Synopses & Reviews
To better understand the impact of social movements in recent years, this analysis distinguishes strategies of social change into two parts: organizing, which is characteristic of the 1960s movement in the United States, and accompaniment, which was articulated by Archbishop Óscar Romero of El Salvador. Both are valuable tools for understanding and promoting social movements; in accompaniment, the promoter of social change and his or her oppressed colleague view themselves as two experts, each bringing indispensable experience to a shared project. Together, as equals, they seek to create what the Zapatistas call “another world.” The author applies the distinction between accompaniment and organizing to five social movements in which he has taken part: the labor and civil rights movements, the antiwar movement, prisoner insurgencies, and the movement sparked by Occupy Wall Street. Also included are the experiences of the authors wife Alice Lynd, a partner in these efforts, who has been a draft counselor and advocate for prisoners in maximum-security confinement.
"Lynd's poignant memoir of a life devoted to social justice is also a chronicle of the major social movements of the second half of the 20th century. He describes the slow process of coming to understand that real change cannot be imposed by organizers from the outside without committed people within each community. Lynd (Lucasville)tells of workers such as his friend, Ed, who reminds him that 'the union's in the people.' While working in the Civil Rights Movement, he admired how members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee practiced 'accompaniment': living with and respecting the people they served. His chapter concerning the war in Vietnam leads to the example of El Salvadoran bishop Oscar Romero and the growth of his Liberation Theology, a Catholic movement promoting equality for the poor and indigenous. Despite resistance to his teaching, violence, and the murder of priests, Romero was made an archbishop in 1977, only to be assassinated in 1980. Lynd regards Romero's life as one of the best examples of accompaniment. Recently, Lynd and his wife, Alice, equally involved in this work, have been 'accompanying' prisoners at a nearby penitentiary. Lynd closes with an account of the Occupy movement as a hopeful sign of equality and solidarity for a better world. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Staughton Lynd taught American history at Spelman College and Yale University. He was director of Freedom Schools in the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer. An early leader of the movement against the Vietnam War, he was blacklisted and unable to continue as an academic. He then became a lawyer, and in this capacity has assisted rank-and-file workers and prisoners for the past thirty years. He is the author or coauthor of From Here to There, Labor Law for the Rank & Filer, Lucasville, Solidarity Unionism at Starbucks, and Wobblies & Zapatistas. He lives in Youngstown, Ohio.