A lifetime of activist experience informs this playbook for building and conducting nonviolent direct action campaigns
Beginning as a trainer in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, George Lakey has been on the front lines of social change for decades.
Now, in this timely and down-to-earth guide, he passes the torch to a new generation of activists hitting the streets. He looks to successful campaigns across the world to help us see what has worked and what hasn’t: from choosing the right target, to designing a creative campaign; from avoiding burnout within your group, to building a movement of movements to achieve real progressive victories.
Drawing on the experiences of a diverse set of ambitious change-makers, How We Win shows us the way to justice, peace, and a sustainable economy. This is what democracy looks like.
About the Author
GEORGE LAKEY has been active in direct action campaigns for six decades. Recently retired from Swarthmore College, where he was the Eugene M. Lang Visiting Professor for Issues of Social Change, Lakey was first arrested at a civil rights demonstration in March 1963, and his most recent arrest was March 29, 2018, as a participant in the Power Local Green Jobs Campaign. He lives in Philadelphia.
“George Lakey’s Manual for Direct Action was literally a life saver for many during the height of the struggle for Black freedom and dignity in the 1960s. How We Win has arrived to us at another key moment in our human journey. It is a guide for our collective liberation, informed by decades of Professor Lakey’s ongoing research and teaching since the ‘60s. Following these steps will indeed help us achieve a more just and humane society.” —Rev. Dr. Bernice A. King, CEO of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change
“If you want to be a soldier, you can go to West Point. If you want to be a nonviolent change-maker—well, this is an awfully good place to start. George Lakey has been near the center of American resistance for decades, and so he has both remarkable stories and remarkable insights—not to mention some remarkable colleagues who add their perspective to this necessary manual!” —Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org
“This book is a chance to sit around the supper table with a living legend of U.S. social movements, a mentor who speaks from experience yet honors the young. His lessons and stories leave us all stronger, wiser, and more hopeful about our capacity for making a better world.” —Nathan Schneider, author of Everything for Everyone
"Hard-won advice for community organizers...Clear, encouraging, and potentially empowering."—Kirkus Reviews
"Lakey doesn’t make it sound easy, but he employs a reasoned, seasoned perspective to clearly convey principles of organization that have proved their value to activists worldwide.” —Publisher's Weekly
"Inspiring stories of effective, successful campaigning.... I recommend George Lakey’s How We Win." —Peace News
"Essential reading for anyone who seeks to contribute meaningfully to social movements... Reading it will be well worth your time. Applying its insights is even more useful." —Friends Journal