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Book Reviews

Front cover of the Purpose Driven Campaigning summary.

Purpose Driven Campaigning

Australian Progress has prepared this 40-point summary of Pastor Rick Warren’s bestselling book The Purpose Driven Church. The resource is based on Rick Warren’s experience of growing his church, Saddleback, from scratch to 20,000 members attending every week. Saddleback is now the eighth biggest church in the United States.

Cover of How to Make Trouble and Influence People. Features a photograph of someone in a sugar glider outfit being removed from an area by two policeman.

About How to Make Trouble and Influence People

Information about How to Make Trouble and Influence People, including reviews of the two editions. The book offers an alternative history of Australia, chronicling how it “has progressed by a series of little rebellions”.

Cover of Tim Gee's book 'Counter Power: Making Change Happen'

Frameworks for Winning Change

Social change can be messy and challenging work! It helps to have frameworks to make sense of the situations we find ourselves in and plan for the way ahead. This article outlines four models, by Martin Luther King, Jr, George Lakey, Bill Moyer and Tim Gee.

Cover of Anne Bishop's book Becoming An Ally: Ending the Cycle of Oppression in People

Becoming allies

Allies work is key to building strong and diverse groups and social movements. An ally is someone outside an oppressed group or identity, who commits to standing alongside those people.

Cover of Clare Land's Decolonizing Solidarity: Dilemmas and Directions for Supporters of Indigenous Struggles

Decolonizing Solidarity Bookclub

Decolonizing Solidarity is a book by Clare Land which offers directions (and knotty dilemmas) to people seeking to support Indigenous Struggles. This article includes suggested guidelines for book clubs discussing Decolonizing Solidarity which are also beneficial for other groups doing anti-oppression and ally work.

Moving The Rock: Shifting Power for Sustained Change

This article explores the ‘moving the rock’ concept put forward by Daniel Hunter in his book Strategy and Soul. The concept has been valuable for campaigners and organisations reassessing their theory of change and particularly how they engage politicians and supporters.

Diagram shows 5 arrows pointing to the target of Purpose: Symbols, Slogans, Stories, Specifics, Personalise.

Being Purpose Driven

Nothing precedes purpose. The starting point for every organisation or movement should be the question ‘Why do we exist’? A number of tips for focusing an organisation on vision and purpose. An excerpt from Purpose Driven Campaigning, based on Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Church.

Diagram of 5 concentric circles labelled from outside to inside: Community; Crowd; Congregation; Committed; Core.

Levels of Commitment from Community to Core

Rick Warren focuses on five ‘circles of commitment’ – community, crowd, congregation, committed and core, and argue that it’s important to recognise where your supporters fall in these categories, and develop processes to move them from the outside in. An excerpt from Purpose Driven Campaigning.

Photograph of a large group of people in a rural paddock. They are holding signs and banners reading 'No Gas Mining on Our Prime Ag Land'.

Time to move the rock

A follow up article from a workshop presented at Progress 2015 by Holly Hammond and Sam La Rocca with a video presentation from Daniel Hunter. The workshop explored Daniel’s metaphor ‘politicians are like a balloon tied to a rock’.

Cover of the book Ground Wars.

Ground Wars: electoral field campaigning

Joel Dignam reviews Ground Wars, Rasmus Kleis Nielsen’s hands-on ethnographic study of two competitive congressional campaigns in the 2008 US election. The book is a richly-detailed portrait of contemporary field campaigning.

The Tyranny of Structurelessness

Joel Dignam reviews Jo Freeman’s “The Tyranny of Structurelessness” which explores some of the key structural problems facing groups. Recognising that power dynamics are present in all groups Freeman proposes formal structures, transparency and accountability.

Aerial photograph of huge crowd filling Federation Square and surrounding streets.

Hahrie Han on How Relationships Improve Mobilisation

Insights from The Organizational Roots of Political Activism: Field Experiments on Creating a Relational Context. In her paper, Han demonstrates that a relational context affects civic engagement, arguing that decisions like voting or other forms of activism aren’t based upon a simple cost-benefit analysis.

This is an Uprising

Joel Dignam reviews Paul and Mark Engler’s 2016 book This is an Uprising: How Nonviolent Revolt Is Shaping the Twenty-First Century. TIAU is an analysis of social change, how it has occurred, and how contemporary campaigners may make it occur again.

Cover of 'Launching a Leadership Revolution'.

Launching a Leadership Revolution

Joel Dignam reviews Launching a Leadership Revolution by Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward. Joel distills the key lessons that are relevant to social change organisations.

Cover of the book 'How Organizations Develop Activists'.

How Organizations Develop Activists

Joel Dignam reviews Hahrie Han’s How Organizations Develop Activists. A key finding of Han’s research is that high-engagement chapters practise both organizing and mobilizing. The Voice for Indi campaign is considered as an Australian example of combining these two approaches.

Cover of 'In the Tigers Mouth'.

In the Tiger’s Mouth: Activism, Self-Awareness, Self Care

A review of Katrina Shield’s ‘In The Tiger’s Mouth: An Empowerment Guide for Social Action’. What most distinguishes this books is its emphasis on three elements not often considered in other campaigning texts: self-awareness, collaboration, and self-care.

Image of the book cover "Ideas for Action"

Ideas for Action

Anne O’Brien reviews Ideas for Action: Relevant Theory for Radical Change by Cynthia Kaufman. Kaufman connects theory with the day to day dilemmas that activists face in the practical work of challenging injustice.

Cover of The Activists' Handbook.

The Activists’ Handbook

Aidan Rickett’s The Activists’ Handbook is a powerful guide to grassroots activism. Naomi Blackburn reviews the early chapters of the book which are particularly relevant to Theories of Change.

Front cover of Power in Coalition by Amanda Tattersall.

Power in Coalition

Denisse Sandoval shares insights from Amanda Tattersall’s book Power in Coalition: Strategies for Strong Unions and Social Change. We may have seen token coalitions with simple community support in the form of logos on letter heads, but how do we build real power to live out the values of the organisations involved in alliances?