Synopses & Reviews
An organizing manifesto for the twenty-first century, this comprehensive guide is a must-have for the activist's toolkit.
For decades, Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals has been acknowledged as the leading book in the field of organizing. But Playbook for Progressives proposes a more fundamental and long-term challenge, while articulating pragmatically what is required in the often mystifying and rarely explained on-the-ground practice of an organizer. Here, Eric Mann distills the lessons learned from his forty-five years as an organizer--from the Congress of Racial Equality and Students for a Democratic Society to the United Auto Workers and Los Angeles-based Labor/Community Strategy Center, where he's currently the director--as well as from other organizers within the civil rights, labor, LGBT, economic justice, and environmental movements.
Eric Mann is director of the Los Angeles–based Labor/Community Strategy Center and cofounder of the Bus Riders Union. He is the author of six books and has worked extensively with many organizations, including the Congress of Racial Equality, Students for a Democratic Society, and the United Auto Workers. He lives in Los Angeles.
An organizing manifesto for the twenty-first century, Playbook for Progressives is a must-have for the activist’s tool kit. This comprehensive guide articulates pragmatically what is required in the often mystifying and rarely explained on-the-ground practice of organizing. Here, Eric Mann distills lessons he learned from over forty years as an organizer, as well as from other organizers within the civil rights, labor, LGBT, economic justice, and environmental movements.
About the Author
Eric Mann is director of the Labor/Community Strategy Center in Los Angeles and founder of the Bus Riders Union. He has been a civil rights, anti-Vietnam War, labor, and environmental organizer with the Congress of Racial Equality, Students for a Democratic Society, United Auto Workers union, Soledad Brothers and Attica Brothers defense committees, and the Weathermen. He has written six books, including Comrade George, Taking On General Motors, L.A.'s Lethal Air, Dispatches from Durban, The 2004 Elections, and Katrina's Legacy. Mann is also the cohost of the weekly radio show Voices from the Frontlines, on KPFK Pacifica 90.7 FM in Los Angeles, and has published more than two hundred articles that have appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Boston After Dark, Worldwatch, Socialist Register, Black Agenda Report, Black Commentator, AhoraNow, and the Nation.
Table of Contents
part 1. The Job Description
12 Roles of the Successful Organizer
1. The Foot Soldier
2. The Evangelist
3. The Recruiter
4. The Group Builder
5. The Strategist
6. The Tactician
7. The Communicator
8. The Political Educator
9. The Agitator
10. The Fund-Raiser
11. The Comrade and Confidante
12. The Cadre
Part 2. The Qualities
16 Qualities of the Successful Organizer
1. Joins an Organization Based on Agreement with Its Strategy and Tactics
2. Builds a Base and Never Walks Alone
3. Sings with the Choir but Finds Her Own Voice
4. A Good Listener: Keeps an Ear to the Ground
5. A Good Investigator: Seeks Truth from Facts
6. Tribune of the People: Fights for All the Oppressed
7. Generosity of Spirit: Takes Good Care of Others
8. Self-Sustaining: Takes Good Care of Himself
9. Completes the Circle: From Start to Finish
10. Tactically Agile: Masters the Decision of the Moment
11. A Strong Class Stand: Which Side Are You On?
12. The Organizer as Expert: Science in Service to the People
13. Courageous and Militant: On the Front Lines of the Battle
14. A Strong Work Ethic: First to Arrive, Last to Leave
15. Relentless: Won’t Take No for an Answer
16. Fights to Win: Leading the Great Campaign
Conclusion: The Time for Transformative Organizing Is Now!