” … an informative and inspiring how-to handbook of direct, confrontational social activism … “Dennis Hiebert, Geez magazine
Beautiful Trouble contributor Daniel Hunter (tactics: Public filibuster and Nonviolent search and seizure) has just published Strategy & Soul: a campaigner’s narrative of fighting billionaires, corrupt officials, and Philadelphia casinos.
From a kitchen table in Philadelphia, organizers Jethro Heiko and Daniel Hunter strategize to stop a widely unpopular and dangerous development project. Because the casinos are backed by billionaires and the complete political establishment, it will take a massive fight to win.
With unusual transparency, the story brings you into meetings and planning sessions as they cultivated relationships, organized actions, generated new tactics like the public filibuster, shadow election, and document search, and plotted daring stunts.
Although written with the fast pace of a spy novel, each page is filled with lessons on media, accountability, and social movement organizing, all in a gripping and emotional tale.
This book makes accessible the complex art of campaigning, and is a must-read for organizers and activists who want to learn how to weave together the skills for both strategy and soul.
A treasure trove of creative actions with a thrilling plot for activists of all stripes!
– Andy Bichlbaum, The Yes Men
This book is like taking a car ride with an experienced organizer after they gave a motivating talk about their successful campaign. In the car you turn to them and ask, ‘So how did you really win?’ and they give you the real deal. Daniel writes with that kind of authenticity, reflection, and honesty.
– Joshua Kahn Russell, 350.org
The best campaign book I’ve ever read!
– Tanya Newman, Kotare Trust (New Zealand)
Who knew there could be a book for organizers that’s a page-turner? It’s a story with a lesson on every page.
– George Lakey, Author of A Direct Action Manual and professor at Swarthmore College
Available as print book and e-book at: www.strategyandsoul.org
From the Introduction
OUR MOVEMENT WAS OUTSPENT by hundreds of millions of dollars. Every local official resisted us. Newspapers chastised us. The governor derided us. Private investigators were hired against us. Thugs threatened and even attacked us. And the state supreme court suspiciously and consistently sided against us.
On a good day, we had confidence we could win—even with the odds against us.
This conviction tells you something about our movement against two unwanted casinos in Philadelphia. We believed in people power. We had faith in folks’ ability to organize and overcome long-shot odds. That we were able to make huge wins shows our correctness in thinking David can beat Goliath, even when Goliath has deep pockets and overwhelming political support.
What that conviction doesn’t show is the strategy. The uncertainty. The skills. The mistakes. The heart. The soul. It doesn’t show you how we organized or used direct action to feed our success (which, though substantial, was not complete).
I want you to see all that—which is why I wrote this book.
As I wrote, I didn’t want to essentialize our movement into lists of what a good organizer does, or reduce our story into bite-sized vignettes that prove my points about what makes for good organizing. I wanted to invite you into the real deal, where you can see our glories, our inventiveness, our mistakes, and join us in assessing what makes for good strategy. It’s risky business, because it’d be much safer to give you a list that we could both pretend is the whole story. You then wouldn’t see my flaws, our missteps, or our shortcomings so clearly. But I didn’t want to sell you a dream.
Instead, this book is a narrative of real bare-knuckles, on-the-ground organizing. I bring you into our fervent worrying in late-night meetings, yelling matches behind church benches, and last-minute action planning outside judges’ chambers. The nuances of strategy come to life in those moments. You get to wrestle with us over our choices—Do we publicly humiliate the judges who screwed us, or do we show traditional decorum because they will rule on future lawsuits?
Read more excerpts or purchase now: www.strategyandsoul.org
Bio of the Author
DANIEL HUNTER is a Training Elder with Training for Change (www.trainingforchange.org) where he trains activists in experiential methodology and campaign strategy. He’s sought all over the world for his expertise at direct action training, from training Canadian postalworkers union, to Quaker-based groups fighting mountaintop removal, to Philadelphia campaigns for affordable housing. His writing has been published with We Have Not Been Moved: Resisting Racism and Militarism in 21st Century America and in Beautiful Trouble: A toolbox for revolution. firstname.lastname@example.org