George Lakey (Viking Economics) has been an activist in the U.S. since he was first arrested in 1963 during the civil rights movement. In 1964, he co-wrote the widely influential Manual for Direct Action. The political environment has changed substantially since then. How We Win is a new primer that draws on Lakey's decades of experience and includes contributions from three other seasoned activists.
Lakey offers "movement-building approaches that win major changes rather than small reforms." In clear prose and well-organized chapters, he lays out practical advice on how to set goals, plan strategies, create healthy group dynamics, handle attacks and avoid conflicts with groups working toward similar goals in different ways. He addresses the question of violence, the importance of vision and the value and limitations of social media. Real change, he says, is not accomplished by protests or impulsive actions, but by sustained campaigns that build into movements. "Protests are usually organized to express grief, anger, or plain opposition to an action or policy.... Campaigners, by contrast, plan from the start to do a series of nonviolent actions and continue until the goal is reached." Readers need not agree with Lakey's politics to benefit from his advice. Anyone who hopes to change the world will want to pick up this book. --Sara Catterall