organizing methods.
  • Francesca Polletta, Freedom is an Endless Meeting. Analysis of "participatory democracy," used by SNCC to deliberate on problems and issues.
Also Recommended
  • Wesley Hogan, Many Minds, One Heart: SNCC's Dream for a New America. Good overall history and analysis of SNCC with information about how SNCC organizing methods spread to other movements.
  • Jane F. McAlevey, No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age. Analyzes the American labor movement and unearths the organizing philosophy, which is similar to SNCC's, that accounts for how certain unions became powerful and successful.

Books on nonviolent struggle by Gene Sharp
  • The Politics of Nonviolent Struggle. 902 pages. This is a three-volume set, the second of which describes 198 tactics.
  • Waging Nonviolent Struggle. 598 pages.
Since the above books are lengthy, consider deferring them and reading one of the following first:
  • "From Dictatorship to Democracy," 102 pages (online article).
  • How Nonviolent Struggle Works.

Additional resources

Two videos by Jack Wheeler describing how his dreams of bringing down the Soviet Union came true:
  • Reinhold Niebuhr, Moral Man and Immoral Society. Discusses from a Christian perspective the moral and ethical issues involved in using power to force changes in society.
  • Robert B. Cialdini, Influence: Science and Practice. Good book on persuasion and social influence for the general public.
  • Dave Mitchell and Andrew Boyd, Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution. This is a good source for ideas about tactics. The same content, along with other information, is on the website
  • Barbara Ransby, Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement. A good biography of the main founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
  • David S. Meyer, The Politics of Protest. Chapter 3 is about becoming an activist. 
  • Richard H. Buskirk, Frontal Attack: Divide and Conquer, the Fait Accompli, and 118 Other Tactics Managers Must Know.
  • Chin-ning Chu, The Asian Mind Game.
  • H.L. Richardson, Confrontational Politics. A rare book by a conservative about a confrontational style of activism for conservatives.
  • Clayborne Carson, In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960's.
  • Daniel Hunter, Building a Movement to End the New Jim Crow: An Organizing Guide. The "new Jim Crow" is the American prison system, which the author wants to dismantle. Conservatives might prefer to pursue different goals, but the book's ideas about organizing may help in pursuing virtually any political goal.

Two Articles on Psychology