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Counterpower: Making Change Happen by [Gee, Tim]
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Counterpower: Making Change Happen Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Review

'Tim Gee's book is an important exploration of the power of protest and resistance (Counterpower) to lift the problems of political oppression and corporate capitalism. The historical accounts, including India, how the vote was won in Britain, and briefly Egypt, demonstrate the struggles and achievements of past opposition to the dominant rulers. Gee sees major significance in the cases of grassroots resistance: "The message that comes through is clear: a new recipe for revolution is emerging. And it is altering the way that the world thinks about social change.' "This book is worth your attention.' Gene Sharp, Founder of the Albert Einstein Institution and author of The Politics of Non-violent Action

 'This book reframes the language of power in order to tear it apart. Essential reading for young activists.' Laurie Penny, journalist and activist 

 'From the sources consulted to the quotes used, Counterpower presents a refreshing version of history, for a change told from the perspective of the people on the frontline of making change happen.' Cindy Sheehan, anti-war activist 'Everyone working for a better world would do well to read this book. Social change from below does not happen by accident. It is always the result of hard and constructive work. Counterpower, full of encouraging past examples, is an inspiration for the future.' Bruce Kent, Vice-President, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament 'This is a wonderful, inspiring book. Tim Gee breathes new life into the protest movements of past and present so that we can draw strength from our many victories. There is much to learn here, and much to galvanise us in the struggle for social justice. Now, more than ever, another world is possible.' John Hilary, Executive Director, War on Want 'As the inspiring examples in this book show, it is not only vital for people to oppose injustice and oppression but also to empower ourselves and each other to seek control over our lives and the decision-making in our society. By developing grassroots Counterpower to the rule of governments and corporations we can begin to create an alternative, collective way of running our communities, our workplaces and our world ourselves.' Helen Steel and Dave Morris (The McLibel 2)

 'The economics and social system that rules this planet cannot be wished away but must be systematically transformed through focussed strategic action based on effective resistance. The system of capitalism that rules our lives is destroying the basic life support systems of our planet and transferring wealth from the majority to an ever smaller elite. I recommend Counterpower as a powerful contribution to the debate about how we achieve change.' Derek Wall, green economist 

 'Tim Gee demonstrates a truth that I have long believed: real progressive change does not come from above, but from ordinary people struggling for their rights.' Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner. 

 'We find ourselves in one of those historical moments in which time seems to accelerate, things fall apart and everything is up for grabs. Learning from history is essential in times like these, and Counterpower will give you a number of valuable and memorable lessons.' Paul Kingsnorth, author 'One No, Many Yeses'
 'This is without a doubt the best book on activism, and resistance to power, that I have ever read.' - Symon Hill, The Friend. 'Tim Gee's Counterpower could not have been published at a more appropriate moment... From the Occupy protests to the Arab Spring, political movements are occurring on a scale and consistency that has not been seen for a generation.' Mark Newton, The Ecologist 'A very important and positive book that deserves to become influential in the months and years ahead.' - Ian Sinclair, Peace News.

About the Author

Tim Gee is the author of Counterpower: Making Change Happen, shortlisted for the Bread and Roses Prize for radical nonfiction. He has campaigned with Occupy, Climate Camp, the Traveller Solidarity Network and the National Union of Students amongst others. He works as a grassroots trainer and has an MA in politics from Edinburgh University.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 552 KB
  • Print Length: 208 pages
  • Publisher: World Changing (18 Oct. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007OWQNBC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #703,471 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you've ever stood on a windy street corner handing out leaflets to disinterested shoppers, or traipsed from Embankment to Hyde Park Corner and found yourself wondering "What am I doing here? How does this help further the cause to which I am committed?", then this is definitely not the book for you. In fact, it's hard to know exactly who this book is for. It's not really political theory, because there isn't much theory in it. It isn't really practical tips for organisers either, because most of the examples which occupy so much of the book don't apply to capitalist democracies like Britain. There is little attempt to evaluate either tactics or overall strategies.

Gee asserts the legitimacy of 'counterpower', by which he means popular dissent and protest, then categorises it into Ideas Counterpower (conventional campaigning such as leaflets, petition and media strategy), Economic Counterpower (strikes and boycotts), and Physical Counterpower (everything from non-violent demonstrations to insurrections). He then spends the bulk of the book describing various popular struggles at considerable length, including the movement for independence in India, the campaign against the Vietnam War in the US (with walk-on parts for the UK supporters), and the struggle to overthrow Apartheid in South Africa in terms of the categories he has created.

The end result is a sort of relentlessly cheerful history of protests movements, with most of the politics taken out.
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Format: Paperback
Counterpower describes the power available to people; power `from below'. It is the power of workers, peasants and the oppressed. But while it is the power of ordinary people, it can do extraordinary things. Gee's talent is to divide counterpower into three related elements, "Idea Counterpower" (hegemony), "Economic Counterpower," and "Physical Counterpower" (direct action). Using this framework, he takes a historico-political perspective on some of the most important struggles for social change from the abolition of slavery through Desegregation and Indian independence to the anti-capitalist and pro-democracy protests we see today.

Reading the brilliant anecdotes and examples, I'm reminded of the extraordinary role of the Churches in social change. Principles of solidarity and subsidiarity are woven into the fabric of our beliefs, handed down ultimately in the example of Jesus. But the Churches also have access to influence at the highest levels; commanding an entire city state is the ultimate in temporal power. Our challenge is to use the power available within our Churches to be Good News to the poor and oppressed. This is an extremely accessible and well-written book and worth reading for anyone who wants to know how social change happens and how they can be a part of it.
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Format: Paperback
Given recent upheavals and unrest - political, social and economic - the publication of this book is extremely timely and inspirational. The young author of this book has impressive campaigning experience backed by extensive research of archival and historical sources on movements worldwide. Different chapters look at how India won its independence, how the Vietnam War was stopped, how apartheid was ended in South Africa, how the vote was won in Britain, and how the Egyptians overthrew Mubarak, alongside chapters on how governments respond to counter power how movements resist corporate power, and how to make change happen.
Movements for change in Asia (eg Burma), Eastern Europe, and Africa are also covered, as is climate change and other contentious issues. Not just young activists, but anyone who really cares about social justice should read this book.
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