Friday, September 2, 2016

Offer to Pro-Liberty Students

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was formed in 1960 to fight racial oppression. The group has been described as “fantastically influential.” SNCC got thousands of people involved in uprisings throughout the U.S., and it was the principle force that caused large-scale social, economic, and political changes during and after the 1960’s. 

The “How SNCC Built a Movement” seminar uses psychosocial science and historical scholarship to explain its unique and powerful grassroots organizing method, which students can use today to advance the cause of liberty. 

This year, while resources are available, Action for Liberty will offer this 1-2 hour seminar free to vetted conservative, libertarian, and other pro-liberty student groups in or near the Philadelphia-Harrisburg-Washington triangle. The seminar, which was presented at the 2016 International Students for Liberty Conference, is currently given to small groups of 4-12 students who are sincerely interested in learning new ideas for activism. If you cannot reserve a meeting room, one will be provided. For information inquire at Tell us about your organization. 


Disclaimers and Conditions

1. This seminar, including the verbal presentation and any written materials, is provided free and without obligation to students who belong to organizations deemed by Action for Liberty to advance the cause of liberty in America. The presenter will not solicit sales for any service or product.

2. Although the presenter and Action for Liberty have made every effort to ensure that the information in this seminar was correct at the time of presentation, they do not assume and hereby disclaim any liability to any party for any loss, damage, or disruption caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident, or any other cause.

3. Neither the presenter nor Action for Liberty will make any public statement concerning participation by the student or involvement in the seminar by any student organization or college/university.

4. Contact information and other personal data will be for Action for Liberty internal use only and will not be sold or shared with any outside party.

5. Any discussion during the presentation of tactics or courses of action are for educational purposes only and shall not be construed to constitute an endorsement or recommendation of such tactics or courses of action.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Resources for Rebels

Highly Recommended
  • "Organizing a Mass Uprising," a field manual explaining how to start and sustain a mass uprising.
  • 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
  • Srdja Popovic, Blueprint for Revolution. About the Otpor uprising in Serbia against dictator Slobodan Milosevic,written by a leader and founder. Rebellion can be fun.
  • Tina Rosenberg, Join the Club. This discusses Otpor from the standpoint of peer influence.
  • Mark and Paul Engler, This is an Uprising. Discusses the inner workings of several uprisings, including that of Martin Luther King and Otpor, the Serbian student group that brought down the dictator Slobodan Milosevic.
  • Hollis Watkins, Brother Hollis. Watkins was an effective field secretary in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). A well-written description of his work with SNCC, including creating a local activist organization in Hattiesburg, Mississippi
  • Hezekiah Watkins (with Andrea Ledwell), Pushing Forward. Did time on death row at the age of 13, arrested 109 times as a result of his civil rights activism. The book tells his story.
  • 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.
  • David S. Meyer, The Politics of Protest. Chapter 3 is about becoming an activist. 
  • Albert Bandura, Self-Efficacy. Chapter 11 is about political activism. People who believe they can succeed on a given task tend to do better than people who think they can’t succeed.
  • Jack Minnis, “The Care and Feeding of Power Structures,” available online. Minnis headed SNCC’s research group, which worked to find out who had the real power in a community, who owned what, etc. Some SNCC workers then used this information to pressure these individuals. This little pamphlet gives several examples.
  • Bob Zellner, Julian Bond, et. al., The Wrong Side of Murder Creek. Biography of a white SNCC field secretary. Spike Lee is currently making a film, “Son of the South,” based on the book, with Lucas Till playing the part of Bob Zellner.
  • Students and school officials fight over the right of students to wear SNCC pins. This is an example of the fights we need today in our high schools. It led to a major school desegregation effort in Mississippi that went on for years.
Infirmation about organizing labor
  • 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. 
  • Kate Bronfenbrenner, et. al., Organizing to Win. A collection of articles about the organizing methods of successful unions.
  • Ruth Milkman and Kim Voss, Rebuilding Labor. Another set of topics about building strong unions.
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.
  • Mississippi Sovereignty Commission Archive Records gathered by Mississippi's domestic intelligence program during the black uprising of the early 1960s. Put an activist's name in the search box and find out what the person was up to, according to the government. Don't believe everything.
  • SNCC Digital Gateway How SNCC worked with local people to build grassroots organizations to force change. 
  • SNCC Legacy Project The mission of this website is to preserve SNCC’s legacy by archiving its papers. 
  • Chicago SNCC History Project Historical records about the Chicago affiliate of SNCC. This is the group that organized the 1963 school boycott in which 250,000 public school students stayed home to protest the poor quality of Chicago’s “colored” schools.
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 grassroots 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 initial convenor of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
  • Richard H. Buskirk, Frontal Attack: Divide and Conquer, the Fait Accompli, and 118 Other Tactics Managers Must Know. The title says it all.
  • Robert Greene and Joost Elffers, 48 Laws of Power. Lessons about acquiring and using power.
  • Chin-ning Chu, The Asian Mind Game. Includes the “36 strategies,” stories about deceit and treachery well-known and enjoyed by Asian people.
  • 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. A history of SNCC.
  • 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. Readers might prefer to pursue different goals, but the book's ideas about organizing may help in pursuing virtually any political goal.
  • Albert Camus, The Rebel. An extremely challenging book by the Nobel Prize winning French existentialist, describing the mind of a person who is completely fed up. It influenced several SNCC leaders, notably Robert Moses.
  • Jo Ann Gibson Robinson, The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started It. When Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing the bus driver’s order to move to the back of the bus, Robinson stayed up all night to make, without asking permission, over 35,000 copies of a flyer calling for a city-wide one-day boycott of the bus system in Montgomery.

Two Articles on Psychology