“Beautiful Trouble is essential reading for the socially engaged artist.”Ken Krafchek, Graduate Director, MFA in Community Arts, Maryland Institute College of Art
“For ten years, I’ve been waiting for someone to ask me to contribute to just this kind of book.”
—Chuck Collins, Institute for Policy Studies
*Please forward & repost*
The collective that brought you Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution is teaming up with Rachel Plattus and Eli Feghali of the New Economy Coalition to assemble a toolbox for building a just and livable future. Beautiful Solutions: A Toolbox for the Future will adapt the modular, interconnected structure of Beautiful Trouble, as well as its successful model of movement-wide collaboration. If you’re involved in building alternatives anywhere in the world, we want to hear from you.
We are seeking pitches for short, focused entries (ranging from 200 to 1000 words) on the following:
successful and instructive case studies (Boulder, CO energy municipalization, Belo Horizonte participatory budgeting, etc.)
solutions-focused tactics (worker co-ops, social wage, Tobin tax, full employment programs, open-source design, etc)
key theoretical concepts for guiding the construction of alternatives (the Commons, solidarity economics, usufruct, etc.).
How to submit
If you’re interested in contributing, please submit your idea here, and we’ll follow up.
If you know someone else who would make a great contributor, or some topic that should be included in the toolbox but you yourself are not the person to write it, please send those suggestions our way and we’ll follow up.
We also welcome any questions, and/or general expressions of enthusiasm, concern or confusion you may have about the project. Feel free to email us at dave AT beautifultrouble DOT org.
About the project
“You never* change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” —Buckminster Fuller
“We are not gathered here today in order to change the world. We are here with a more modest proposal — to create a new world. We. Today. Here.” —Zapatista communique, April 4, 1996
It’s not enough to simply stop the pipeline. It’s not enough to stop big banks from kicking working people out of their homes. It’s not enough even when millions of people take to the streets to overthrow an oppressive law or regime. Resistance is essential, but it’s not enough.
As we fight the injustice around us, we also have to imagine — and create — the world we want to live in. We have to build real alternatives in the here and now — alternatives that are not only living proof that things can be done differently, but that actively challenge, and eventually supplant, the power of the status quo.
Our natural systems of mutualism and interconnectedness are broken. As we disarm the worst excesses of the current order, we must create new institutions — political, social, economic, and cultural — that restore the balance and point the way forward. That’s what this book is about.
Around the globe and throughout history, quiet revolutionaries have discovered the power of building “the new society in the shell of the old.” Along the way, lessons have been learned and innovative models devised. Beautiful Solutions pulls them all together in one accessible place.
Beautiful Solutions is designed as a companion volume to the indispensable Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution, and builds off its popular model for distilling the component pieces of effective organizing. The book lays out an interconnected matrix of prefigurative Tactics, Values, Theories and Case Studies that can be adapted by anyone looking to build solutions. Are your community’s needs being ignored? Try TACTIC: Participatory Budgeting. Need a roadmap for shifting your city to renewable energy? See what they did in CASE STUDY: Boulder, CO takes on Xcel Energy, 2013.
Beautiful Solutions gathers the most promising and contagious strategies for building new institutions grounded in justice and sustainability. Written for — and by — several generations of constructive revolutionaries, it’s a toolbox anyone can use. Another world is possible. Armed with this book, we can start building it, together.
* With respect to Buckminster Fuller, we nonetheless still believe that fighting the existing reality remains a crucial part of changing things for the better.
Who we are
Rachel Plattus is a Director of Organizing at the New Economy Coalition (NEC). She coordinates NEC’s Youth and Student Network and works to build broad community, movement and organizational engagement in creating an alternative economic system that is restorative to people, place and the planet. Rachel is active in climate justice work as a member of a Boston-based organizing collective, Simorgh. Someday she would like to be a heron or a whale. She lives in Jamaica Plain, MA.
Eli Feghali is the Director of Communications and Online Organizing for the New Economy Coalition (NEC). He is a Lebanese-American who has spent the majority of his professional life as a communications specialist and community organizer. At NEC, Eli works to craft and amplify stories about the people on the frontlines of building a just and sustainable economy. Outside of his day job, Eli is a member of a climate justice affinity group and active in local efforts to grow the cooperative sector in Boston. He is vegan (except for the occasional croissant) and is unabashedly addicted to the Boston Celtics.
Andrew Boyd, Wrangler-in-Chief, Beautiful Trouble, is an author, humorist and veteran of creative campaigns for social change. He led the decade-long satirical media campaign “Billionaires for Bush.” He co-founded Agit-Pop Communications, an award-winning “subvertising” agency, as well as the netroots social justice movement, The Other 98%. He’s the author of several books, most recently: Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution. Unable to come up with with his own lifelong ambition, he’s been cribbing from Milan Kundera: “to unite the utmost seriousness of question with the utmost lightness of form.” He and his laptop live in New York; you can find him at andrewboyd.com and beautifultrouble.org.
Dave Oswald Mitchell, Editorial Director of Beautiful Trouble, is a freelance editor, researcher, and communications strategist whose work focuses on supporting social-change and community-organizing initiatives. He edited Briarpatch Magazine from 2005 to 2010, and served as content manager for Global Hive: Toolbox for Global Citizenship. His interests include found haiku, photography, and going elsewhere. www.daveomitchell.com.
Beautiful Trouble is a book, web toolbox and international network of artist-activist trainers whose mission is to make grassroots movements more creative and more effective. Praised by Naomi Klein as “elegant and incendiary,” the book is being used by campaigns and in classrooms across the country, and is currently being translated into six languages. An invaluable resource for veterans and newbie activists alike, Beautiful Trouble pulls together the best ideas of ten groundbreaking organizations and over 70 activists, artists and strategists into a set of interlocking design principles to instigate everything from a flash mob to a revolution. The text consists of short, interrelated modules – creative tactics, action design principles, case studies, and theoretical frameworks – that together comprise an accessible matrix of best practices and ideas in creative campaigning. Published by OR Books (full edition 2012, pocket edition 2013), Beautiful Trouble has begun adding new modules to the website each month, drawing on an increasingly diverse and globally dispersed pool of contributors.