2013 Session 16: Developing Anti-Racist Organizing Strategy – Readings

2013 Anne Braden Anti-Racist Training Program
Session 16: Developing Anti-Racist Organizing Strategy

Required Readings

  1. Mab Segrest, “A Bridge, Not a Wedge” from Memoirs of a Race Traitor. (10 page PDF*: Segrest_A_Bridge_Not_A_Wedge). (bio).
  2. Eric Mann, “Transformative Organizing” (5 page PDF: Mann_Transformative_Organizing; also on the web at urbanhabitat.org/17-2/mann). (bio).
  3. Vermont Workers’ Center, “The People’s Recipe” in “Vermont People’s Convention for Human Rights”. (1 page PDF: Peoples_Recipe_VWC).
  4. Go back to the readings from Session 15 on Anti-Racist Organizing and read either “Strategic Opportunities” on the Heads Up Collective or “Hearts on Fire” on New Orleans solidarity organizing.
  5. Catalyst Project, “Catalyst_SWOT_Template” (1 page PDF).

Recommended Readings

  1. B Loewe, “White Anti-Racist Organizers in Working Class Communities of Color: an interview with B Loewe of the Latino Union of Chicago”, interview by Chris Crass. (11 page PDF*: Loewe_White_Anti-racist_Organizers). (bio).
  2. Alisa Bierria, Communities Against Rape and Abuse (CARA),  “Pursuing a Radical Antiviolence Agenda Inside/Outside a Non-profit Structure ” from INCITE!: Women of Color Against Violence, eds., The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-profit Industrial Complex. (14 page PDF: Bierria_Pursuing_a_Radical_Anti_Violence_Agenda). (bio).
  3. Tom Keefer, “The Politics of Solidarity: Six Nations, Leadership, and the Settler Left”, Upping the Anti #4. ( PDF: Keefer_Politics_of_Solidarity; also on the web at uppingtheanti.org/journal/article/04-the-politics-of-solidarity). (bio).
  4. Catherine Jones, “What I Wish I Knew: My Goals for Anti-Racist Practice”. (3 page PDF: Jones_What_I_Wish_I_Knew; also at coloursofresistance.org/717/what-i-wish-i-knew-my-own-goals-for-anti-racist-practice). (bio).

Further Resources

  1. Vermont People’s Convention, “Declaration of Human Rights” (26 page PDF: VT_Declaration_of_Human_Rights; also on the web at workerscenter.org/news/vermont-peoples-convention-declaration-human-rights).
  2. Vermont Workers’ Center, How We Won Healthcare for All, video on the web on Youtube.com/watch?v=6nJkjvwiz7E.
  3. Eric Mann,Playbook for Progressives: 16 Qualities of the Successful Organizer (Beacon Press, 2009) (bio).
  4. Eric Mann, The 7 Components of Transformative Organizing Theory (Frontline Press, 2010). (bio).
  5. Bob Wing, “Notes Toward a Social Justice Electoral Strategy” (12 page PDF: Wing_Notes_Toward_a_Social_Justice_Electoral_Strategy; also on the web at organizingupgrade.com/index.php/modules-menu/community-organizing/item/45-notes-toward-a-social-justice-electoral-strategy). (bio).

Readings are provided free for use by participants studying in the Anne Braden Training Program for Anti-Racist Organizers, a noncommercial, nonprofit educational program. We encourage everyone to buy the works from which excerpts have been taken – please support these authors and publishers.

Author Biographies

Alisa Bierria is a radical Black feminist with experience organizing around domestic and sexual violence, reproductive justice, racial and gender justice, and internalized oppression.   She is an active member of many liberation-based movements and values critical thinking and analysis, popular education, and collective action.  Alisa is currently a member of the national collective of INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, a national activist organization of radical feminists of color advancing a movement to end violence and oppression against women of color and our communities, and a member of Communities Against Rape and Abuse (CARA), a vibrant anti-rape organizing project in Seattle.  She currently goes to school in California where she is developing a philosophical framework to describe agency as it exists in the context of oppression.

Catherine Jones was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she works as a doctor and coordinates the Latino Health Outreach Project.  She worked in the Common Ground Clinic, the Anti-Racism Working Group of Common Ground and People’s Hurricane Relief Fund.  Catherine worked for many years with San Francisco Food Not Bombs and the Challenging White Supremacy Workshops.  In 2002, Catherine co-founded the Bay Area Childcare Collective with Elly Kugler and Brooke Atherton.  The Childcare Collective’s mission statement reads “We are committed to providing grassroots organizations and movements composed of and led by immigrant women, low-income women, and women of color with trained, competent, patient, and politicized childcare providers for one-time events or ongoing meetings.”

Tom Keefer is an editor of Upping the Anti, a radical journal of theory and action that provides a space to address and discuss unresolved questions and dynamics within the anti-capitalist, anti-oppression, and anti-imperialist politics of today’s radical left in Canada.

B. Loewe has been an organizer and administrator for the immigrant worker rights movement in Chicago since 2003.  He has lived and participated in labor, food justice, and racial justice struggles in Cincinnati, Maine, and the Bay Area after having grown up in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC.  His writing is the product of patient mentoring and challenging friendships with many. Articles are available at Toward Freedom, the anthology Men Speak Out and in the upcoming book by the Catalyst Project.  B. is currently the Communications Director for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.

Eric Mann “is the director of the Labor/Community Strategy Center in Los Angeles and a co-founder of the Bus Riders Union. The Strategy Center is a ‘think tank/act tank’ that trains organizers and initiates high visibility environmental justice, mass transportation, and civil rights campaigns. The BRU is the largest mass transportation group in the U.S. … The Center’s National School for Strategic Organizing has more than 100 graduates who work in LA and throughout the U.S. Mann has been a civil rights, anti-Vietnam war, labor, and environmental organizer with the Congress of Racial Equality (field secretary), Students for a Democratic Society (New England regional organizer, national officer), and the United Auto Workers (ten years on auto assembly lines, coordinator of the UAW Campaign to Keep GM Van Nuys Open.) … He has written seven books, Comrade George, Taking On General Motors, LA’s Lethal Air, Dispatches from Durban, The 2004 Election, Katrina’s Legacy, and Playbook for Progressives. He is the co-host of the weekly radio show, Voices from the Frontlines, on KPFK Pacifica … He has published more than 200 articles that have appeared in the New York Times, L.A. Times, Boston Globe, Boston After Dark, Worldwatch, Socialist Register, Black Agenda Report, Black Commentator, AhoraNow, and The Nation. Mann was a delegate to the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa and the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. He was chosen by the NGO’s to address the world governments at the summit to challenge U.S. policies.” from ericmannauthor.com.

Mab Segrest was born in Alabama in 1949.  In the 1970s, Segrest moved to North Carolina to attend Duke, where she earned her Ph.D. in English literature.  Until it disbanded in 1983, Segrest worked in the feminist writing collective Feminary working to produce the journal of the same name.  Feminarians, including Segrest, saw writing as a force for political change.  Feminary was a Southern feminist journal that had a Southern focus and was anti-sexist, anti-racist, anti-homophobic, and anti-capitalist.  It was a unique contribution to women’s history.  Her writing during this period was published as the book My Mama’s Dead Squirrel: Lesbian Essays on Southern Culture.
 She left the academy in the early 1980s to work full-time in social movements for the next decade. She helped to found North Carolinians Against Racist and Religious Violence and worked in that organization from 1983 to 1990 to rally citizens of the state against virulent neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan activity and an epidemic of hate violence. Segrest’s 1995 book Memoir of a Race Traitor narrates this experience.
Segrest worked for the World Council of Churches as Coordinator of the US Contact Group of the WCC’s Urban-Rural Mission from 1992 to 2000. In Segrest’s third book, Born to Belonging: Writings on Spirit and Justice, she uses travel memoirs in a search for alternatives to the apartheid of her Southern childhood, negotiating history, philosophy, theology, autobiography and reporting on a search for of an understanding of “Ubuntu,” an African word for belonging, as a different starting point for our economic, political and cultural systems. 
Her work Memoir of a Race Traitor is a key text in white studies and anti-racist studies.  In this work, Segrest outlines her definition of “queer socialism,” which is how she defines her political stance. This version of socialism demands a more caring world where all citizens are taken into consideration when resources are allocated and opportunities are dispensed. She says that while there is no blueprint as yet for this form of socialism, it would be based in feminist theory and practice.

Bob Wing “has been an activist since 1968 and was the founding editor of ColorLines magazine and War Times/Tiempo de Guerras newspaper. He lives in Durham, NC and currently works with the Pushback Network, a national civic engagement collaboration of social justice community organizing groups.” –OrganizingUpgrade

* Note: number of pages refers to pages within the PDF file to provide a sense of the download size, not the number of pages of readings included. Links to external web sites open in a new page.

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