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L.A. Kauffman, "Direct Action": reading and discussion

  • 57th Street Books 5751 South Woodlawn Avenue Chicago, IL, 60637 United States (map)

L.A. Kauffman discusses "Direct Action: Protest and the Reinvention of American Radicalism" at 57th Street Books

About the book: 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.

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.

About the author: L.A. Kauffman has spent more than thirty years immersed in radical movements as a participant, strategist, journalist, and observer.