Notes on a Theory…

Thoughts on politics, law, & social science

Posts Tagged ‘social movements

Poor People’s Movements and The Movements of 2020

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I organized multiple reading groups of the classic book Poor People’s Movements: Why They Succeed and How They Fail, by Francis Fox Piven and Richard Cloward, over the past year. The book has perhaps never been more relevant given the the historic protests over police brutality, the coronavirus pandemic, and economic inequality of late. I was recently on Left Anchor and we talked about what lessons might be drawn from the successes and failures of these protests, and how we should think about movement strategy going forward. Check it out.

Written by David Kaib

March 26, 2021 at 10:20 pm

Poor People’s Movements – Additional Readings

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I am currently in the middle of multiple reading groups of Piven and Cloward’s Poor People’s Movements: Why They Succeed, How They Fail. Here are some suggested readings to follow up on that.This is not meant to be comprehensive. Suggestions welcome in the comments.

More Piven and Cloward

Regulating the Poor: The Functions of Public Welfare by Frances Fox Piven and Richard A. Cloward

Why Americans Still Don’t Vote: And Why Politicians Want It That Way by Frances Fox Piven and Richard A. Cloward

“Disruptive Dissensus – People and Power in the Industrial Age” by Richard A. Cloward and Frances Fox Piven

Challenging Authority: How Ordinary People Change America by Frances Fox Piven

Great Depression

Teamster Rebellion by Farrell Dobbs

Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression by Robin D.G. Kelley


No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age by Jane F. McAlevey

“The Barren Marriage of American Labour and the Democratic Party” by Mike Davis

Civil Rights Movement

I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle by Charles M. Payne

Welfare Rights Movement

Welfare Warriors: The Welfare Rights Movement in the United States by Premilla Nadasen

Storming Caesars Palace: How Black Mothers Fought Their Own War on Poverty by Annelise Orleck

Written by David Kaib

February 13, 2021 at 1:27 pm

Radio: Political Parties and Social Change

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I was interviewed by David Shen and Zach Schalk for the first episode of their podcast, Square 1. I touch on a lot of the themes I talk about here, but you can hear them instead of read them. The short version is that I am skeptical of the possibility that electoral activity alone can bring about significant change, and emphasize the important of non-electoral activity even in producing electoral outcomes.

You can listen here.

Here are the works I mentioned:

Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money-Driven Political Systems by Thomas Ferguson

Party Politics in America by Marjorie Randon Hershey

Politics, Parties, & Pressure Groups by V.O. Key

Written by David Kaib

February 13, 2017 at 8:32 pm

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