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Student sit-in in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1960
Bettmann/Getty Images via Dissent

To Build a Movement

"Walzer is acutely aware that will and competency alone are not enough to lead to success. In Political Action he preaches a gospel of realism—if you don’t win, try a different approach (like moving into electoral politics) or disband your effort and save your energies for something else. But Political Action is not about building a long-term movement or—for the most part—transforming the larger cultural and political circumstances. It is about how to change government policy and achieve desired actions in relation to discrete issues, one after another."

Writing for Dissent, Joshua B. Freeman reviews Political Action: A Practical Guide to Movement Politics by Michael Walzer, Professor Emeritus in the School of Social Science.

Originally published in 1971, Political Action was reprinted in 2019 by New York Review Books Classics with an introduction by Jon Wiener and a new preface by Walzer.

Read more at Dissent.

Date
July 29, 2019