THIS IS AN UPRISING
How Nonviolent Revolt Is Shaping the Twenty-First Century
by Mark Engler and Paul Engler
(Nation Books. February 9, 2016. 368 pages. ISBN 978-1568587332.)
THERE IS A CRAFT TO UPRISING—AND THIS CRAFT CAN CHANGE THE WORLD.
From protests around climate change and immigrant rights, to Occupy, the Arab Spring, and #BlackLivesMatter, a new generation is unleashing strategic nonviolent action to shape public debate and force political change. When mass movements erupt onto our television screens, the media consistently portrays them as being spontaneous and unpredictable. Yet, in this book, Mark and Paul Engler look at the hidden art behind such outbursts of protest, examining core principles that have been used to spark and guide moments of transformative unrest.
With incisive insights from contemporary activists, as well as fresh revelations about the work of groundbreaking figures such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Gene Sharp, and Frances Fox Piven, the Englers show how people with few resources and little conventional influence are engineering the upheavals that are reshaping contemporary politics.
Nonviolence is usually seen simply as a philosophy or moral code. This Is an Uprising shows how it can instead be deployed as a method of political conflict, disruption, and escalation. It argues that if we are always taken by surprise by dramatic outbreaks of revolt, we pass up the chance to understand a critical phenomenon—and to harness its power to create lasting change.
“Absorbing… Ambitious… Indispensable. A genuine gift to social movements everywhere.” —Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything and The Shock Doctrine
“For all those who dare to dream that truly transformational, even revolutionary change might be possible here in America in our lifetimes (but who wonder what strategies or tactics could possibly achieve a monumental shift in consciousness), this book is for you. We have more power than we realize, and the compelling stories of nonviolent movements around the world told here have much to teach us about how we can use our power wisely.” —Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow
“This is a landmark book—not merely a history of nonviolent resistance, but a distillation of a few key concepts. ‘Momentum-based organizing’ puts a name on something that many of us had dimly intuited. It’s a powerful method for making real change fast. And real change fast is in fact what our world requires.” —Bill McKibben, author and co-founder of 350.org
“Mark and Paul Engler have compiled a true masterpiece on the history, logic, ethics, and power of nonviolent action…. Sure to inform and inspire for generations to come.” —Erica Chenoweth, co-author of Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict
“[An] important analysis of nonviolent strategy.” —Tina Rosenberg, The New York Times
“A detailed, nuanced, comprehensive, well-written, and wise strategy book that focuses on the work of some of the most thoughtful organizers and theorists of nonviolent civil resistance… Frankly, this is the best book I have read in decades that explores the strengths and limits of nonviolent rebellion, and how it can be productively integrated with other organizing traditions in effective ways.” —Steve Chase, Friends Journal