Friday, May 19, 2017

Book Review: 'Rules for Revolutionaries: How Big Organizing Can Change Everything' by Becky Bond and Zack Exley

Review by Duane Campbell
By Becky Bond and Zack Exley
Who ever thought that revolutionaries needed rules ? Well, at least they need reflection and thinking. 
This excellent book offers a hands on description of the small “distributed organizing” team in the Sanders campaign.  The authors describe the ways the Sanders campaign was able to Go Big, and to recruit train, and organize hundreds of thousands of volunteers to provide a base for the campaign.
Opening chapters provide direct ideas:

Going Big; “You Won’t Get a Revolution if You Don’t Ask for One.”
“The Revolution Will Not be Staffed.”
“Fighting Racism Must Be at the Core of the Message to Everyone “ {although the authors seem to think that racism is almost exclusively Black/White.  It is not.}
The authors spend a chapter describing and praising the work of People for Bernie and in the chapter 11  with the title, “Don’t Let the Perfect Be The Enemy of the Big,”  they describe the process of campaigns  developing and using automatic dialers- the instruments that send  so many calls to your home or your cell phone.
And much more.
The value of this book is that it describes steps and strategies that we can use to build DSA and other political organizations.
A post on a different forum questioned whether Bernie Sanders’ book, Our Revolution was of value.  Sanders book is good, but most of it is things that those of us who worked in the campaign already know.  So, if you were not deeply involved in the campaign, go ahead and read it. Interestingly, Sanders own telling of the story is very strong in asserting that he listened and considered African American participation actively.  Of course, many critics have asserted a weakness in this organizing.
But, if you are looking to learn tactics and strategies from the Sanders campaign, I recommend the Rules for Revolutionaries book first.  They offer 22 new “rules” or organizing for consideration. After over 40 years of organizing, both electoral, union, and movement organizing, I learned a lot from this book. 


Editor's note: This review was originally published at the Daily Kos, which notes that its "content may be used for any purpose without explicit permission unless otherwise specified." The original page can be found here

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