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“How to Read a Protest: The Art of Organizing and Resistance” with Author L. A. Kauffman
April 4, 2019 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm EDT
In L.A. Kauffman’s new book, How to Read a Protest: The Art of Organizing and Resistance, the mobilizing coordinator of the 2003-2004 Iraq War protests explains what makes today’s grassroots resistance different from past movements in America.
When millions of people took to the streets for the 2017 Women’s Marches, there was an unmistakable air of uprising, a sense that these marches were launching a powerful new movement to resist a dangerous presidency. But the work that protests do often can’t be seen in the moment. It feels empowering to march, and record numbers of Americans have joined anti-Trump demonstrations, but when and why does marching matter? What exactly do protests do, and how do they help movements win?
In this original and richly illustrated account, organizer and journalist L.A. Kauffman delves into the history of America’s major demonstrations, beginning with the legendary 1963 March on Washington, to reveal the ways protests work and how their character has shifted over time. Using the signs that demonstrators carry as clues to how protests are organized, Kauffman explores the nuanced relationship between the way movements are made and the impact they have. How to Read a Protest sheds new light on the catalytic power of collective action and the decentralized, bottom-up, women-led model for organizing that has transformed what movements look like and what they can accomplish.
L.A. Kauffman has spent more than thirty-five years immersed in grassroots movements, as a journalist, historian, organizer, and strategist. Her writings on organizing and social movement history have been published in The Guardian, The Nation, The Progressive, Mother Jones, the Village Voice, n+1, The Baffler, and many other outlets.
Kauffman was a central strategist of the two-year direct action campaign that saved more than 100 New York City community gardens from bulldozing in 1999; she masterminded the campaign’s most notorious action, the release of 10,000 crickets in One Police Plaza during a city land auction.
Kauffman was the mobilizing coordinator for the massive antiwar protests of 2003 and 2004, which remain some of the largest demonstrations in U.S. history. More recently, she was a key organizer of successful campaigns to save two iconic New York City public libraries from being demolished and replaced by luxury towers. She is currently involved in a range of organizing projects to oppose the Trump presidency.
Join us for a conversation with L.A. Kauffman on the importance of standing in solidarity in the fight to end oppression against minorities through protest!
ADVANCED PRAISE FOR HOW TO READ A PROTEST
“A seasoned activist shares her wisdom on the struggle for social change, using political movements such as Black Lives Matter, the Women’s March, and the Bonus Army as examples.”—O, The Oprah Magazine
“Explores protesting as an act of faith . . . How to Read a Protest argues that the women’s marches of 2017 didn’t just help shape and fuel a moment—they actually created one.”—Masha Gessen The New Yorker
“Kauffman’s new book offers critical historical analysis and strategic insights, raising provocative and complex questions about the relationship between protests and movement building. Every organizer and social movement historian should read it.”—Barbara Ransby, author of Making All Black Lives Matter: Reimagining Freedom in the Twenty-First Century
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