Hegemony How-to: A Roadmap for Radicals Paperback – 6 Feb 2017
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"Smucker brings hard-won wisdom, theoretical heft, and a welcoming style to this book, helping us think through the most important question of our time: how do we build enough collective power to not only demand a better world, but actually create one?" --Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything and The Shock Doctrine
"As the world faces the horrors of a Trump presidency, many good people are asking, 'What can I do?' Jonathan Smucker's book provides an urgent field manual for answering that question. Drawing on twenty years of grassroots organizing experience, Smucker has written a modern version of Saul Alinsky's classic, Rules for Radicals. By bypassing the vapid debate over who to vote for in a system that offers only two choices, Smucker focuses on the need for a dedicated commitment to social change that begins in each of our own backyards. He deftly weaves together ideas for tactical organizing with personal stories of their real life application. We live in a time of endless wars and a government rigged to serve only the few fueled by both Democrats and Republicans. Smucker challenges us to think big and to carefully embrace a form of collectivism that, if taken seriously, could well change the world." --Jeremy Scahill, author of the international bestsellers Blackwater and Dirty Wars
"Jonathan Smucker asks the important question: How can the movements on which we rely in our pursuit of a more just and democratic world be sustained and enlarged over time? And he engages us because he writes so well, and because he draws in part on his own fascinating biography in his search for answers. Most valuable to me, Smucker insists on regarding movements not only as expressions of collective anguish or desire, but as strategic interventions aimed at changing the world." --Frances Fox Piven, author of Challenging Authority and Poor People's Movements
About the Author
Jonathan Smucker has worked as an organiser, consultant, and trainer for two decades within a breadth of organisations and social movements. He is co-founder of Beyond the Choir, an organisation providing strategic support and organisational development to social justice groups. Jonathan has been published in Berkeley Journal of Sociology, The Sociological Quarterly, and contributed chapters to We Are Many (AK Press, 2012) and Beautiful Trouble (O/R Books, 2012).
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Decades of the authors rich personal and political experience shape this roadmap for radicals. From the author's time in the antiwar movement, to international solidarity work, to his often behind-the-scenes leadership in the Occupy Wall Street movement, I felt like I had a one-on-one conversation with the author about his life, best lessons learned, and how to deploy them to shape my own work in Wisconsin.
A large chunk of the book is focused on meaningful advice (including actual tactics!) on how to get larger swaths of society involved in building the Left in America. That's probably what I found most helpful as someone who is working with an organization that needs to get more people involved. It is sandwiched between definitions of terms that are very academic and were mostly foreign to me. That said, I am VERY glad, indebted indeed, that the author did not dumb down the book and leave out these important terms and concepts. I too now have a better understanding of them and how they play out in American politics.
Smucker's elucidation of the political identity paradox is quite interesting. When groups form and develop a sense of solidarity, their practice and rituals often pull them away from mainstream culture, and push others away from joining. Very important to be aware of in our work. The idea of prefiguring the world as we want it to be, instead of operating in institutions that exist, and coercing them with a show of real power to do the bidding of "we the people," is also very meaningful and real in my work.
It ends on a positive note, with a nod to an America for "all of us." Reading this book inspires me to not lose hope, even in such a trying time, as it is written in such an intelligent, hopeful, and thoughtful voice, despite the real setbacks Smucker has faced in his own work, and in the work of broader organizations and movements. I'll be buying copies for friends.
Job well done. A+!
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