A reading and discussion on resistance movements past and present, and the special role of LGBTQ movements in American radicalism, by L.A. Kauffman, author of the new book, DIRECT ACTION.
As Americans take to the streets in record numbers to resist the presidency of Donald Trump, L.A. Kauffman’s timely, trenchant history of protest offers unique insights into how past movements have won victories in times of crisis and backlash and how they can be most effective today.
This deeply researched account, twenty-five years in the making, traces the evolution of disruptive protest since the Sixties to tell a larger story about the reshaping of the American left. Kauffman, a longtime grassroots organizer, examines how movements from ACT UP to Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter have used disruptive tactics to catalyze change despite long odds. The book highlights the centrality of feminist and queer organizers to the creation of a vibrant, decentralized tradition of resistance and activism.
Kauffman’s lively and elegant history is propelled by hundreds of candid interviews conducted over a span of decades. Direct Action showcases the voices of key players in an array of movements – environmentalist, anti-nuclear, anti-apartheid, feminist, LGBTQ, anti-globalization, racial-justice, anti-war, and more – across an era when American politics shifted to the right, and a constellation of decentralized issue- and identity-based movements supplanted the older ideal of a single, unified left.
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L.A. Kauffman has spent more than 30 years immersed in radical movements, as an organizer, strategist, journalist, and observer.