Inciting Democracy Cover

Inciting Democracy: A Practical Proposal for Creating a Good Society

Chapter 12:

Download this chapter in pdf format.

In This Chapter:

This chapter describes a large number of resources for learning about progressive ideas and social change efforts. It includes books, articles, publishers, radio programs, and websites. Those resources that are accessible on the Internet include email addresses and web references.

Back to Top

Books and Articles

The books which help you most are those which make you think the most.

— Theodore Parker

This section lists a few of the books and articles used to develop the ideas in this work. Some of the references are annotated. References cited in the text include the chapter number in brackets [ ] indicating where they are cited. In addition, references include a Library of Congress catalog number to make them easier to locate in a research library.

The readings for the START Study Course also provide many fine articles on these topics.

Visions of a Good Society

Utopian Novels

Bellamy, Edward. Looking Backward, 2000–1887. 1888; edited with an introduction by Cecelia Tichi. New York: Penguin Books, 1982, PS1086 .L6 1982.

In 1887, a young man falls into a trance. He awakens 113 years later in a world of peace and plenty. In this utopian society, everyone attends school until age 21, performs unskilled labor for three years, then works in a skilled career job until retirement at age 45. Housework is treated like all other work. Workers in arduous and dangerous trades work fewer hours than those performing easier tasks — the rate determined by how many people choose each profession. All people are expected to work to their ability.

Everyone in society, whether working or not, receives equal payment at the beginning of each year to spend as he/she chooses. This total economic equality among people completely eliminates poverty and greatly reduces crime. It also encourages cooperation and goodwill, ending the impetus for dishonesty, political wrangling, and war.

Workers are induced to high production by incentives of social rankings and through military-like discipline in the “industrial army” — which I find a bit objectionable. Otherwise, this socialist vision seems workable and persuasive. The system for publishing books and periodicals and for producing art is particularly innovative.

Bryant, Dorothy. The Kin of Ata are Waiting for You. New York: Moon Books/Random House, 1971, PS3552 .R878 .K5.

A violent and alienated man is transformed by his unexpected visit to an island inhabited by simple people who live peacefully, guided strictly by their dreams. The book begins with a violent murder, but then creates a genuinely uplifting spirit that touches one’s soul and makes the softening and socializing of a violent man seem clearly possible.

Callenbach, Ernest. Ecotopia: The Notebooks and Reports of William Weston. Berkeley, CA: Banyan Tree Books, 1975, PS3553 .A424 E2.

At a time in the future (1980), Washington, Oregon, and Northern California secede from the United States and create a positive, ecologically sustainable society. Twenty years later, a journalist visits Ecotopia and reports on all aspects of this attractive society.

This novel abounds with interesting and innovative ideas.

_____. Ecotopia Emerging. Berkeley, CA: Banyan Tree Books, 1981, PS3553 .A424 E3.

A prequel to Ecotopia that describes how the revolution came about. Though improbable, it offers more stimulating ideas about social change and visions of a good society.

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. Herland. 1915; reprint: New York: Pantheon Books, 1979, PZ3 .G4204He 1979.

In this utopian novel, three male adventurers stumble across an all-female society hidden high in a large valley in the mountains. Though suffering from antiquated, racist ideas and Victorian notions about sexuality and perfectionism, Gilman’s feminist and communitarian vision makes perceptive observations about sexism, classism, childrearing, education, criminality, and religion. It also offers positive alternatives.

As recent students of utopia have articulated, vigorous utopian thinking sketches models of a peaceable kingdom, points us toward society’s repressed possibilities, enables us to see more clearly actual tendencies, both positive and negative, strengthens our grounds for rejecting existing social forms, reactivates lost dreams and longings, and encourages political action.

— Ronald Aronson[1]

Heinlein, Robert A. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. New York: Ace Books, 1966, PS3515 .E288 M66. [Chap. 2]

This science fiction novel shows that it is relatively easy to overthrow a dictatorship when most vital functions of society (a penal colony underneath the surface of the moon) are run by a supercomputer that is so large it has awakened into consciousness — and this conscious computer sympathizes with the revolutionary cause.

Though completely improbable, this novel does summarize conventional ideas about organizing a violent revolution through secret cells. It also offers some interesting alternatives to nuclear families.

Huxley, Aldous. Island. New York: Perennial/Harper & Row, 1962, PR6015 .U9I8.

This novel champions Eastern religion and hallucinogenic drugs too much for my tastes, but it has several interesting ideas about education and recovery from traumatic emotional experiences.

LeGuin, Ursula K. The Dispossessed. New York: Harper & Row/Avon, 1974, PZ4 .L518Di.

A planet much like the Earth (called Urras) has exiled members of a nonviolent, anarchist change movement to its very desolate moon (Annares). After two hundred years of almost complete separation, a physicist from Annares travels to Urras and observes the differences between the two societies.

There is nothing like dream to create the future. Utopia today, flesh and blood tomorrow.

— Victor Hugo

Urras is extremely stratified with the rich dominating the poor, men dominating women, and a few countries dominating the rest. In sharp contrast, Annares has almost no status distinctions (and hence no racism, sexism, classism, or nationalism). Everyone performs both manual and intellectual labor. Money is not used — instead each person takes what she needs and offers what she can. Still, in this attractive society, bureaucracy, rigidity, and personal fiefdoms develop and must be resisted.

This wonderfully engrossing novel makes a communitarian-anarchist society seem very possible and desirable.

Morris, William. News from Nowhere. 1890; reprinted in Three Works by William Morris. New York: International Publishers, 1968.

The morning after a Socialist League meeting in 1890, a man awakens one hundred twenty years later. He discovers that a general strike led to a successful revolution in 1952 and that society is now egalitarian and environmentally oriented.

Gender roles in this utopian vision are somewhat traditional, but otherwise it is amazingly forward looking as it explores architecture, love, work, economics, ecology, and revolution.

Piercy, Marge. Woman on the Edge of Time. New York: Knopf, 1988 [1976], PS3566 .I4 W6 1988.

Held against her will in a mental hospital, a woman is visited telepathically by a woman from the year 2137 who describes her world. This novel contrasts the horrors of 1960s mental wards with the gentle egalitarianism of a future world. Though depressing overall and somewhat dated in its perspective, it presents many innovative ideas including gender-blind terminology: “person” and “per” instead of “he” and “his.”

Starhawk. The Fifth Sacred Thing. New York: Bantam, 1993, PS3569 .T33565 F54 1993.

This vision relies too much on goddess magic for my tastes, but it does provide a nice description of nonviolent resistance to armed attack.

Back to Top


Aronson, Ronald. After Marxism. New York: Guilford Press, 1995, HX44.5 .A78 1994. [Preface, Chap. 4, Chap. 5, and Chap. 12]

Long-term Marxist philosopher and theorist Ronald Aronson persuasively argues that the Marxist Project as described by Marx has not yet and never will occur. He argues for a new, radical change project that differs from the Marxist project in several ways:

First, it will be without historical certainty…

Second, a movement aiming at significant change will be a politics of identity as well as a politics of social structures and power.…

Third, the theories and explanations that a new movement will draw on will have an open character, rather than being passed off as a single and certain revolutionary science.…

Fourth, a new radical movement will abandon the notion that it is theoretically and practically focused on a single decisive area of human oppression [class] and a single social agent who can pull the lever to transform it [the proletariat].…

Finally, if there is to be a movement, it will have to become one as a coalition of groups and forces each seeking their own changes. It will be based on a plurality of needs and demands, will have to focus on changing a plurality of structures and practices and attitudes, and its various component groups will have to learn how to interact collectively and with mutual respect. Its general appeal — its unity — if it is to exist, will have to be built group by group, block by block.

In short, if there is to be a new radical project, it will scarcely resemble what we children of Marx have come to expect. (pp. 179–180)

He also argues that morality should be at the center of this new, radical project.

Feuer, Lewis S., ed. Marx and Engels: Basic Writings on Politics and Philosophy. Garden City, NY: Anchor, Doubleday, 1959, HX276 .M27736. [Chap. 4]

The eighteen papers in this collection outline the basic philosophy of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, their criticism of capitalism, and their vision of a socialist transformation. This anthology includes The Communist Manifesto and excerpts from Capital: A Critique of Political Economy.

Harrington, Michael. Socialism: Past and Future. New York: Arcade/Little, Brown and Company, 1989, HX44 .H35 1989.

Harrington reviews the history of socialism and argues for democratic socialism.


Ehrlich, Howard J., ed. Reinventing Anarchy, Again. San Francisco: AK Press, 1996, HX833 .R43 1995. Revised edition of Reinventing Anarchy, 1978.

Anarchism, often maligned as promoting chaos, destruction, and bloodshed, actually promotes cooperation and personal responsibility. The thirty-four essays in this collection describe contemporary anarchist theory and practice, particularly anarchafeminism, worker self-management, liberatory culture, self-liberation, and the process of building an anarchist society.

Goldman, Emma. Living my Life. New York: Dover Publications, 1970, HX843 .G6A3 1970 [New York: Knopf, 1931].

In this autobiography, anarchist Goldman (1869–1940) describes how she fought for the poor and oppressed, and then how the United States deported her to the Soviet Union in 1919. There, she discovered the dark side of the Bolshevik Revolution and began speaking out against leftist oppression as well as capitalist oppression.

Krimerman, Leonard I., and Lewis Perry, eds. Patterns of Anarchy: A Collection of Writings on the Anarchist Tradition. Garden City, NY: Doubleday/Anchor, 1966, HX828 .K7.

The fifty-seven essays in this collection look at anarchism from a variety of perspectives. The collection includes articles by Peter Kropotkin, Michael Bakunin, Leo Tolstoy, Dorothy Day, Alexander Berkman, Emma Goldman, Max Stirner, George Woodcock, Bertrand Russell, Paul Goodman, Colin Ward, and many others.

Kropotkin, Peter. Kropotkin’s Revolutionary Pamphlets: A Collection of Writings by Peter Kropotkin. Introduction, biographical sketch, and notes by Roger N. Baldwin, ed. New York: Dover Publications, 1970 [1927], HX915 .K89.

_____. The Essential Kropotkin. Emile Capouya and Keitha Tompkins, eds. New York: Liveright, 1975, HX828 .K73 1975.

At the time when capitalist ideas of unfettered competition were coming to dominate society, Kropotkin focused on developing a workable anarchist society — one based on mutual aid, reciprocity, and cooperation. This collection of his writings presents his practical ideas for reshaping all aspects of society.

Ward, Colin. Anarchy in Action. Fourth Printing. London: Freedom Press, 1982 [1973], HX833 .W37.

Ward explores the ways that people organize themselves when they are not restricted by government or other coercive structures.

Other Visions

Satin, Mark. New Options for America: The Second American Experiment Has Begun. Fresno: The Press at California State University, Fresno, 1991.

In these essays from his New Options magazine, Satin describes a variety of innovative ideas developed and promoted by various nonprofit organizations. Though some of the ideas seem naïve or misguided, many are fascinating.

Shuman, Michael H. Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in a Global Age. New York: The Free Press, Simon & Schuster, 1998, HC110 .E5S49 1998. [App. A]

Shuman proposes a new economics based primarily on the support of local communities. Specifically, he makes a convincing case for for-profit businesses whose shareholders are required to be local residents of a community. He argues these corporations would be more likely to be socially responsible than global corporations, perhaps even more than nonprofits, cooperatives, or public enterprises.

He provides an excellent critique of multinational corporations and global trade and offers a variety of sensible policy initiatives that would strengthen communities and make them more responsive to the people who live in them. These include:

Back to Top

Critiques of Society

Note: There are thousands of excellent books offering progressive critiques of society. Listed here are a few that provide an overview, some that are particularly relevant to the thesis of this book, and a few with particularly interesting perspectives. Consult the catalogs of the progressive publishers listed at the end of this chapter for more comprehensive lists of recent books. Especially noteworthy, are the many works by Noam Chomsky and Michael Parenti.


Benewick, Robert, and Philip Green, eds. The Routledge Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Political Thinkers. 2nd ed. London and New York: Routledge, 1997, JA83 .R725 1997.

This dictionary provides a useful guide to political ideas in the twentieth century. Each of the 174 entries includes a short biography of the individual profiled, his or her main ideas, commentary on the ideas, and a short bibliography.

Miller, David, ed. The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political Thought. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers, 1987, JA61 .B57 1987. [Chap. 4]

This valuable reference has 350 entries covering both political philosophies and the people who conceived and promoted them. Each entry includes commentary and a short bibliography.

Outhwaite, William, and Tom Bottomore, eds. The Blackwell Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Social Thought. Oxford, UK, and Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 1993, H41 .B53 1993.

This valuable reference focuses on recent social philosophies.

Ruggiero, Greg, and Stuart Sahulka, eds. The New American Crisis: Radical Analyses of the Problems Facing America Today. New York: New Press, 1995, E885 .N48 1996.

These 23 essays and interviews address many of the essential issues of our time and offer alternative solutions.

The Power Elite

Barlett, Donald L., and James B. Steele. America: What Went Wrong?. Kansas City, MO: Andrews and McMeel, 1992, HC106.8 .B373 1992.

Based on their articles in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Barlett and Steele describe how elite interests in Washington and on Wall Street have changed the rules to benefit the privileged, the powerful, and the influential at the expense of everyone else.

Domhoff, G. William. The Higher Circles: The Governing Class in America. New York: Random House, 1970, HN58 .D575.

Domhoff explores various characteristics of the upper class. He also demonstrates a variety of research methods for analyzing this group, which is difficult to study using the usual methods.

_____. The Powers that Be: Processes of Ruling Class Domination in America. New York: Random House, Vintage, 1978, HN90 .E4D65 1979b. [Chap. 3]

Domhoff reveals how the owners and managers of large banks and corporations obtain special tax breaks, subsidies, and other economic favors from the government. He also examines the way they dominate government regulatory policy, foreign policy, economic development programs, and the candidate selection process.

_____. Who Rules America Now?: How the “Power Elite” Dominates Business, Government, and Society. New York: Simon & Schuster/Touchstone, 1986, HN90 .E4 D652 1986. [Chap. 3]

_____. Who Rules America: Power and Politics in the Year 2000. 3rd ed. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing, 1998, HN90 .E4 D654 1998. [Chap. 3]

Domhoff presents systematic, empirical evidence that elite interests dominate the American economy and government. In this most recent edition, he uses a variety of terms — “the power elite,” “the power structure,” “the corporate community,” “the powers that be,” “the higher circles,” “the corporate rich,” “the corporate-conservative coalition,” and “the dominant class” — to describe the various elements and aspects of the elite.

Domhoff also has an excellent website — — that summarizes and updates these books.

Hightower, Jim. There’s Nothing in the Middle of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos. New York: HarperCollins, 1997, E885 .H56 1997.

In this funny and accessible book, populist Hightower details the class war being waged by the power elite and corporations against the rest of us.

Lapham, Lewis H. Money and Class in America: Notes and Observations on our Civil Religion. New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1988, HC110 .W4 L24 1988.

Mills, C. Wright. The Power Elite. New York: Oxford University Press, 1956, E169.1 .M64. [Chap. 3]

Mills describes the circle of rich people, politicians, corporation executives, celebrities, and admirals and generals who constitute the power elite.

Trounstein, Philip J., and Terry Christensen. Movers and Shakers: The Study of Community Power. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1982, JC330 .T86. [Chap. 3]

Trounstein and Christensen explain several theories about community power, then use the reputational method to identify the most powerful people in San Jose, California.

Back to Top


Barnet, Richard J., and Ronald E. Mueller. Global Reach: The Power of the Multinational Corporations. New York: Touchstone/Simon and Schuster, 1974, HD69 .I7 .B32.

Estes, Ralph W. Tyranny of the Bottom Line: Why Corporations Make Good People Do Bad Things. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 1996, HD60 .E784 1996.

Estes describes how corporations — largely unconstrained by captive regulatory agencies — have achieved a powerful dominance over society. This has resulted in poisoning of the environment, unsafe working conditions, unhealthy and dangerous products, massive layoffs, skyrocketing CEO salaries, and lavish financial bailouts. He offers a specific reform plan for creating more effective and humane companies by means of an evaluation system to tally the effects of a corporation’s actions on all its stakeholders, not just its stockholders.

Kallen, Laurence. Corporate Welfare: The Megabankruptcies of the 80s and 90s. Secaucus, NJ: Carol Publishing. Group, 1991, KF1539 .K34 1990.

Korten, David C. When Corporations Rule the World. West Hartford, CT: Kumarian Press; San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 1995, HD2326 .K647 1995.

Korten, a former U.S. Agency for International Development official, describes the power of global corporations and the devastating consequences of economic globalization.

Greider, William. Who Will Tell the People?: The Betrayal of American Democracy. New York: Simon & Schuster/Touchstone, 1992, JK1764 .G74 1992.

Greider describes the reality of power in Washington, especially the hidden relationships that link politicians with corporations and the rich. He also shows how these power dynamics subvert the needs of ordinary citizens.

Waldman, Michael, and the staff of Public Citizen’s CongressWatch. Who Robbed America?: A Citizen’s Guide to the S&L Scandal. New York: Random House, 1990, HG2151 .W35 1990.

Distribution of Wealth

Barlett, Donald L., and James B. Steele. America: Who Really Pays the Taxes? New York: Simon and Schuster, Touchstone, 1994, HJ2381 .B37 1994. [Chap. 3, App. A]

Barlett and Steele show how tax policy targets the poor and the middle-class and benefits corporations and the rich.

Collins, Chuck, Betsy Leondar-Wright, and Holly Sklar. Shifting Fortunes: The Perils of the Growing American Wealth Gap. Boston [37 Temple Place, 02111, (617) 423-2148]: United for a Fair Economy, 1999.

This small book provides an excellent overview of the gap in wealth between the rich and poor in the United States. It includes eighteen tables of recent data.

Phillips, Kevin. Boiling Point: Democrats, Republicans and the Decline of Middle-Class Prosperity. New York: HarperCollins, 1994, HT690 .U6P48 1994. [App. A]

Phillips, a Republican campaign strategist, describes the decline of the middle-class in the 1980s.

_____. The Politics of Rich and Poor: Wealth and the American Electorate in the Reagan Aftermath. New York: Random House, 1990, HC110 .W4 P48 1990. [Chap. 3]

Phillips shows how President Reagan’s tax policies shifted money from the poor to the rich.

Pizzigati, Sam. The Maximum Wage: A Common-Sense Prescription for Revitalizing America by Taxing the Very Rich. New York: Apex Press, 1992, HC110 .I5P59 1992. [Chap. 3, App. A]

Pizzigati traces the history of U.S. tax policy and the many popular struggles to limit the incomes of the very wealthy. He argues for new federal income tax rates calibrated to the minimum wage that would tax away the excess income of the richest one percent and provide a hefty tax reduction for everyone else.

Zepezauer, Mark, and Arthur Naiman. Take the Rich Off Welfare. Tucson: Odonian Press, 1996, HJ7537 .Z46 1996.

In this short book, Zepezauer and Naiman enumerate the various subsidies, handouts, tax breaks, loopholes, and scams given to corporations and wealthy individuals that totaled at least $448 billion in 1996.

Back to Top


Albert, Michael, and Robin Hahnel. Looking Forward: Participatory Economics for the Twenty First Century. Boston: South End Press, 1991. [Chap. 2]

Albert and Hahnel propose a practical and humane economic system based on equitable consumption, participatory planning, and self-management organized efficiently and productively without hierarchical control.

Bowles, Samuel, and Richard Edwards. Understanding Capitalism: Competition, Command, and Change in the U.S. Economy, 2nd ed. New York: Harper Collins College Publishers, 1993, HB171.5 .B6937 1993.

Unlike most economics textbooks that promote neoclassical mythology, this one describes economic reality. It explores three kinds of economic relationships: (1) voluntary exchange and competition among relative equals in marketplaces — the ideal economy that most conventional economics texts cover, (2) unequal relationships in which one actor has the power to impose costs on another or to control the information that another receives — including monopolies, government regulation, manager/subordinate relationships, advertising-induced demand, and hostile takeovers, and (3) the changes that an economic system goes through over time. The book analyzes the efficiency of various economic systems and discusses how fair and democratic they are.

Folbre, Nancy, and the Center for Popular Economics. The New Field Guide to the U.S. Economy: A Compact and Irreverent Guide to Economic Life in America. New York: The New Press, 1995, HC106.5 .F565 1995.

Through stories, charts, graphs, short descriptions, and cartoons, this book presents a clear and accessible overview of the economy and how it affects a variety of people.

Henderson, Hazel. Building a Win-Win World: Life Beyond Global Economic Warfare. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 1996, HD75.6 .H458 1996.

Economist Henderson argues that the global economy is based on shortsighted, narrow economic policies. She demonstrates that — because of its negative effects on employees, families, communities, and the ecosystem — it is unsustainable.

Kuttner, Robert. Everything for Sale: the Virtues and Limits of Markets. A Century Foundation Book. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996, HC106.82 .K87 1999.

Kuttner shows how the implementation of free market ideology has retarded economic growth, increased income inequality, undermined democracy, and restricted access to health care and other important social provisions. He documents market failure in a variety of sectors including medicine, banking, securities, telecommunications, air travel, sports, and electric power. Kuttner explains that the call for “pure markets” — free of government regulation — is really a corporate plea to avoid responsibility for community and society well being.

Kuttner calls for a mixed economy with strong government regulation of the private sector. He would also have the government administer basic social programs like health care and pension benefits. He argues that government should provide incentives to corporations that treat their employees in a socially responsible manner. Moreover, Kuttner advocates for a more progressive tax system that could redistribute economic and political power. To keep markets in their place, he believes Americans must actively participate in civic affairs and maintain a strong democracy.

Mander, Jerry, and Edward Goldsmith, eds. The Case Against the Global Economy and for a Turn toward the Local. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1996, HD75.6 .C376 1996.

The 43 essays in this collection, by leading economic, environmental, agricultural, and cultural experts, charge that free trade and economic globalization are producing exactly the opposite results from what has been promised. They argue instead for an international system based on revitalized democracy, local self-sufficiency, and ecological health.

Morrison, Roy. We Build the Road as We Travel. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1991, HD3218 .M66 M67 1991. [Chap. 2]

Morrison describes the forty-year history of the Mondragon cooperative network in Spain, which consists of 170 worker-owned-and-operated cooperatives serving over 100,000 people and providing over 21,000 secure and well-paid jobs.

Schumacher, E. F. Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered. New York: Perennial Library/ Harper & Row, 1973, HD82 .S37892 1975.

Schumacher argues for a human-oriented and human-sized economic system with products designed to be understood, built, and repaired by regular people.

Sklar, Holly. Chaos or Community?: Seeking Solutions, Not Scapegoats for Bad Economics. Boston: South End Press, 1995, HC110 .I5 S57 1995. [App. A]

Sklar explains how and why Americans, working harder than ever these days, still cannot achieve their dreams.

Back to Top

The Environment

Bookchin, Murray. Remaking Society: Pathways to a Green Future. Boston: South End Press, 1990, HN18 .B635 1989.

Bookchin argues that today’s global ecological crisis stems from social hierarchy and domination. He calls for “an ecological society based on nonhierarchical relationships, decentralized democratic communities, and eco-technologies like solar power, organic agriculture, and humanly scaled industries.”

Brown, Lester R., Christopher Flavin, and Hilary French. State of the World. Annual. New York: W. W. Norton and Worldwatch Institute, 2000, HC59 .S76 2000.

This annual survey offers a comprehensive analysis of negative environmental trends and a guide to emerging solutions.

Milbrath, Lester W. Envisioning a Sustainable Society: Learning Our Way Out. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1989, GF41 .M53 1989. [Chap. 2]

Milbrath provides a detailed summary of the Green perspective. He argues that our current dominator culture is not sustainable and advocates a paradigm shift in thinking toward a learning society, one that (p. 95–112):

Szasz, Andrew. EcoPopulism: Toxic Waste and the Movement for Environmental Justice. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994, GE170 .S9 1994.

Back to Top

Communication Media

Ansolabehere, Stephen, and Shanto Iyengar. Going Negative: How Political Advertisements Shrink and Polarize the Electorate. New York: Free Press, 1996, JF2112 .A4 A57 1996.

Based on a six-year study, these two political scientists establish a link between negative political advertising and low voter turnout.

Bagdikian, Ben H. The Media Monopoly. 5th ed. Boston: Beacon Press, 1997, P96 .E252 U625 1997. [Chap. 3]

Bagdikian provides a detailed analysis of the growing concentration of the major communications media. In the original 1984 edition of this book, Bagdikian found that fifty corporations dominated control of daily newspapers, magazines, radio, television, books, and movies. With greater consolidation, he now finds that “in 1996 the number of media corporations with dominant power in society is closer to ten.” These ten, with some of their most prominent holdings, are: Disney (ABC, America On-Line), Westinghouse (CBS), General Electric (NBC), Murdoch’s News Corporation Limited (Fox, TV Guide), Time Warner (Time, People, Sports Illustrated, Warner Brothers, HBO, CNN, TNT), Viacom, Sony, Tele-Communications, Inc. (TCI), Seagram, and Gannett. Bagdikian also points out that the Telecommunications Act of 1996 has allowed these corporations to own a share of each other and develop strategic partnerships with each other, thus eliminating most competition.

Fallows, James. Breaking the News: How the Media Undermine American Democracy. New York: Pantheon Books, 1996, PN4888 .O25 F35 1996.

Fallows, Washington editor of the Atlantic Monthly, charges the U.S. media with arrogance, irresponsibility, and negativism. Instead of providing useful facts and engaging the public in debate about vital issues, he argues the media provide celebrity-based entertainment and endless scare-stories about a world out of control.

Herman, Edward S., and Noam Chomsky. Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. New York: Pantheon Books, 1988, P95.82 .U6H47 1988. [Chap. 3]

In this meticulously documented book, Herman and Chomsky show how the marketplace and the economics of publishing — as well as an underlying elite consensus — shape the news. They reveal how issues are framed and topics chosen to manufacture public consent for elite policies.

Lee, Martin A., and Norman Soloman. Unreliable Sources: A Guide to Detecting Bias in News Media. New York: Carol Publishing Group/Lyle Stuart, 1990, PN4888 .O25 L44 1990. [Chap. 1]

McChesney, Robert W. Corporate Media and the Threat to Democracy. New York: Seven Stories Press, 1997, P96 .I5 M337 1997.

In this short book, media scholar McChesney persuasively argues that corporate control of the mass media undercuts democracy.

McChesney, Robert W. Rich Media, Poor Democracy: Communication Politics in Dubious Times. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1999, P95.82 .U6M38.

McChesney describes the contradiction “between a for-profit, highly concentrated, advertising-saturated, corporate media system and the communication requirements of a democratic society.” He calls for vigorous antitrust litigation against media conglomerates, robust regulation of corporate broadcasters, and government subsidies for nonprofit journalism.

Parry, Robert. Fooling America: How Washington Insiders Twist the Truth and Manufacture the Conventional Wisdom. New York: Morrow, 1992, HN90 .P8 P37 1992.

Parry, a former reporter for the Associated Press and Newsweek details the opinion-shaping process in the United States.


Lappé, Frances Moore, Joseph Collins, and Peter Rosset with Luis Esparza. World Hunger: 12 Myths. 1986. 2nd ed. fully rev. and updated. London: Earthscan Publications Ltd., 1998, HD9000.5 .L35 1998. [Chap. 1]

Lappé, Frances Moore, and Joseph Collins. Food First: Beyond the Myth of Scarcity. 1977. Rev. and updated. New York: Ballantine Books, 1979, HD9000.6 .L34 1979. [Chap. 1]

In these two books, researchers at the Institute for Food and Development Policy (Food First) show that hunger is caused by a lack of democracy (control over one’s life), not a lack of food.

Back to Top


Hale, Grace Elizabeth. Making Whiteness: The Culture of Segregation in the South, 1890-1940. New York: Pantheon Books, 1998, F215 .H18 1998.

Hale examines the social construction of whiteness and the “culture of segregation.”

Jacobson, Matthew Frye. Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998, E184 .E95 J33 1998.

In the 19th century, “whiteness” was reserved for Anglo-Saxons. Slowly, the concept of whiteness evolved to include the Irish, Northern Europeans, and Scandinavians, then other white gentiles, then Jews. Jacobson investigates the reasons for this change.

Kivel, Paul. Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1995, E184 .A1K477 1995.

Kivel offers concrete examples of the day-to-day privileges provided to white people (European Americans) and shows that even well intentioned white people unknowingly act in ways that promote injustice. He offers suggestions for how white people can work toward equity and equality for everyone.

West, Cornel. Race Matters. Boston: Beacon Press, 1993, E185.615 .W43 1993.

In this collection of essays, West points out the limits of the intellectual frameworks used by whites, blacks, liberals, and conservatives in discussing race in the United States. He vigorously criticizes racism, but also challenges black conservatives, black anti-Semitism, and our market-driven culture that devastates those at the bottom.

Woodward, C. Vann. The Strange Career of Jim Crow. 3rd rev. ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1974, E185.61 .W86 1974.

Woodward examines the Jim Crow segregation laws in the post-Civil War South. He discovers that the imposition of strict segregation did not immediately follow the War. He also finds that the adoption of Jim Crow laws was not due simply to racism — political factors played a major role.

Wright, Bruce. Black Robes, White Justice. Secaucus, NJ: Lyle Stuart, 1987, KF373 .W67 A33 1987.

New York Supreme Court Justice Wright charges that most judges — predominantly male, white, and upper middle-class — have little understanding of racism or its influence on their thinking and conduct.

Back to Top


Abu-Jamal, Mumia. Live From Death Row. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1995, HV8699 .U5 A65 1995.

Abu-Jamal, an award-winning radio reporter and prisoner awaiting the death penalty, excoriates the brutality of prisons and criticizes the racism and political bias in the American judicial system that, he argues, led to his own wrongful conviction.

Suppression of Activists

Center for Research on Criminal Justice. The Iron Fist and the Velvet Glove: An Analysis of the U.S. Police. Berkeley, CA: Center for Research on Criminal Justice, 1975, HV8138 .C46 1975.

This book looks at the history of police forces and their use in maintaining political control, finding that the police have always been used to thwart progressive change efforts.

Cowan, Paul, Nick Egleson, and Nat Hentoff. State Secrets: Police Surveillance in America. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1974, JC599 .U5C67.

It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.

— Voltaire

Donner, Frank. The Age of Surveillance: The Aims and Methods of America’s Political Intelligence System. New York: Knopf, Random House, 1980, JK468 .I6 .D65 1980.

Donner traces the emergence of the “intelligence” establishment from its modest origins to its present position as a massive, oppressive institution for enforcing social control.

Glick, Brian. War at Home: Covert Action Against U.S. Activists and What We Can Do About It. Boston: South End Press, 1989, HV8141 .G57 1988. [Chap. 3]

Glick summarizes the many ways in which the government’s COINTELPRO program waged covert action against activists in the 1960s and how similar efforts were directed against activists working in the 1980s to end oppression in Central America.

Goldstein, Robert. Political Repression in Modern America: 1870 to the Present. Cambridge, MA: Schenkman Publishing, 1977, JC599 .U5G58. [Chap. 3]

In this comprehensive study of government attacks on dissenters in the past century, Goldstein shows that repression has been a consistent instrument of government policy, frequently altering the course of history.

Halperin, Morton H., Jerry J. Berman, Robert L. Borosage, and Christine M. Marwick. The Lawless State: The Crimes of U.S. Intelligence Agencies. New York: Penguin Books, 1976, JK468 .I6 .L38.

Drawing on the 1976 Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Activities report and many other official public sources, this book devastatingly and undeniably describes the vast scope of government surveillance and harassment of activists carried out by the CIA, FBI, National Security Agency (NSA), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), military intelligence agencies, and grand juries. It focuses particularly on the 1960s and early 1970s.

Helvarg, David. The War Against the Greens: The Wise Use Movement, the New Right, and Anti-Environmental Violence. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1994, GE197 .H45 1994. [Chap. 3]

Helvarg describes current violence and terrorism directed at environmentalists.

Schultz, Bud, and Ruth Schultz. It Did Happen Here: Recollections of Political Repression in America. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989, JC599 .U518 1989.

This book contains interviews with 34 U.S. activists who were attacked and repressed in the twentieth century. It includes an annotated bibliography of other books on repression.

Back to Top


Axelrod, Robert M. “The Evolution of Cooperation.” Science 211 (March 27, 1981): 1390–1396. [Chap. 1]

Axelrod, Robert M. The Evolution of Cooperation. New York: Basic Books, 1984, HM131 .A89 1984. [Chap. 1]

Social scientists have often employed the Prisoner’s Dilemma game to study behavior. In the Prisoner’s Dilemma, two players must decide — without conferring — to cooperate with each other or to defect. If they both decide to cooperate, they achieve a certain amount of benefit (say having a value of 3). If one tries to cooperate, but the other defects, then the cooperator gains nothing, but the defector achieves even more benefit (say of value 5). If they both defect, then they both gain only minimally (say of value 1). This game is fascinating because it explores the tension between cooperation and selfishness. If one player can defect while enticing the other to try to cooperate, then that player can win big. However, if both cooperate, they both do better than if they both defect.

Using a computer simulation, Axelrod shows that in an environment in which the game is played repeatedly, one of the most productive and stable strategies is the one known as “Tit for Tat.” Tit for Tat is the policy of cooperating in the first round and then doing whatever the other player did in the last round. Tit for Tat cooperates well with other cooperative strategies, thus achieving a fairly large payoff. However, when confronted with an uncooperative strategy, it is not exploited. It is a “nice” strategy (always trying to cooperate at first), one that is provoked by a defection from the other player, and yet is very forgiving (it only retaliates once). It encourages other players to cooperate and never attempts to exploit another player.

Taking an ecological approach, Axelrod created an environment with many players that used a variety of strategies (as posed by other game theorists) and pitted them against each other. Then he calculated what would happen if each of the strategies were submitted to the next round in proportion to its success in the previous round. This process was repeated for many rounds and Tit For Tat ended up displacing all the other strategies: it was the most robust and stable strategy. By cooperating with other cooperative strategies, it was able to increase its strength enough to outpace the non-cooperative strategies.

Axelrod also points out that, even in an environment dominated by “mean” strategies (ones that always defect), a cluster of Tit For Tat players can cooperate enough with each other that they can eventually build themselves up and outdistance the others. This suggests a possibly promising approach for progressive change activists.

Kohn, Alfie. No Contest: The Case Against Competition, rev. ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1992, HM291 .K634 1992.

Kohn convincingly condemns the kind of competition that requires the failure of another for one’s own success. Backing his arguments with extensive citations from social science research, he demolishes four myths:

Strip away all the assumptions about what competition is supposed to do, all the claims in its behalf that we accept and repeat reflexively. What you have left is the essence of the concept: mutually exclusive goal attainment (MEGA). One person succeeds only if another does not. From this uncluttered perspective, it seems clear right away that something is drastically wrong with such an arrangement. How can we do our best when we are spending our energies trying to make others lose — and fearing that they will make us lose? Can this sort of struggle really be the best way to have a good time? What happens to our self-esteem when it becomes dependent on how much better we do than the next person? Most striking of all is the impact of this arrangement on human relationship: a structural incentive to see other people lose cannot help but drive a wedge between us and invite hostility.…

All of these conclusions seem to flow from the very nature of competition. As it happens, they also are corroborated by the evidence — what we see around us and what scores of studies have been finding.…

I have become convinced that competition is an inherently undesirable arrangement, that the phrase healthy competition is actually a contradiction in terms. This is nothing short of heresy because only two positions on the question are normally recognized: enthusiastic support and qualified support.…

I believe that the case against competition is so compelling that parenthetical qualifications to the effect that competing can sometimes be constructive would be incongruous and unwarranted. (p. 9)

Taylor, Michael. Anarchy and Cooperation. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1976, HX833 .T38 1976.

Taylor explores whether people would cooperate with each other without the intervention of government. He argues that Hobbes’ Leviathan and Hume’s Treatise for Government describe the human situation in a way that can be modeled by an iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma game. He then shows that despite the precariousness of the mutual cooperation situation in this iterated game, it is still rational under some circumstances for the players to cooperate, even if they only pursue their own self-interest.

Feminist Critiques

Brownmiller, Susan. Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1975, HV6558 .B76.

In this classic feminist analysis, Brownmiller systematically identifies and dispels the many myths about rape.

Ehrenreich, Barbara, and Deirdre English. For Her Own Good: 150 Years of the Experts’ Advice to Women. Garden City, NY: Anchor Books/Doubleday, 1998, HQ1426 .E38.

Ehrenreich and English present a clear analysis of the ways in which “expert” professionals, especially doctors, have treated women.

Koedt, Anne, Ellen Levine, and Anita Rapone, eds. Radical Feminism. New York: Quadrangle Books, 1973, HQ1426 .K63.

This classic collection of essays presents the new ideas of the second wave of feminism developed in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Back to Top


Edelman, Marian Wright. Families in Peril: An Agenda for Social Change. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987, HV699 .E34 1987.


Greven, Philip. Spare the Child: The Religious Roots of Punishment and the Psychological Impact of Physical Abuse. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Random House, 1991, HQ770.4 .G74 1990.

This research study by historian Greven focuses on Christians’ use of Biblical texts to justify corporal punishment. He analyzes the destructive effects this punishment has on our culture.

Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery: Tracing the Roots of Violence. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997, HQ784 .V55K37 1997.

Karr-Morse and Wiley present evidence that violent behavior is fundamentally linked to abuse and neglect in the first two years of life (from conception to 18 months of age). They describe recent research that shows how trust, empathy, conscience, and lifelong learning (or alternatively, a predisposition to violent behavior) are “hardwired” into the brain during pregnancy and infancy.

Lewis, Thomas, Fari Amini, and Richard Lannon. A General Theory of Love. New York: Random House, 2000, BF575 .L8 L49 2000.

These three doctors review the neurological literature and argue that affection, communication, and play are essential for the proper development of children. They call for more cuddling and for babies to sleep with their parents.

Miller, Alice. For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence. Hildegarde and Hunter Hannum, trans. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1983, HQ769 .M531613 1983; originally published in German as Am Anfang war Erziehung, 1980. [Chap. 3]

Through analyzing a variety of case studies, German psychotherapist Alice Miller contends that when children’s vital needs for love, respect, and protection are frustrated and they are instead exploited, beaten, punished, manipulated, neglected, or deceived — without the intervention of any witness — then their psyches will be severely damaged. If, further, they are prevented from expressing their natural anger, pain, and fear, they will often completely suppress their feelings, repress their memories of the trauma, and sometimes even idealize those who abused them. Later, these intense, repressed feelings are likely to be directed towards others as criminal behavior or against themselves as drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution, mental illness, or suicide. If these battered children grow up to become parents, they often direct their repressed anger towards their own children.

She explores the cultural and religious ideas used to justify beating, manipulating, or humiliating children that drives the willfulness and joy out of them. She shows how this “poisonous pedagogy” leads to adults who are docile, servile, and unfeeling and thus ripe for exploitation by dictators like Adolph Hitler.

Small, Meredith F. Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent. New York: Bantam Books, 1998, RJ61 .S6345 1998.

Anthropologist Meredith Small summarizes a variety of academic studies that examine parenting behavior. She discovers that numerous studies show babies cry less (are more content) when they are (1) attended to immediately when they cry, (2) fed as needed rather than on a schedule, and (3) spend most of their time being held or in body contact with their mothers or other caretakers.

She points out that throughout human history babies have spent most of their time being held in close contact by their mothers in slings and being breastfed whenever they want. Biologically that is what babies require and that is what they get in most of the world. However, babies in the western world spend a tremendous amount of time alone, isolated from their mothers’ bodies in chairs, car seats, cribs, and walkers. Most western babies also sleep alone, typically isolated in their own rooms.


Holt, John. How Children Fail. New York: Dell Publishing, 1964, LB1555 .H78.

In this classic book, Holt describes his experience as a young teacher in “above average” schools working with “bright” students. He describes the mind-crippling malaise induced by typical educational methods and offers positive alternatives.

_____. How Children Learn. New York: Dell Publishing, 1967, LB1555 .H79.

Holt describes the way children are hurt and oppressed by the education system and the ways they actually learn in a supportive environment.

Illich, Ivan. Deschooling Society. New York: Harper & Row, 1971, LA210 .I4 1971.

Kozol, Jonathan. Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools. New York: HarperPerennial Library, 1992, LC4091 .K69 1992.

Kozol reveals the separate and unequal nature of the public school system in this country. He contrasts the old, crumbling, over-crowded, equipment-starved schools in poor black and Hispanic neighborhoods with the new, well-stocked schools in more affluent white and Asian neighborhoods nearby.

Neill, A. S. Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing. New York: Hart Publishing, 1960, P499 .N41.

Neill describes the transformation that boys made when they attended an alternative school he operated in England in the 1950s. They changed from being selfish, sullen, and angry to being responsible and cooperative.

Russell, Bertrand. Education and the Social Order. New Ed. London: Allen and Unwin, 1967, LB775 .R83 1967.

Back to Top

Other Destructive Cultural Norms

Eisler, Riane. The Chalice & The Blade: Our History, Our Future. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987, HQ1075 .E57 1987. [Chap. 2, Chap. 4]

Reviewing the archaeology literature, Eisler argues provocatively that for many thousands of years in prehistoric times humans lived in societies that were not violent, hierarchic, or dominated by men. She suggests these gentle and cooperative societies were eventually conquered by violent outsiders. She argues that we could, once again, choose a gentle partnership model of society based on caring, compassion, and nonviolence instead of a dominator model based on competition and war.

Fromm, Erich. The Sane Society. New York: Rinehart, 1955. Reprinted New York: Henry Holt, 1990, HM271 .F75 1990. [Chap. 3]

Psychoanalyst Fromm convincingly makes the case that we live in an insane society. He champions communitarian socialism as a healthy alternative.

Grossman, Dave. On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society. Boston: Little, Brown and Company/Back Bay Books, 1995, U22.3 .G76 1995.

Lieutenant Colonel Grossman describes how modern armies, using Pavlovian and operant conditioning, have developed ways to overcome humans’ natural aversion to killing people. He argues this conditioning is responsible for the increase in post-traumatic stress syndrome. He further asserts that contemporary society, especially the media, has replicated the army’s conditioning techniques, leading to a more violent society and rising murder rates.

Schaef, Anne Wilson. When Society Becomes an Addict. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987, BF575 .D34S33 1987. [Chap. 3]

Schaef argues that society acts like an addict, exhibiting and promoting such dysfunctional behavior as self-centeredness, repression, dishonesty, shame, greed, obsessions, confusion, denial, perfectionism, judgmentalism, forgetfulness, dependency, zero-sum orientation, negativism, cynicism, defensiveness, tunnel vision, blame, irresponsibility, arrogance, and fear.

Lakoff, George. Moral Politics: What Conservatives Know that Liberals Don’t. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996, HN90 .M6L35 1996.

Lakoff, a cognitive scientist, offers a groundbreaking analysis of the concepts of “conservative” and “liberal” in our society. He finds they correlate with two very different moral worldviews based on two distinct childrearing philosophies.

He argues that conservative thought is based on Strict Father morality and Authoritarian childrearing which assign high moral value to absolutist ideas, authority, strength, self-discipline, reward and punishment, and a moral hierarchy with God above men, men above women, adults above children, and humans above animals and the natural environment. In contrast, liberal thought is based on Nurturant Parent morality and Authoritative or Harmonious childrearing that assign high moral value to empathy, fairness, protection of those who need it, and nurturance.

In exploring these conflicting perspectives, Lakoff finds that Nurturant Parent morality reflects actual reality and is self-correcting. In contrast, Strict Father morality makes erroneous assumptions about how humans behave and so often produces faulty analyses and poor results.

Putnam, Robert D. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000, HN65 .P878 2000.

Putnam explores the phenomenon of Americans’ reduced engagement in civic and community life. He tracks the decline in participation in public clubs like the Elks and Shriners and social gatherings like family dinners and poker playing. He finds that many religious organizations now tend only to the needs of churchmembers and ignore the larger society. Using statistics and time diaries, he plots various indicators of civic engagement, and finds that it peaked in the early 1960s and then declined.

As civic engagement declines, people have fewer relationships with other people. This means they have fewer people they can rely on for help with simple chores or for more extensive support during hard times.

Putnam finds several causes of the decline in civic engagement: television, the entrance of women into the workforce, high levels of divorce, and urban sprawl.

This book has stimulated a controversy explored in the articles listed here: Defunct website.

Sale, Kirkpatrick. Human Scale. New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1980, HC106.7 .S24 1980. [Chap. 11]

Sale argues that our society operates at a level beyond the capacity of humans to understand or control and calls for institutions that are more human-sized.

Groupthink and Cults

Janis, Irving. Groupthink: Psychological Studies of Policy Decisions and Fiascoes. 2nd ed. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1982, E744 .J29 1982. [Chap. 3]

Janis discusses the tendency of insular groups self-righteously to assume their perspectives are correct, which leads them to make poor decisions. He outlines several means for preventing groupthink.

_____. “Groupthink.” Psychology Today (Nov. 1971): 43–46, 74–76. [Chap. 3]

Hassan, Steven. Combatting Cult Mind Control. Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 1988, BP603 .H375 1988. [Chap. 3]

Hassan, a former member of the Moonie cult, describes the methods of mind control used by cults.

Back to Top

Social Change History


Bacon, Margaret Hope. The Quiet Rebels: The Story of the Quakers in America. New York: Basic Books, 1969, BX7635 .B3; Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1985.

Bacon recounts the story of the Society of Friends in the United States, showing that Quakers generally were honest and respectful in their dealings with native Americans, that they refused to participate in war, and they pioneered efforts for penal reform, racial justice, women’s rights, and nonviolent action.

Cooney, Robert, and Helen Michalowski, eds. The Power of the People: Active Nonviolence in the United States. Rev. ed. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1987, HN64 .P88 1987.

This pictorial encyclopedia of nonviolent action includes over 300 photographs and explanatory text. It covers peace churches and early secular peace organizations, the women’s rights movement, the anti-slavery movement, the labor movement, conscientious objectors to war, nuclear pacifism, the Civil Rights movement, the anti-Vietnam war movement, the environmental movement, and women’s peace encampments.

Diggins, John Patrick. The Rise and Fall of the American Left. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1992, HN90 .R3D556 1992. [Chap. 4]

Diggins describes the rise of four leftist movements in this century: the Lyrical Left of the First World War years, the Old Left during the Great Depression, the New Left of the 1960s, and the Academic Left of the 1990s.

Loewen, James W. Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong. New York: New Press, 1995, E175.85 .L64 1995.

Loewen relates various fallacies found in U.S. history textbooks, showing how social issues are misreported and ideas are misrepresented.

Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United States: 1492 to the Present. 20th anniversary ed. New York: Harpercollins, 1999 [1979], E178 .Z75 1999.

In this excellent alternative history book, Zinn looks at history from the perspective of those who have been exploited politically or economically.

The Populist Movement (1870s–1890s)

Burns, Stewart. “The Populist Movement and the Cooperative Commonwealth: the Politics of Non-Reformist Reform.” Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1984.

In this doctoral dissertation, historian Burns investigates the rise and fall of the Populist Movement. He argues that to bring about true reform of society, social change movements in the United States should combine various aspects of grassroots democracy — especially direct action, political education, and the creation of new institutions and ideologies — with traditional forms of electoral-representative democracy.

Goodwyn, Lawrence. The Populist Moment: A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1978, E669 .G672 1978; abridged edition of The Democratic Promise: The Populist Moment in America. [Chap. 4, Chap. 5, Chap. 7]

Goodwyn provides the definitive history of the Populist movement.

Early Twentieth Century Efforts

Weinstein, James. The Decline of Socialism in America: 1912–1925. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1967; New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1984, HX83 .W4 1984.

Weinstein describes the history of the Socialist Party during a crucial time when it shrank drastically in size and power.

The Labor Movement

Brecher, Jeremy. Strike! Rev. ed. Boston: South End Press, 1997, HD5324 .B7 1997.

Brecher narrates the history of the U.S. labor movement from the point of view of rank-and-file workers.

Kornbluh, Joyce L., ed. Rebel Voices: An IWW Anthology. New and expanded ed. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr Publishing, 1998, HD8055 .I5 R43 1998.

Renshaw, Patrick. The Wobblies: The Story of the IWW and Syndicalism in the United States. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1999, [1967], HD8055 .I4 R46 1999.

Renshaw tells the story of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), the revolutionary labor union founded in Chicago in 1905. The IWW sought to organize the American working class — and eventually workers all over the world — into one big labor union with a syndicalist philosophy.

Efforts in the 1950s

Isserman, Maurice. If I Had a Hammer: The Death of the Old Left and the Birth of the New Left. New York: Basic Books, 1987, HN90 .R3187 1987. [Chap. 6]

Isserman describes the period between World War II and the 1960s when the American Left was at a low point. He shows that — contrary to the common understanding — lessons learned by the Old Left were passed on to the New Left.

Tracy, James. Direct Action: Radical Pacifism from the Union Eight to the Chicago Seven. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996, HM278 .T73 1996.

Tracy tells the story of a small group of radical pacifists who were incarcerated during World War II as conscientious objectors and then became major players in the Civil Rights, anti-war, and anti-nuclear movements in the 1950s and 1960s.

Back to Top

The 1960s Movements

Burns, Stewart. Daybreak of Freedom: The Montgomery Bus Boycott. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1997, F334 .M79N39. [Chap. 5]

_____. Social Movements of the 1960s: Searching for Democracy. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1990, HN59 .B86 1990.

Burns explores four main social movements of the 1960s — the black freedom movement, the anti-Vietnam War movement, the “counterculture,” and the feminist movement — and describes lessons that can be learned for future efforts.

Carson, Clayborne. In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981, E185.92 .C37 1981.

Carson recounts the progression of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) from its early days when it was focused on assimilation of Blacks into White society, through its militant period when its leaders demanded more radical change, through its separatist period when “Black Power” was the primary goal, and then back again into conventional politics.

Cluster, Dick, ed. They Should Have Served that Cup of Coffee: Seven Radicals Remember the ’60s. Boston: South End Press, 1979, HN90 .R3 T47.

This is a very readable collection of essays by and interviews with activists involved in the civil rights, Black Power, women’s, and anti-Vietnam War movements.

Dellinger, Dave. More Power than We Know: The People’s Movement toward Democracy. Garden City, NY: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1975, HN90 .R3 .D47.

Pacifist Dellinger describes his role in the anti-war movement of the 1960s and points out that the movement was much more powerful than its participants knew or its detractors would admit.

Gitlin, Todd. The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage. New York: Bantam Books, 1987, E841 .G57 1987.

Gitlin, an early president of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), recounts the history of the social movements of the 1960s.

_____. The Whole World is Watching: Mass Media in the Making and Unmaking of the New Left. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1980, P95.82 .U6 G57.

Gitlin describes how the mass media first ignored the anti-Vietnam War movement of the 1960s, then selected and emphasized aspects of the story in a way that distorted and destroyed it. He shows how the media turned movement leaders into celebrities and inflated revolutionary rhetoric and militancy. He argues that the media do not conspire to disparage social change movements, but editors and reporters assume the social order is legitimate and that demonstrations of political opposition are simply noisy complaints by disaffected whiners. So their reports rely on official interpretations of reality and treat political dissent as either a peculiar oddity or a crime.

Rexroth, Kenneth. The Alternative Society: Essays from the Other World. New York: Herder and Herder, 1970, PS3535 .E923 A16 1970.

Roszak, Theodore. The Making of a Counter Culture: Reflections on the Technocratic Society and its Youthful Opposition. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1969, HN17.5 .R6.

Roszak investigates the 1960s protest movements and argues that the rejection of the “technocracy” — the regime of corporate and technological experts that dominate industrial society — spawned both anti-war activism and the development of the counterculture.

Sale, Kirkpatrick. SDS: Ten Years toward a Revolution. New York: Random House, 1973, LB3602 .S8363 .S24.

Sale presents a comprehensive history of the national office of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the main New Left and anti-Vietnam War organization of the 1960s. [Chap. 9]

Zinn, Howard. SNCC: The New Abolitionists. Boston: Beacon Press, 1964, E185.61 .Z49.

Movements in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s

Adams, Tom. Grass Roots: Ordinary People Changing America. New York: Carol Publishing Group/Citadel Press, 1991, HN65 .A62 1991.

Driver, David E. Defending the Left: An Individual’s Guide to Fighting for Social Justice, Individual Rights and the Environment. Chicago: The Noble Press, 1992, E881 .D75 1992.

Epstein, Barbara. Political Protest and Cultural Revolution: Nonviolent Direct Action in the 1970s and 1980s. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1991, HN90 .R3E67 1991.

As both participant and observer, historian Epstein describes the nonviolent direct action anti-nuclear movement of the late 1970s and early 1980s: the Clamshell Alliance in New England and the Abalone Alliance and Livermore Action Group in California. She focuses particularly on these movements’ intersection with religious beliefs — feminist spirituality, Wiccan magic, Quakerism, and radical Catholicism.

Folsom, Franklin, and Connie Fledderjohann. The Great Peace March: An American Odyssey. Santa Fe, NM: Ocean Tree Books, 1988, JX1974.7 .F65 1988.

In 1986, 1,200 people began to walk from Los Angeles across the United States to demand an end to the nuclear arms race. The march nearly ended two weeks later in the Mohave Desert with the financial collapse of its sponsoring organization. But the hardiest of the Marchers continued on, organizing themselves and financing the Great Peace March by direct outreach to people in the communities through which they passed.

Folsom and Fledderjohann describe the March, the participants, how they organized themselves, and what it was like to be part of this traveling alternative community.

Starhawk. Dreaming the Dark: Magic, Sex & Politics. Boston: Beacon Press, 1982, BF1572 .S4S7 1982.

Starhawk, a practitioner of Wiccan magic, describes working with the Abalone Alliance against nuclear power using nonviolent direct action, consensus decision-making, and magic.

Walls, David. The Activist’s Almanac: The Concerned Citizen’s Guide to the Leading Advocacy Organizations in America. New York: Fireside/ Simon & Shuster, 1993, HN55 .W35 1993.

Walls describes in detail more than one hundred groups working for change — most of them progressive.

Back to Top

Methods of Changing Society

Theory and Analysis

— Also see the Competition section above.

Altman, Dennis. Rehearsals for Change: Politics and Culture in Australia. Victoria Australia: Fontana/Collins, 1979, JQ4031 .A45. [Preface]

Analyzing the prospects for change in Australia, Altman argues that both grassroots cultural change (new social movements) and political change (working through the Australian Labor Party) are necessary to achieve a more humane, egalitarian, and free society.

Chong, Dennis. Collective Action and the Civil Rights Movement. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991, HB846.5 .C48 1991. [Chap. 9]

In this very accessible book, Chong uses the Civil Rights Movement to illustrate the dynamics of public-spirited collective action. Applying rational choice theory, Chong argues that collective action can best be viewed as an assurance game in which activists must coordinate their activity and convince enough people to take action simultaneously.

He emphasizes the crucial role that leaders play in assuring others that an action will take place and will be successful. He also points out that people often feel compelled to engage in public action to maintain their reputations as champions of positive values.

_____. “Coordinating Demands for Social Change.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 528 (July 1993): 126–141. [Chap. 9]

Cook, Terrence. The Great Alternatives of Social Thought: Aristocrat, Saint, Capitalist, Socialist. Savage, MD: Rowland and Littlefield, 1991, HN17.5 .C66 1991.

Cook divides all political philosophers into four camps based on two criteria: whether they identify with the rich or the poor and whether they believe in limiting wants to fit within ecological limitations or they believe in trying to overcome scarcity through technological growth. The four resulting categories are: Capitalists (identify with the rich, expand limits), Socialists (identify with the poor, expand limits), Aristocrats (identify with the rich, fit within limits), and Saints (identify with the poor, fit within limits).

Evans, Sara M., and Harry C. Boyte. Free Spaces: The Sources of Democratic Change in America. New York: Harper and Row, 1986, HN57 .E9 1986.

Based on their study of the anti-slavery struggle, the populist movement, the women’s movement, the labor movement, and the civil rights movement, Evans and Boyte argue that democratic movements need “free spaces” — public places deeply rooted in the life and traditions of the community where individuals can gain self-confidence and develop a larger sense of the common good. Free spaces are settings between private lives and large-scale institutions where citizens can learn citizenship — a place where they can develop and practice democratic and communitarian skills, values, and aspirations. These spaces are typically voluntary forms of association like religious organizations, clubs, self-help and mutual aid societies, reform groups, neighborhood groups, civic organizations, ethnic groups, and other community associations.

Flacks, Richard. Making History: The American Left and the American Mind. New York: Columbia University Press, 1988, JK1764 .F57 1988. [Chap. 3]

Flacks, a founder and early leader of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and now a sociologist, looks at the potential for revitalizing the left tradition of grassroots democracy in the United States. He points out that most Americans have a strong “commitment to everyday life” and their participation in politics is usually directed to preserving their rights and their opportunity for self-determination. He hopes for a society in which daily life and making history are integrated.

Gorz, André. Socialism and Revolution. Translated by Norman Denny. Garden City, NY: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1973, HX44 .G613. [Chap. 5]

_____. Strategy for Labor: A Radical Proposal. Translated by Martin A. Nicolaus and Victoria Ortiz. Boston: Beacon Press, 1967, HD8431 .G613. [Chap. 5, Chap. 7]

Gowan, Susanne, George Lakey, William Moyer, and Richard Taylor. Moving Toward a New Society. Philadelphia: New Society Press, 1976, HN65 .M65. [Chap. 5]

Originally titled, Revolution: Quaker Prescription for a Sick Society, this book uses a medical metaphor to describe the ills of society and how we might heal it through a nonviolent revolution. Written by members of the Philadelphia-based and Quaker-influenced Movement for a New Society (MNS), it critically examines U.S.-Third World relations, U.S. domestic policy, and the environmental crisis.

Schindler, Craig, and Gary Lapid. The Great Turning: Personal Peace, Global Victory. Santa Fe, NM: Bear and Company, 1989, HM132 .S3518 1989.

Schindler and Lapid of Project Victory seek to create win/win dialogues for resolving world conflicts. They describe the changes we must go through individually and as a society to become skilled in the art of dialogue.

Tarrow, Sidney. Struggle, Politics, and Reform: Collective Action, Social Movements, and Cycles of Protest, Occasional Paper No. 21. Ithaca, NY: Western Societies Program, Center for International Studies, Cornell University, 1989, HN90 .R3 .T35 1989.

Wasburn, Philo C. Political Sociology: Approaches, Concepts, Hypotheses. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1982, JA76 .W36.

Wood, James L., and Maurice Jackson. Social Movements: Development, Participation, and Dynamics. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing, 1982, HM216 .W66 1982.

Back to Top

Simple Living

Simple Living Collective, American Friends Service Committee. Taking Charge: Personal and Political Change Through Simple Living. New York: Bantam Books, 1977.

The Simple Living Collective shares its practical suggestions for living simply and changing the world.

Overcoming Destructive Cultural Norms

Allen, Robert F., with Charlotte Kraft and the staff of the Human Resources Institute. Beat the System!: A Way to Create More Human Environments. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1980, HM101 .A574. [Chap. 3, Chap. 4]

This book is based on the premise that many of today’s pressing societal and personal needs can be met by a systematic, humanistic, people-involving change process, one which focuses on the culture and makes use of the power of the culture to bring about improvement in the human condition. The key hypotheses we present are these:

Eisler, Riane, and David Loye. The Partnership Way: New Tools for Living and Learning, Healing Our Families, Our Communities, and Our World. San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1990, HQ1075 .E58 1990. [Chap. 2]

Eisler and Loye detail a program for shifting to “a partnership way” in which human relations are based on equality, nonviolence, and harmony with nature.

It’s never to late to have a happy childhood.

— Bumpersticker

Holt, John. Escape from Childhood. New York, E. P. Dutton, 1974, HQ769 .H725.

Holt argues that parents should treat children like real people, not as pets or slaves. In particular, he contends children should have all the rights and responsibilities specified in the U.S. Bill of Rights.

Back to Top

Overcoming Dysfunctional Emotional Conditioning

Berne, Eric. Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships. New York: Ballantine Books, 1964, HM291 .B394.

Berne describes 33 dysfunctional games that people often play in what he calls Transactional Analysis and contrasts them with behavior that is free of game playing.

Bradshaw, John. Creating Love: The Next Great Stage of Growth. New York: Bantam, 1994.

Bradshaw describes how past experiences create destructive patterns and how we can open ourselves to the soul-building work of real love.

_____. Healing the Shame that Binds You. Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, 1988, RC455.4 .S53 B73 1988.

Bradshaw describes how toxic shame, typically induced by abusive parents and teachers, produces feelings of deep inadequacy and can lead to a lifetime of compulsions, co-dependencies, addictions, and the drive to superachieve. He describes the signs of toxic shame and how to overcome it.

Gottman, John, with Joan DeClaire. The Heart of Parenting: How to Raise an Emotionally Intelligent Child. New York, NY: Fireside/Simon & Schuster, 1997, BF723 .E6G67 1997.

We have studied parents and children in very detailed laboratory studies and followed the children as they developed. After a decade of research in my laboratory my research team encountered a group of parents who did five very simple things with their children when the children were emotional. We call these five things ’Emotion Coaching.’ We discovered that the children who had Emotion-Coaching parents were on an entirely different developmental trajectory than the children of other parents.

The Emotion-Coaching parents had children who later became what Daniel Goleman calls “emotionally intelligent” people. These coached children simply had more general abilities in the area of their own emotions than children who were not coached by their parents. (p. 16)

The parents:

Harris, Thomas A. I’m OK, You’re OK: A Practical Guide to Transactional Analysis. New York: Harper & Row, 1969, RC480.5 .H32.

Harris describes the consequences of a person thinking herself to be OK or not OK and thinking that others are OK or not OK.

Hendrix, Harville. Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples. HarperCollins, 1988, HQ734 .H49 1988b.

Hendrix presents a clear summary of the understanding of humans developed by psychologists over the past century. He also presents sixteen exercises that people can use to help themselves change so that their behavior is conscious and deliberate, rather than reactive and based on unconscious fears and suppressed needs from childhood. The exercises are designed for married couples, but could easily be adapted to any close relationship. They are simple and positive — designed to foster understanding of and love for oneself and one’s partner.

Ten Characteristics of a Conscious Marriage (from pp. 90–92):

One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth doing is what we do for others.

— Lewis Carroll

Jackins, Harvey. The Human Side of Human Beings: The Theory of Re-evaluation Counseling. Seattle, WA [PO Box 2081, Main Office Station, 98111]: Rational Island Publishers, 1965, BF637 .C6J3.

Jackins, founder and leader of Re-evaluation Counseling, Inc., argues that human beings are naturally smart, strong, loving, cooperative, and zestful, but when hurt, especially as children, they act out dysfunctional behavior. He argues that by providing a safe environment in which people can discharge emotions (by crying, shaking in fear, laughing, and so on), they can recover their full potential.

Gordon, Thomas. Leader Effectiveness Training, LET: The No-Lose Way to Release the Productive Potential of People. New York: Wyden Books, 1977, BF637 .L4 .G63.

Based on the ideas he first formulated with Parent Effectiveness Training (PET), Gordon describes positive methods for listening to people (active listening), saying things to change another person using “I-messages,” and coming to a win-win solution using a 6-step problem solving method.

Back to Top


Adams, Frank. Unearthing Seeds of Fire: The Idea of Highlander. Winston-Salem, NC: John F. Blair, 1975, LD7501 .M82 .A83.

Adams describes the history of the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee. Myles Horton founded it in 1932 to teach adults how to solve problems and conflicts by tapping their own experience and awareness.

Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Translated by Myra Berman Ramos. New York: Continuum, 1986 [1970], LB880.F73 P4313 1986.

Freire argues that real education should be liberating and subversive — teaching people to think for themselves. He promotes educational methods that pose the question “Why?” about all aspects of students’ lives and their society.

Holt, John. Freedom and Beyond. New York: Dell Publishing, 1972, LB885 .H6394 1972.

Holt calls for massive reform of the educational system to make it learner-directed, non-coercive, and focused on interest-inspired learning.

Horton, Myles, with Judith and Herbert Kohl. The Long Haul: An Autobiography. New York, Doubleday, 1990, LC5301 .M65H69 1990.

Horton’s autobiography tells the history of the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee.

Leonard, George. Education and Ecstasy. New York: Delacorte Press, 1968, LA210 .L46.

Philadelphia Macro-Analysis Collective of the Movement for a New Society. Organizing Macro-Analysis Seminars: Study and Action for a New Society. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1981. [Chap. 6]

This book describes how to set up and run a self-run study group. It includes a number of exercises useful for envisioning a good society and examining critical issues.

Persuasion and Lobbying

Kawasaki, Guy. Selling the Dream: How to Promote Your Product, Company, or Ideas — and Make a Difference — Using Everyday Evangelism. New York: HarperCollins, 1991, HF5415 .K355 1991.

Based on what he learned as Apple Computer’s original software evangelist for the Macintosh, Kawasaki describes how to convince people to believe passionately in a product or project by projecting one’s fervor and zeal.

Snyder, Edward F., et al. Witness in Washington: Fifty Years of Friendly Persuasion. Richmond, IN: Friends United Press, 1994, BX7748 .C5W58 1996.

Snyder describes the honest and ethical lobbying carried out by the Quaker organization Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) in Washington, DC.

Weimann, Gabriel. The Influentials: People Who Influence People. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1994, HM261 .W42 1994.

Some people are influential in shaping the opinions of those around them. Weimann reviews 3,900 studies on these influential people and opinion leaders. He finds that opinion leaders generally are gregarious, socially connected, and knowledgeable.

Building Social Change Movements

Boyte, Harry. The Backyard Revolution: Understanding the New Citizen Movement. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1980, HN69 .B69.

Friedland, William H., with Amy Barton, Bruce Dancis, Michael Rotkin, and Michael Spiro. Revolutionary Theory. Totowa, NJ: Allanheld, Osmun, 1982, JC491 .F73. [Chap. 5]

Hopper, Rex D. “The Revolutionary Process: A Frame of Reference for the Study of Revolutionary Movements.” Social Forces 28:3 (March 1950), pp. 270–279. [Chap. 5]

Neuman, W. Russell. The Paradox of Mass Politics: Knowledge and Opinion in the American Electorate. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1986, JK1967 .N48 1986. [Chap. 3, Chap. 6, App. C]

Olmosk, Kurt E. “Seven Pure Strategies of Change.” The 1972 Annual Handbook for Group Facilitators: 163–172. [Fig. 7.4]

Oppenheimer, Martin. The Urban Guerrilla. Chicago, Quadrangle Books, 1969, JC491 .O6. [Fig. 7.5]

Rejai, Mostafa. The Strategy of Political Revolution. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Anchor Press, 1973, JC491 .R381. [Fig. 5.3]

Rejai provides an excellent summary of the scholarly literature on revolutionary strategy.

Rogers, Everett M. Diffusion of Innovations, 3rd ed. New York: The Free Press, Macmillan, 1983, HM101 .R57 1983. [Chap. 9]

Rogers summarizes the results of over 3,000 studies that analyze the process of diffusing new ideas and practices throughout society. He describes what is necessary to communicate new ideas to people and various ways to encourage people to adopt them.

Back to Top

Community Organizing

Boyte, Harry. CommonWealth: A Return to Citizen Politics. New York: Free Press; London: Collier Macmillan, 1989, JK1764 .B694 1989.

Delgado, Gary. Organizing the Movement: The Roots and Growth of ACORN. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1986, HN85 .A3D45 1985.

Piven, Frances Fox, and Richard Cloward. Poor People’s Movements: Why They Succeed, How They Fail. New York: Vintage, Random House, 1979, HD8076 .P55 1979.

Piven and Cloward study four protest movements in the twentieth century carried out by poor people. They explore the successes and failures of mass defiance and disruption as compared with conventional electoral politics.

Stout, Linda. Bridging the Class Divide and Other Lessons for Grassroots Organizing. Boston: Beacon Press, 1996, HN65 .S75 1996. [Chap. 7]

Based on her experience organizing the innovative and multi-racial Piedmont Peace Project in a poor, rural area of North Carolina, Stout offers several outstanding ideas about how to build powerful social change organizations. She argues against traditional hierarchical leadership dominated by a single top leader and argues in favor of a shared model in which everyone is encouraged to take leadership. She also promotes on-going training in diversity and leadership. Furthermore, she urges groups to develop strategic plans, develop budgets and marketing plans, provide good benefits to group staffmembers, find effective ways to work with the news media, and communicate honestly with foundations about the true costs of good organizing.

Back to Top

Organizing Manuals and Handbooks

Alinsky, Saul D. Rules for Radicals: A Practical Primer for Realistic Radicals. New York: Vintage Books/Random House, 1971, HN65 .A675.

_____. Reveille for Radicals. New York: Vintage Books/ Random House, 1969 [1946], HM131 .A42 1969.

In these two classic books, Alinsky describes some of the organizing techniques for which he is famous.

Bartlett, John W., ed. The Future is Ours: A Handbook for Student Activists in the 21st Century. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1996, LB3610 .F88 1996.

This organizing manual for students includes essays and many success stories.

Bobo, Kim, Jackie Kendall, and Steve Max. Organizing for Social Change: A Manual for Activists in the 1990s. Cabin John, MD: Seven Locks Press, 1991, JC328.3 .B63 1991.

This excellent manual, oriented towards community organizing, is based on the curriculum of the Midwest Academy, a Chicago-based organizing school associated with Citizen Action.

Coover, Virginia, Ellen Deacon, Charles Esser, and Christopher Moore. Resource Manual for a Living Revolution. 2nd ed. Philadelphia: New Society Press, 1978, HN65 .R47 1978. [Chap. 6]

This book is an excellent general resource guide for those seeking fundamental social change through nonviolence. It was written by members of Movement for a New Society (MNS) who helped create the nonviolent direct action anti-nuclear power movement of the 1970s. It includes sections on strategizing, group dynamics, meeting facilitation, decision-making, conflict resolution, training, and organizing.

Hedemann, Ed, ed. War Resisters League Organizer’s Manual. New York: War Resisters League, 1981, HM136 .W34 1981.

This valuable resource manual has four chapters describing different political perspectives (nonviolence, socialism, anarchism, and feminism), fourteen chapters explaining different organizing techniques, eight focusing on different constituencies, five on different methods of literature production, nine on various aspects of nonviolent direct action, and four on more conventional political work (lawsuits, elections, lobbying, and the media).

Isaac, Katherine. Ralph Nader Presents Civics for Democracy: A Journey for Teachers and Students. A Project of the Center for Study of Responsive Law and Essential Information. Washington, DC: Essential Books, 1992, JK1764 .I83 1992.

Isaac presents short histories of five social change movements: the civil rights movement, the labor movement, the women’s rights movement, the consumer movement, and the environmental movement. Then she describes how to use public education, research, direct action, lobbying, and the courts to bring about positive change. She concludes with activities for students to get involved.

Kahn, Si. Organizing: A Guide for Grassroots Leaders. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1982, HM141 .K29.

Kahn covers all facets of community and union organizing.

MacEachern, Diane. Enough is Enough: The Hellraiser’s Guide to Community Activism (How to Organize a Successful Campaign for Change). New York: Avon Books, 1994, JS341 .M33.

MacEachern describes most aspects of community organizing, especially fundraising, communications, and lobbying. She provides examples of ordinary people organizing winning campaigns.

Shaw, Randy. The Activist’s Handbook: A Primer for the 1990s and Beyond. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1996, HN65 .S48 1996.

Shaw, a housing activist in San Francisco, describes various ways to strategize, challenge elected officials, work in coalitions, promote ballot initiatives, work with the media, work with lawyers, and engage in direct action.

Wollman, Neil, ed., Working for Peace. San Luis Obispo, CA: Impact Publishers, 1985, JX1963.W72 1985. [Chap. 6]

Action Handbooks

Abalone Alliance, Diablo Canyon Blockade/Encampment Handbook. 1980.

American Peace Test. Nonviolence Trainers’ Manual. 2nd ed. Las Vegas, NV, January 1987.

Livermore Action Group. International Day of Nuclear Disarmament Action Handbook. Berkeley, CA, 1981.

Pledge of Resistance/Emergency Response Network. Basta!: No Mandate for War. San Francisco, CA, 1984.

South Africa Catalyst Project. Organize. Palo Alto, CA, 1978.

Back to Top

Nonviolent Struggle

Ackerman, Peter, and Christopher Kruegler. Strategic Nonviolent Conflict: The Dynamics of People Power in the Twentieth Century. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1994, JC328.3 .A28 1994. [Chap. 5]

Ackerman and Kruegler analyze six twentieth-century nonviolent campaigns and delineate twelve strategic principles that enhance the prospects for success.

Bondurant, Joan V. Conquest of Violence: The Gandhian Philosophy of Conflict. Rev. ed. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1965 [1958], HM278 .B6 1965.

Bondurant provides an excellent introduction to Gandhi’s political thought and the operation of Satyagraha in specific campaigns.

Burrowes, Robert J. The Strategy of Nonviolent Defense: A Gandhian Approach. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1996, HM278 .R85 1995.

Burrowes integrates the strategic theories of military battle developed by Carl von Clausewitz with those of nonviolent struggle developed by Mohandas Gandhi.

Cummings, Allan. How Nonviolence Works. Dunedin, New Zealand [20 Gillespie St.]: Nonviolent Action Network, 1985.

In this small book, Cummings explains the dynamics of a nonviolent campaign and how it can effectively bring about positive change.

Deming, Barbara. “On Revolution and Equilibrium.” Published as a pamphlet by A.J. Muste Memorial Institute, 339 Lafayette St., New York, NY 10012, and included in Jane Myerding, ed., We Are All Part of One Another: A Barbara Deming Reader. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1984, PS3554 .E475 W38 1984; reprinted from Liberation Magazine (February 1968): 179. [Chap. 5]

This short essay provides an excellent response to those who assume that powerful, radical struggle must necessarily be violent and maintain that nonviolence is meek, moralistic, or suicidal. Deming argues that nonviolent struggle can be as bold, powerful, and radical as armed struggle.

Irwin, Bob, and Gordon Faison. “Why Nonviolence? Nonviolence Theory and Strategy for the Anti-Nuclear Movement.” Movement for a New Society, 4722 Baltimore Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19143, 1978.

In this short pamphlet, Irwin and Gordon summarize the history, theory, and practice of nonviolent action.

King, Martin Luther, Jr. “Loving Your Enemies” [1957] and “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” [1963] published as a pamphlet by A.J. Muste Memorial Institute, 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012.

In these classic papers, King explains his philosophy of nonviolent action.

Lakey, George. Powerful Peacemaking: A Strategy for a Living Revolution. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1987; revised edition of Strategy for a Living Revolution, New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973, HM278 .L32 1973. [Chap. 3, Chap. 5]

Lakey proposes a five-stage strategy for nonviolent revolution. His comprehensive approach focuses on social empowerment and grassroots organizations.

Moyer, Bill. The Movement Action Plan: A Strategic Framework Describing the Eight Stages of Successful Social Movements. San Francisco: Social Movement Empowerment Project [721 Shrader St., 94117, (415) 387-3361], Spring 1987. [Chap. 5, Chap. 9] Republished in Doing Democracy: The MAP Model for Organizing Social Movements. New Society Publishers, 2000.

Bill Moyer (not to be confused with television journalist Bill Moyers) worked on the staff of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Poor People’s Campaign and co-founded the Movement for a New Society and its Philadelphia Life Center. He was involved with the movements working against the Vietnam War, against nuclear energy and weapons, for European nuclear disarmament, and against intervention in Central America.

In this pamphlet, Moyer describes the eight stages through which social change movements typically progress. For each stage, he describes the role of change activists, powerholders, and the public, then sketches appropriate goals for activists, and finally describes the pitfalls activists may encounter.

Moyer points out that successful nonviolent campaigns “aim to educate and win over an increasingly larger majority of the public, and to mobilize the majority public into an effective force that brings about social change.” When the campaign grows large enough, it severely undercuts support for the powerholders. Without the tacit support of most people in society, powerholders are then forced to make changes or to turn over their authority to those who will.

_____. The Practical Strategist. Social Movement Empowerment Project, July 1990.

In this pamphlet, Moyer expands his analysis of the Movement Action Plan (MAP). He describes its strategic assumptions and discusses four particular roles of an activist: as a citizen, reformer, rebel, and change agent.

Sharp, Gene. Gandhi as a Political Strategist. Boston: Porter Sargent Publishers, 1979, DS481 .G3 .S4769.

Sharp explores the workings of Gandhi’s social change efforts and their moral basis.

_____. The Politics of Nonviolent Action, 3 volumes. Boston: Porter Sargent Publishers, 1973, JC328.3 .S45.

In this classic treatise, Sharp describes a comprehensive theory of nonviolent action. Volume 1 argues that the general public can restrict or sever the power wielded by societal leaders by withdrawing its support of and cooperation with those leaders. Volume 2 describes 198 specific techniques of nonviolent struggle and illustrates each one with examples. Volume 3 examines the dynamics of nonviolent action used against a violent, repressive opponent.

Back to Top

Building Social Change Organizations

Communities Directory: A Guide to Cooperative Living. 1995 ed. Ann Langley, WA: Fellowship for Intentional Community, 1995, HX654 .D57.

This directory, published periodically, lists over 600 intentional communities with detailed cross-references. It also includes 31 articles on communitarian issues.

Downton, James, Jr., and Paul Wehr. The Persistent Activist: How Peace Commitment Develops and Survives. Boulder, CO: Westview Press/ HarperCollins, 1997, JX1953.3 .D65 1997.

Downton and Wehr interviewed thirty long-term activists in Colorado and identified the factors that led them to continue to work for peace even as others stopped their efforts.

Green, Tova, and Peter Woodrow with Fran Peavey. Insight and Action: How to Discover and Support a Life of Integrity and Commitment to Change. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1994, HM133 .G7. [Chap. 6]

This valuable book offers three practical means to support friends and colleagues in making difficult decisions and sustaining their commitments. It describes how to provide ongoing, mutual sustenance through support groups, how to assist individuals to make wise decisions using clearness groups, and how to unearth a person’s dreams and insight, even when buried beneath fear and helplessness, through the process of strategic questioning.

Lakey, Berit, George Lakey, Rod Napier, and Janice Robinson. Grassroots and Nonprofit Leadership: A Guide for Organizations in Changing Times. Philadelphia, PA: New Society Publishers, 1996, HD62.6 .G72 1995.

This book provides a practical toolkit for leaders to deal creatively and concretely with organizational issues including strategy, structure, diversity, meetings, morale, gossip, and conflict.

Shaffer, Carolyn R., and Kristin Annundsen. Creating Community Anywhere: Finding Support and Connection in a Fragmented World. Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1993, HM131 .S437 1993.

Shaffer and Annundsen describe a variety of supportive groups: workplace teams, shared residences, social clubs, ritual groups, support groups, neighborhood associations, intellectual salons, spiritual communities, and electronic networks. They show how to set up these groups and how to make them work well.

Shields, Katrina. In the Tiger’s Mouth: An Empowerment Guide for Social Action. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1994, HN49 .V64S55 1994.

Shields provides a wide variety of practical methods for sustaining and enjoying social action.

Cooperative Decision-Making

Theory and Analysis

Barber, Benjamin. Strong Democracy: Participatory Politics for a New Age. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1984, JC423 .B243 1984.

Barber argues for a strong, participatory democracy.

Consensus Decision-Making

Butler, C. T. Lawrence, and Amy Rothstein. On Conflict and Consensus: A Handbook on Formal Consensus Decisionmaking, Cambridge, MA [1430 Massachusetts Avenue, Room 306-35, 02138, (617) 864-8786]: Food Not Bombs Publishing, 1987.

Butler and Rothstein codify “Formal Consensus” — a highly structured procedure based on presenting a proposal and then modifying it in response to concerns. They seek to codify consensus decision-making the same way that Robert’s Rules of Order codifies parliamentary procedure.

Center for Conflict Resolution. Building United Judgment: A Handbook for Consensus Decision Making. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1981.

This book reviews a variety of practical methods for making consensus decision-making work.

_____. A Manual for Group Facilitators. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1977.

This manual provides a variety of ideas about communication, planning, creative problem solving, conflict resolution, and moving groups toward their goals.

Doyle, Michael, and David Straus. How to Make Meetings Work: The New Interaction Method. New York: Wyden Books, 1976, HM131 .D68.

Doyle and Straus provide an excellent introduction to win/win decision-making including an adaptation of the consensus process for business groups with a manager who finally approves all decisions. They show how a facilitator, recorder, and a group memory (wall chart) help achieve good decisions, and they explain how to develop agendas, how to arrange meeting rooms, and how to deal with sixteen types of problem people.

Gastil, John. Democracy in Small Groups: Participation, Decision Making, and Communication. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1993, HM133 .G28 1993.

Gastil describes the essential elements required for democracy in a small group and spells out when democratic methods should be used.

Institute for Nonviolence Education, Research and Training (INVERT). Sharing Consensus: A Handbook for Consensus Workshops. Monroe, ME [P.O. Box 776]: INVERT, 1978.

This handbook presents a non-directive approach to teaching consensus decision-making based on exercises that encourage self-initiation and responsibility. It emphasizes problem solving skills and working together.

Back to Top

Problem Solving

Adams, James L. Conceptual Blockbusting: A Guide to Better Ideas. 3rd ed. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1986, BF441 .A28 1986.

Adams discusses various impediments to solving problems and presents approaches for overcoming them.

de Bono, Edward. New Think: The Use of Lateral Thinking in the Generation of New Ideas. New York: Basic Books, 1968 [1967], BF455 .D38 1968

De Bono contrasts “vertical thinking” (careful, logical analysis and problem solving based on the available data) with “lateral thinking” in which one uses different viewpoints and unusual approaches to come up with fresh ideas. Other books by de Bono describe ways to encourage this creative lateral thinking.

Conflict Resolution

Beer, Jennifer E. with Eileen Stief. The Mediator’s Handbook. 3rd ed. Developed by Friends Conflict Resolution Programs. Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 1997, BF637 .N4 B447 1997.

This resource book provides a flexible methodology for conflict resolution. It describes each of the steps of an effective mediation.

Bramson, Robert M. Coping with Difficult People. New York: Dell, 1981, HF5548.8 .B683.

Bramson presents a six-step plan for effectively dealing with seven types of difficult people.

Filley, Alan C. Interpersonal Conflict Resolution. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman, 1975, HM132 .F54.

Filley discusses and integrates various studies on the handling of conflict.

Fisher, Roger, and William Ury. Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement without Giving In. 2nd ed. New York: Penguin Books, 1991 [1981], BF637 .N4F57 1991.

Fisher and Ury argue against positional bargaining of either the soft type (participants see themselves as friends trying to agree) or hard type (participants see themselves as adversaries trying to win a victory) and argue for a negotiation process in which the participants see themselves as mutual problem solvers. Their method of principled negotiation — negotiating in a fair manner based on the merits of each position — produces good results for both sides. It relies on four techniques: separating the people from the problem; focusing on interests, not positions; inventing options that provide mutual gain; and insisting on using objective criteria.

Back to Top

Building Activist Finances

Dominguez, Joe, and Vicki Robin. Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence. New York: Penguin Books, 1992, HG179 .D624 1992.

Dominguez and Robin offer a nine-step program for gaining financial independence by tracking and acknowledging how you spend money, reducing your expenditures for things that provide little satisfaction, increasing your income, and investing your savings in safe long-term, income-producing investments.

Everett, Melissa. Making a Living While Making a Difference: A Guide to Creating Careers with a Conscience. New York: Bantam Books, 1995, HF5381 .E853 1995.

Everett provides a ten-step program for finding or creating socially responsible work.

Mogil, Christopher, and Anne Slepian. We Gave Away a Fortune: Stories of People Who Have Devoted Themselves and their Wealth to Peace, Justice, and a Healthy Environment. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1992, HV27 .M64 1992.

Mogil and Slepian relate the stories of sixteen wealthy people who have given away much of their material wealth to help create a more livable world. These provocative stories encourage us to reconsider the role of money in our lives, culture, and economy.


Diamond, Sara. Spiritual Warfare: The Politics of the Christian Right. Boston: South End Press, 1989, BR1642 .U5D53 1989.

Diamond, Sara. Not by Politics Alone: The Enduring Influence of the Christian Right. New York: Guilford Press, 1998, BR1642 .U5D52 1998.

Sociologist Diamond investigated the Christian Right to determine how it has maintained its influence in the United States for more than two decades. She finds it relies on a web of cultural institutions, including evangelical talk radio programs, publishing companies, bookstores, law firms, and music studios, that meet the personal as well as ideological needs of its members.

Back to Top

Other Cited Works

Albert, Michael. Why Radicalism? Lecture recorded at Z Media Institute, Summer 1998, Boston, MA, available from Z Magazine. [Chap. 7]

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers.

— Charles W. Eliot, educator

American Academy of Pediatrics. “Policy Statement: Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk (RE9729).” Pediatrics 100, no. 6 (December 1997): 1035-1039. [Chap. 2]

Anderson, Joseph M. The Wealth of U.S. Families in 1995 (127 Hesketh Street, Chevy Chase, MD: Capital Research Associates, June 1, 1998). [Chap. 3]

Associated Press. “Special Interests’ Spending Disclosed.” San Francisco Chronicle (23 Sept. 1996): A7. [Chap. 3]

Atlee, Tom. “How Nonviolent Social Change Movements Develop: An Interview with Bill Moyer.” ThinkPeace (Oakland, CA), 6, no. 2 (March/April 1990): 3–6. [Chap. 7]

Bailey, Stephen K. Congress Makes a Law. New York: Columbia University Press, 1950. [Chap. 3]

“Beautiful Dreamer: Is Phil Gramm Right About 1950?” Too Much (Summer 1995): 2. Council on International and Public Affairs, Suite 3C, 777 United Nations Plaza, New York 10017. [Chap. 3]

Beitchman, Joseph H., Kenneth J. Zucker, Jane E. Hood, Granville A. daCosta, Donna Akman, and Erika Cassavia. “A Review of the Long-term Effects of Child Sexual Abuse.” Child Abuse & Neglect 16 (1992): 101–118. [Chap. 3]

Benn, Stanley. “The Problematic Rationality of Political Participation.” In Peter Laslett and James Fishkin, eds. Philosophy, Politics and Society. 5th series. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979, JA71 .L27. [Chap. 7]

Bleifuss, Joel. “Sacred Cow, Or Bull? Questioning the Tenets of Political Organizing.” In These Times 21, no. 25–26 (November 23, 1997): 16–17. [Chap. 6]

Bluestone, Barry, and Stephen Rose. “Overworked and Underemployed: Unraveling an Economic Enigma,” The American Prospect, no. 31 (March-April 1997). [Chap. 2]

Blum, William. “A Brief History of U.S. Interventions: 1945 to the Present.” Z Magazine 12, no. 6 (June 1999): 25–30. [Chap. 3]

_____. Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 1995, JK468 .I6B59 1995. [Chap. 3]

Bonczar, Thomas P., and Allen J. Beck. “Lifetime Likelihood of Going to State or Federal Prison.” U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Report Number NCJ-160092, March 1997. [Chap. 2]

BP Amoco. BP Amoco Statistical Review of World Energy, 1999. [Chap. 2]

Bradsher, Keith. “Gap in Wealth in U.S. Called Widest in West.” New York Times (17 April 1995): p. A1. [Chap. 3]

Browne, Angela, and David Finkelhor. “Impact of Child Sexual Abuse: A Review of the Research.” Psychological Bulletin 99, no. 1 (1986), 66–77. [Chap. 3]

Burnstein, Paul, Rachel L. Einwohner, and Jocelyn A. Hollander. “The Success of Political Movements: A Bargaining Perspective.” In J. Craig Jenkins and Bert Klandermans, eds. The Politics of Social Protest: Comparative Perspectives on States and Social Movements. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995, JA76 .P6235 1995. [Fig. 7.6]

Burt, Martha, Laudan Aron, Toby Douglas, Jesse Valente, Edgar Lee, Britta Iwen. Homelessness: Programs and the People They Serve — Findings of the National Survey of Homeless Assistance Providers and Clients. Urban Institute. Prepared for the Federal Interagency Council on the Homeless. 7 December 1999. [Chap. 2]

Center for a New American Dream. “New Poll Shows Marketing to Kids Taking its Toll on Parents, Families,” 6930 Carroll Ave., Suite 900, Takoma Park, MD 20912, July 1999. [Chap. 2]

Center for Defense Information. “World Military Expenditures.” Website accessed 14 October 2000. [Chap. 2]

Center for Third World Organizing. “Training Centers & Organizing Networks.” Third Force, Special Section published in conjunction with The Neighborhood Works 5, no. 1 (March/April 1997): 32. [Chap. 6]

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Rates of Homicide, Suicide, and Firearm-Related Death Among Children — 26 Industrialized Countries.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 46, no. 5 (7 February 1997): 101–105. [Chap. 2]

_____. “Suicide in the United States.” National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention. Web page revised January 28, 2000. [Chap. 2]

Cohen, Jeff. “Propaganda from the Middle of the Road: The Centrist Ideology of the News Media.” Extra! 2, no. 4 (October/ November 1989). [Chap. 3]

Cook, Philip J., and Jens Ludwig. Guns in America: Results of a Comprehensive National Survey on Firearms Ownership and Use. Washington, DC: Police Foundation, 1997). [Chap. 2]

Derber, Charles. The Wilding of America: How Greed and Violence Are Eroding Our Nation’s Character. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996, HN90 .V5D47 1996. [Chap. 2]

Dugger, Ronnie. “Real Populists Please Stand Up: A Call to Citizens.” The Nation (August 14/21, 1995): 159. [App. A]

Durning, Alan. “Asking How Much is Enough.” State of the World, 1991: A Worldwatch Institute Report on Progress toward a Sustainable Society. Lester R. Brown, Project Director. New York: Norton, 1991, HC59 .S733 1991. [Chap. 3]

Earle, Ralph B. Helping To Prevent Child Abuse — and Future Criminal Consequences: Hawai’i Healthy Start. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice, NCJ Report Number 156216, October 1995. [App. A]

Easterbrook, Gregg. “Apocryphal Now: The Myth of the Hollow Military.” The New Republic (11 September 2000). [Chap. 2]

Back to Top

Economic Policy Institute. “European Vacations.” Economic Snapshots web page, May 10, 2000 (Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute, 2000). [Chap. 2]

Fellner, Kim. “Is Nothing Sacred?!” The Ark. Newsletter of the National Organizers Alliance 10 (January 1998): 12–16. [Chap. 6]

Flournoy, Craig, and Randy Lee Loftis. “Toxic Neighbors: Residents of Projects Find Common Problem: Pollution.” Dallas Morning News (1 October 2000): 1A. [Chap. 2]

Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL). “A Glut of Military Spending.” FCNL Washington Newsletter 641 (March 2000): 1. [Chap. 2]

Fullerton, Michael, ed. What Happened to the Berkeley Co-op?: A Collection of Opinions. Davis, CA: Center for Cooperatives, University of California, 1992. [Chap. 4]

Gelles, Richard J., and John W. Harrop. “The Nature and Consequences of the Psychological Abuse of Children: Evidence from the Second National Family Violence Survey.” Paper presented at the Eighth National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, Salt Lake City, Utah. October 24, 1989. [Chap. 3]

Geoghegan, Vincent. Utopianism and Marxism. London: Methuen, 1987, HX806 .G46 1987. [Chap. 12]

Handgun Control, Inc. (HCI), Washington, DC. [Chap. 2]

Hartung, William D. Welfare for Weapons Dealers: The Hidden Costs of the Arms Trade, 1996. New York, NY: World Policy Institute, Arms Trade Resource Center. [Chap. 2]

Hodgkinson, Virginia A., and Murray S. Weitzman. Giving and Volunteering in the United States, 1996. Washington, DC [1200 Eighteenth Street, NW, Suite 200, 20036]: Independent Sector, 1996. [Chap. 1]

Holhut, Randolph T. “A Horrible Year for Journalism.” Opinion column, San Francisco Bay Guardian (6 January 1999): 11. [Chap. 3]

Human Rights Watch. World Report 2001. “USA Overview.” [Chap. 2]

Jackins, Harvey. The Enjoyment of Leadership. Seattle: Rational Island Publishers, 1987. [Chap. 6]

Kay, Jane Holtz. Asphalt Nation: How the Automobile Took Over America and How We Can Take It Back. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1998, HE5623 .K36 1998. [Chap. 2]

Kilpatrick, Dean, and Benjamin Saunders. “The Prevalence and Consequences of Child Victimization.” U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice, NIJ Research Preview, Report Number FS 000179, April 1997. [Chap. 3]

Kirsch, Irwin S., Ann Jungeblut, Lynn Jenkins, and Andrew Kolstad. Adult Literacy in America: A First Look at the Findings of the National Adult Literacy Survey. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Dept. of Education, 1993, LC5251 .A6437 1993. [Chap. 3]

Levitas, Ruth. The Concept of Utopia. New York: np, 1990. [Chap. 12]

Margolis, Howard. Selfishness, Altruism and Rationality: A Theory of Social Choice. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1982, HB846.8 .M37. [Chap. 7]

Maxfield, Michael G., and Cathy Spatz Widom. “The Cycle of Violence Revisited 6 Years Later.” Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine 150 (April 1996): 390–395. [Chap. 3]

McGinn, Anne Platt. “Rocking the Boat: Conserving Fisheries and Protecting Jobs.” WorldWatch Paper 142. Washington, DC: WorldWatch Institute, 1995. [Chap. 2]

Morris, David. “Why is Local Self Reliance Important? A Conversation with David Morris.” Interview by Michael Closson, Center for Economic Conversion. Positive Alternatives 8, no. 3 (Spring 1998): 7-9. [App. A]

Morris, William. Political Writings of William Morris. A.L. Morton, ed. London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1984, HX246 .M72 1984. [Chap. 1]

Mumford, Lewis. The Transformations of Man. 1956; reprint New York: Harper & Row, Torchbooks, 1972, CB53 .M82 1956. [Chap. 3]

Muste, A. J. The Essays of A. J. Muste. Nat Hentoff, ed. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1967, JX1963 .M8455. [Chap. 6]

Nader, Ralph The Concord Principles: An Agenda for a New Initiatory Democracy. Pamphlet. 1 February 1992. [App. A]

National Opinion Research Center, The University of Chicago. 1997-1998 National Gun Policy Survey. September 1998. [Chap. 2]

Back to Top

Nelson, Portia. “Autobiography in Five Short Chapters.” In There’s a Hole in my Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery. Hillsboro, OR: Beyond Words Publishing, 1993, BF637 .S4N45 1993. [Chap. 4]

Nussbaum, Martha, and Jonathan Glover, eds. Women, Culture, and Development: A Study of Human Capabilities. Cambridge: Clarendon Press, 1995, HQ1236 .W6377 1994. [Chap. 2]

This study, prepared for the World Institute for Development Economics Research (WIDER) of the United Nations University, looks at current approaches to development policy from a philosophical and economic perspective.

Oliver, Pamela E. “Formal Models of Collective Action.” Annual Review of Sociology 19 (1993): 271-300. [Chap. 7]

Olson, Mancur. The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups. 1965; rev. ed. New York: Schocken Books, 1971, HM131 .O55 1971. [Chap. 7]

Olson explores the factors that encourage and prevent people from working together and describes the “free rider” problem in which non-contributors have little incentive to work collectively with others because they receive the same benefits from public works as do hard-working contributors.

Ornstein, Norman, Andrew Kohut, and Larry McCarthy. The People, the Press, & Politics: The Times Mirror Study of the American Electorate, Conducted by The Gallup Organization. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, Times Mirror, 1988, HN90 .P8076 1988. [App. C]

Based on an extensive in-person survey of 4,244 people in September 1987 that asked 348 questions, this study categorized the public into eleven distinct groups based on their voting inclinations, values, and attitudes.

Orum, Anthony M. Introduction to Political Sociology: The Social Anatomy of the Body Politic, 2nd ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1983, JA76 .O78 1983. [Fig. 5.3]

Osborn, Barbara Bliss. “If It Bleeds, It Leads… If It Votes, It Don’t: A Survey of L.A.’s Local ’News’ Shows.” Extra 7, no. 5 (Sept./Oct. 1994): 15. [Chap. 1]

PEN, the People’s Education Network. [Chap. 1, Chap. 2]

Rand, Michael. Criminal Victimization 1997: Changes 1996-97 with Trends 1993-97. National Crime Victimization Survey, Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, Report NCJ 173385, December 1998, p. 3. [Chap. 3]

Reiss, Albert, Jr., and Jeffrey A. Roth, eds. Understanding and Preventing Violence: Panel on the Understanding and Control of Violent Behavior. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1993, HN90 .V5U53 1993. [App. A]

Renner, Michael. “Rethinking the Role of the Automobile.” Worldwatch Paper 84. Washington, DC: Worldwatch Institute, June 1988, HE5611 .R46 1988. [Chap. 2]

Rogers, Joel. “Turning to the Cities: A Metropolitan Agenda.” In These Times 22, no. 22 (Oct. 14, 1998): 14–17. [App. A]

Schor, Juliet. The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline in Leisure. New York: Basic Books, 1991, HD4904.6 .S36 1991. [Chap. 2]

Schumaker, Paul D. “Policy Responsiveness to Protest-Group Demands.” Journal of Politics 37 (May 1975): 494–495. [Fig. 7.6]

Scitovsky, Tibor. The Joyless Economy: An Inquiry into Human Satisfaction and Consumer Dissatisfaction. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976, HB801 .S35. [Chap. 7]

The Sentencing Project. “Facts about Prisons and Prisoners.” April 2000. [Chap. 2]

Sherman, Lawrence W., Denise C. Gottfredson, Doris L. MacKenzie, John Eck, Peter Reuter, and Shawn D. Bushway. Preventing Crime: What Works, What Doesn’t, What’s Promising. NIJ Research in Brief Series, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice, Report Number 171676, July 1998. [App. A]

Sklar, Holly. “Economics for Everyone.” Z Magazine 8, no. 7/8 (July/August 1995): 44. [App. A]

Taylor, Michael. Community, Anarchy, and Liberty. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1982, HX833 .T39 1982. [Chap. 7]

_____, ed. Rationality and Revolution. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988, HX550 .R48R37 1988. [Chap. 7]

Taylor, Michael, and Sara Singleton. “The Communal Resource: Transaction Costs and the Solution of Collective Action Problems.” Politics & Society 21, no. 2 (June 1993): 195–214. [Chap. 7]

Tjaden, Patricia, and Nancy Thoennes. Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women: Findings From the National Violence Against Women Survey. NIJ Research in Brief Series. U. S. Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice. Report Number 172837. November 1998. [Chap. 2, Chap. 3]

20/20 Vision. 1998-99 Biennial Report. 1828 Jefferson Place, NW, Washington, DC: 2000. [Chap. 2]

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The State of the World’s Children, 1999. [Chap. 2]

United Nations General Assembly. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. [Chap. 2]

United Nations Development Programme. Human Development Report 1994. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994, HD72 .H85 1994. [Chap. 2]

_____. Human Development Report 1998. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998, HD72 .H852 1998. [Chap. 1]

_____. Human Development Report 1999. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999, HD72 .H85 1999. [Chap. 2, Chap. 3, App. A]

Urban Institute. “America’s Homeless II: Populations and Services.” Slideshow released 1 February 2000 based on work by researchers Martha Burt and Laudan Aron. [Chap. 2]

Back to Top

U.S. Census Bureau. Health Insurance Coverage: 1999 (P60-211). March 2000 Current Population Surveys. [Chap. 2]

_____. Poverty in the United States: 1999 (P60-210). March 2000 Current Population Surveys.

_____. Statistical Abstract of the United States. [Chap. 1, Chap. 2, Chap. 3]

U.S. Department of Defense. Annual Defense Report 2000. [Chap. 2]

_____. Introduction to the United States Department of Defense. Website updated 3 July 2000. [Chap. 2]

_____. Defense Security Cooperation Agency. International Military Education and Training (IMET) Program website. [Chap. 2]

_____. Washington Headquarters Services. Directorate for Information Operations and Reports. Active Duty Military Personnel Strengths by Regional Area and by Country (309A). 31 March 2000. [Chap. 2]

_____. Washington Headquarters Services. Directorate for Information Operations and Reports. Selected Manpower Statistics, Fiscal Year 1999. 30 September 1999. [Chap. 2]

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “A Nation’s Shame: Fatal Child Abuse and Neglect in the United States — A Report of the U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect.” Administration for Children and Families. April 1995. HE23 .1002:AB 9. [Chap. 3]

U.S. Department of State. Bureau of Arms Control. World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers 1998. [Chap. 2]

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Office of Water. National Water Quality Inventory: 1998 Report to Congress (EPA 841-R-00-001). [Chap. 2]

U.S. General Accounting Office. “Department Of Defense: Financial Audits Highlight Continuing Challenges to Correct Serious Financial Management Problems.” Statement of Gene L. Dodaro, Assistant Comptroller General, Accounting and Information Management Division. GAO/T-AIMD/NSIAD-98-158. 16 April 1998. [Chap. 2]

U.S. National Science Foundation. Division of Science Resources Studies. Science and Engineering Indicators 1998. [Chap. 2]

Verba, Sidney, Kay Lehman Schlozman, and Henry E. Brady. Voice and Equality: Civic Voluntarism in American Politics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995, JK1764 .V475 1995. [App. C]

Based on a telephone survey of 15,053 people and 2,517 long personal interviews, the authors analyze citizen participation in politics. They show that both the motivation and the capacity to take part in politics are rooted in the non-political institutions of their lives — family and school in the early years and then affiliations on the job, in non-political organizations, and in religious organizations. Their model of the participatory process — the Civic Voluntarism Model — shows how some of the factors that foster political activity (like money, education, and civic skills) are stockpiled over the course of a lifetime, frequently conferring additional advantage on those already privileged.

Their study reports on the factors that foster three kinds of political activity: voting, time-based activities (like working on a political campaign, lobbying public officials, serving on a community board, attending protest demonstrations, and working with an informal community group), and monetary contributions to political campaigns. They find that voting is most strongly fostered by people’s strong interest in politics, high levels of knowledge about political ideas, strong support for a particular political party, and to a lesser extent, high levels of church attendance. The factors that foster time-based activities are a high level of civic skill and strong interest in politics. Factors that have some effect are high levels of education, large amounts of free time, strong interest in politics, and strong beliefs in the effectiveness of their efforts. The factor that fosters money contributions most strongly is a high family income. A strong interest in politics also has some effect.

Vissing, Yvonne M., Murray A. Straus, Richard J. Gelles, and John W. Harrop. “Verbal Aggression by Parents and Psychosocial Problems of Children.” Child Abuse & Neglect 15, no. 3 (1991): 223–238. [Chap. 3]

Weeks, Robin, and Cathy Spatz Widom. Early Childhood Victimization Among Incarcerated Adult Male Felons. NIJ Research Preview, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice, Report Number FS 000204, April 1998. [Chap. 3]

_____. “Self-Reports of Early Childhood Victimization Among Incarcerated Adult Male Felons.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 13, no. 3 (June 1998): 346–361. [Chap. 3]

Whyte, William Hollingsworth. The Organization Man. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1956, BF697 .W47. [Chap. 9]

Widom, Cathy Spatz. “Does Violence Beget Violence?: A Critical Examination of the Literature.” Psychological Bulletin 106, no. 1 (1989): 3–28. [Chap. 3]

_____. Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse — Later Criminal Consequences. NIJ Research in Brief Series, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice, Report Number NCJ 151525, March 1995. [Chap. 3]

Washington Post Wire Service. “House Takes Up Lobbying Reform Bill.” San Francisco Chronicle (25 November 1995). [Chap. 3]

_____. “Senate OKs Tighter Rules for Lobbyists.” San Jose Mercury News (7 May 1993). [Chap. 3]

Wolff, Edward N. “Recent Trends in the Size Distribution of Household Wealth.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 12, no. 3 (Summer 1998). [Chap. 3]

World Health Organization. “World Health Organization Assesses the World’s Health Systems.” Press release describing The World Health Report 2000 — Health Systems: Improving Performance. Geneva, Switzerland: WHO, June 2000. [Chap. 2]

Young, Iris. Justice and Politics of Difference. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990, JC578. Y68 1990. [Chap. 2]

Young, Michal Ann, M.D. “Press Statement on American Academy of Pediatrics Breastfeeding Recommendations.” 17 December 1997. [Chap. 2]

Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families, “Year 2000 Parent & Public Survey,” (734 15th St., NW, Suite 1000, Washington, D.C. 20005, 202-638-1144), October 2000. [Chap. 9]

Back to Top

Book Publishers

If there is a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.

— Toni Morrison

The books and magazines produced by these progressive publishers provide up-to-date critiques of society as well as reports on the efforts to bring about progressive change.

South End Press

7 Brookline Street, Suite 1, Cambridge, MA 02139, (617) 547-4002, (800) 533-8478,

Common Courage Press

Box 702, Monroe, Maine 04951, (800) 497-3207,

Seven Stories Press

140 Watts Street, New York, NY, 10013,

New Society Publishers

P. O. Box 189, Gabriola Island, BC, Canada V0R 1X0, (250) 247-9737, (800) 567-6772,

The Apex Press/Bootstrap Press

Council on International and Public Affairs, 777 United Nations Plaza, Suite 3C, New York, NY 10017 or P.O. Box 337, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520 (800) 316-2739

Verso Press

180 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014-4606, (212) 807-9680,

Monthly Review Press

112 West 27th St., New York, NY 10001, (800) 670-9499,

Zed Press

7 Cynthia Street, London N1 9JF, +44 (0)207 837 4014

Black Rose Books

Back to Top


Here are a few general interest magazines:

The Nation

72 Fifth Avenue New York, New York 10011, (212) 242-8400

Founded: 1865. Published: 47 times per year.

This is the oldest progressive magazine in the United States. It has articles, columns, investigatory articles, and book reviews.

In These Times

2040 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60647, (773) 772-0100,

Founded: 1976. Published: 24 times per year.

“Independent News and Views.” This magazine has regular columns on labor, African-Americans, media, and political campaigns as well as in-depth articles on general topics, investigatory articles, and book reviews.

Z Magazine

18 Millfield St., Woods Hole, MA 02543, (508) 548 9063,

Founded: 1987. Published: 11 times per year.

This magazine covers political, cultural, social, and economic life in the U.S. and activist efforts to create a better future. It has regular articles by Noam Chomsky, Edward S. Herman, Brian Tokar, Lydia Sargent, and several others as well as articles on general topics and book reviews.

The Progressive

409 E. Main St., Madison, WI 53703, (608) 257-4626, or

Founded: 1909. Published: 12 times per year.

This magazine has articles, interviews, columns, poems, art, and political humor about peace and social justice in America.

Mother Jones

The Foundation for National Progress, 731 Market Street, Suite 600, San Francisco, CA 94103, (415) 665-6637

Founded: 1976. Published: 6 times per year.

This colorful magazine includes general and investigatory articles on a variety of progressive issues.


Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), 130 West 25th Street, New York, NY 10001, (212) 633-6700

Founded: 1986. Published: 6 times per year.

FAIR is a national media watch group that offers well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship.

Labor Notes

Labor Notes, 7435 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI 48210, (313) 842-6262,

Founded: 1979. Published: 12 times per year.

This magazines offers the voices of union activists who want to “put the movement back in the labor movement” through rank and file democracy. It covers important labor news from a progressive perspective.

Dollars and Sense: What’s Left in Economics

The Economic Affairs Bureau, Inc., 740 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02141-1401, (617) 876-2434,

Founded: 1974. Published: 6 times per year.

Published by a collective, this magazine provides “left perspectives on current economic affairs” with articles by journalists, activists, and scholars on a broad range of topics including the economy, housing, union reform, government regulation, unemployment, the environment, urban conflict and activism.

The Nonviolent Activist Replaced by WIN Magazine.

War Resisters League (WRL), 339 Lafayette Ave., New York, New York 10012, (212) 228-0450,

Founded: 1983. Published: 6 times per year.

Articles about the WRL and its national and local pacifist organizing as well as articles on nonviolent change and general topics.

PeaceWork Defunct.

The New England Regional Office of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), 2161 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140, (617) 661-6130,

Founded: 1972. Published: 11 times per year.

Serves the movements for nonviolent social change, particularly in the Northeast, by covering social justice and peace issues and linking grassroots work with national and international perspectives.

Yes! A Journal of Positive Futures

Positive Futures Network, P. O. Box 10818, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110, (206) 842-0216,

Founded: 1996. Published: 4 times per year.

Combines analysis of important problems with news about actions people are taking in the United States and around the world to create a more positive future.

Earth Island Journal

Earth Island Institute, 300 Broadway, Suite 28, San Francisco, CA 94133, (415) 788-3666

Founded: 1982. Published: 4 times per year.

Often on the cutting edge of the environmental movement.

Utne Reader

LENS Publishing Co. Inc., 1624 Harmon Place, Minneapolis, MN 55403, (612) 338-5040

Founded: 1984. Published: 6 times per year.

Reprints selected articles from over 2,000 alternative media sources plus summarizes articles on emerging issues.

Whole Earth Defunct.

Point Foundation, 1408 Mission Avenue, San Rafael, CA 94901, (415) 256-2800,

Founded: 1974. Published: 4 times per year.

Has eclectic articles and book reviews on a variety of progressive and counter-culture issues.

Back to Top

Radio Programs

Democracy Now

This excellent one-hour show, broadcast every weekday, is hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez and is carried by about 65 stations.

Making Contact

The International Radio Project — whose motto is “Radio that activates!” — produces this half-hour show that is heard on over 150 stations each week. “Making Contact” airs voices not usually heard on the radio.

Alternative Radio

David Barsamian produces this one-hour show that is heard on over 100 stations each week.

RadioNation Defunct. See as an alternative.

Marc Cooper interviews authors of recent articles in The Nation magazine each week in two half-hour shows broadcast on over 100 stations.


Common Dreams NewsCenter

“News & Views for the Progressive Community”

Institute for Global Communications (IGC)

PeaceNet, LaborNet, ConflictNet, WomensNet, and EcoNet. No longer active.


“A community of people concerned about social change” (associated with Z Magazine).

Independent Media Center

A collective of independent media organizations and hundreds of journalists offering grassroots, non-corporate coverage — a democratic media outlet for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of truth.

Working for Change

News, opinion columns, and action sponsored by Working Assets.

Co-op America Now GreenAmerica.

Social change information and action for consumers and investors.

The Nonviolent Web Defunct. See as an alternative.

The Vernal Project

This site includes information about this book and the Vernal Project, the papers used in the workshops that I facilitate on nonviolent direct action and cooperative decision-making, and links to a large number of progressive organizations.

For an updated list of 500 leading national progressive organizations, see:

Appendix A: Some Positive Near-Term Policy Changes

Notes for Chapter 12


Ronald Aronson, After Marxism (New York: Guilford Press, 1995, HX44.5 .A78 1994), p. 267. For discussions of the function of utopia Aronson points to Ruth Levitas, The Concept of Utopia (New York: np, 1990) and Vincent Geoghegan, Utopianism and Marxism (London: Methuen, 1987, HX806 .G46 1987).

IcD-12-8.05W 4-26-01

Back to Top