Building from the Local for Global Justice

Edited by Aziz Choudry, Jill Hanley and Eric Shragge


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How do we organize for progressive social change in an era of unprecedented economic, social, and ecological crises? How do political activists build power and critical analysis into their daily work for change?

Grounded in struggles in Canada, the USA, and Aotearoa/New Zealand, as well as transnational activist networks, Organize! links local organizing with global struggles for social justice. From organizing immigrant workers to mobilizing psychiatric survivors, from arts and activism for Palestine to support for Indigenous Peoples, activists, academics, and artists reflect on the tensions and gains inherent in a diverse range of organizing contexts and practices. Organize! encourages us to use history to shed light on contemporary injustices and how they can be overcome.

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To understand the world, you have to try to change it. That’s what the authors of this fine set of essays and meditations have taken to heart. The result? Some of the best insights on power, organizing, and revolution to be found in Canada or beyond.

– Raj Patel, author of The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy

This superb collection needs to find its way into the hands of every activist and organizer for social justice. In a series of dazzling essays, an amazing group of radical organizers reflect on what it means to build movements in which people extend control over their lives. These analyses are jam-packed with insights about antiracist, anticolonial, working-class, and anticapitalist organizing. Perhaps most crucially, the authors lay down a key challenge for all activists for social justice: to take seriously the need to build mass movements for social change. Don’t just read this exceptionally timely and important work–use it, too.

– David McNally, professor of political science, York University, Toronto, author of Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance and Another World Is Possible: Globalization and Anti-Capitalism

Any book called Organize! has me from hello, but this one brings serious thought and analysis to what it really means to organize and why it is essential to build a base for the work in order to fashion both power and victories. It is also refreshing to read new, vibrant reports of organizing and shine needed light on the exciting work being done both by veteran and younger activists and organizers.

– Wade Rathke, chief organizer of ACORN International, and former founder and chief organizer of ACORN in the United States


Introduction Organize! Looking Back, Thinking Ahead
Aziz Choudry, Jill Hanley, and Eric Shragge
Chapter 1 Activist Research: Mapping Power Relations, Informing Struggles
Aziz Choudry and Devlin Kuyek
Chapter 2 Research Partnerships and Local Community Organizing
Kezia Speirs with Evelyn Calugay
Chapter 3 Fundraising: Politics and Strategies
Anne Petermann
Chapter 4 Some Comments on Law and Organizing
Alex Law and Jared Will
Chapter 5 Rights, Action, Change: Organize for What?
Radha D'Souza
Chapter 6 Escape, Retreat, Revolt: Queer People of Colour Living in Montreal: Using Photovoice as a Tool for Community Organizing
Edward Ou Jin Lee
Chapter 7 Listen to the Music: Work the Music, Organize the Community
Norman Nawrocki
Chapter 8 Art for Palestine: Re-Narrating History and the Present
Rafeef Ziadah
Chapter 9 Community Organizing: Maori Movement Building
Maria Bargh
Chapter 10 Solidarity, Real and Imagined: Lessons from the 1991 Postal Strike
Dave Bleakney and Abdi Hagi Yusef
Chapter 11 Immigrant Worker Organizing in a Time of Crisis: Adapting to the New Realities of Class and Resistance
Mostafa Henaway
Chapter 12 Research Group on Collective Autonomy Prefigurative Self-Governance and Self-Organization: The Influence of Antiauthoritarian (Pro)Feminist, Radical Queer and Antiracist Networks in Quebec
Emilie Breton, Sandra Jeppesen, Anna Kruzynski, and Rachel Sarrasin
Chapter 13 Making Our Space, Taking Our Place: Lessons from Migrant Women's Organizing in Montreal
Dolores Chew
Chapter 14 Mad Activism Enters Its Fifth Decade: Psychiatric Survivor Organizing in Toronto
David Reville and Kathryn Church
Chapter 15 Organizing and the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Strategy: The Turn to BDS in Palestine Solidarity Politics in Montreal
Brian Aboud
Chapter 16 Muhammad Ali and the Moon Migrants
Joey Calugay
Chapter 17 Solidarity Tourism and International Development Internships: Some Critical Reflections
Gada Mahrouse
Chapter 18 Moving Beyond a Politics of Solidarity: Toward a Practice of Decolonization
Harsha Walia
Chapter 19 Organizing in Solidarity with "threats to National Security": The Campaign against Immigration "Security Certificates"
Mary Foster
Chapter 20 Confessions of a Reluctant Food Activist
Martha Stiegman
Chapter 21 Building Power Beyond the Grassroots: ACORN Matters
Robert Fisher
Chapter 22 Urban Neoliberalism and the Right to the City Alliance
Yuseph Katiya and Christopher Reid