books

Over the past ten years we’ve put together a catalogued collection of over 200 books on social change, social movements, activist research and community campaigns and that challenge, inform and inspire. This is a list of our current favourites.

A history of the Australian environment movement

A history of the Australian environment movement

This book traces the development of the environment movement in Australia from the first visionaries who pressed for preservation of native fauna and for sanitation in cities, to a mass social movement that challenges the most powerful interests in society. The authors, as professional historians and environmental activists, have taken advantage of their unique position…

Activist wisdom

Activist wisdom

Activist wisdom: practical knowledge and creative tension in social movements Sarah and Sean identify and explore eight themes that both define and catalyse Australian activism. Their potted history of social movement theory is accessible and informative. The authors’ analysis is informed in equal part by their personal activist experience, their intimate knowledge of social movement…

Climate action: a campaign manual for greenhouse solutions

Climate action: a campaign manual for greenhouse solutions

“The word academic is synonymous for irrelevant”, declared Saul Alinsky, the influential Chicago activist-educator. A notable exception to Alinsky’s rule is Mark Diesendorf, author of ‘Climate Action: A campaign manual for greenhouse solutions’. Diesendorf is Deputy Director of the Institute of Environmental Studies at the University of New South Wales. Alinsky would admire Diesendorf’s academic…

Confronting Power: The practice of policy advocacy

Confronting Power: The practice of policy advocacy

Confronting Power provides an academically rigorous, yet practical and comprehensive framework and concepts for planning, implementing and evaluating policy advocacy. Based on the author’s experiences both as teacher and activist, the framework is general enough to be relevant for advocacy in a variety of sectors such as poverty alleviation, human rights and the environment, in different…

Decolonizing Solidarity: Dilemmas and directions for supporters of Indigenous struggles

Decolonizing Solidarity: Dilemmas and directions for supporters of Indigenous struggles

In this highly original and much-needed book, Clare Land interrogates the often fraught endeavours of activists from colonial backgrounds seeking to be politically supportive of Indigenous struggles. Blending key theoretical and practical questions, Land argues that the predominant impulses which drive middle-class settler activists to support Indigenous people cannot lead to successful alliances and meaningful…

Globalize liberation

Globalize liberation

Globalize liberation: how to uproot the system and build a better world “…Globalize Liberation is a manual, encyclopedia, and primary text for the global justice movement… If there were a required 101 class in anti-capitalism, this book would be central to the reading list.” – Fifth Estate “…Globalize Liberation is a diagnosis, prescription, and the…

Heart politics revisited

Heart politics revisited

“Heart politics revisited” is part autobiography, part manifesto, and it dares to dream about a new politics with people at the center. “Heart Politics Revisited” is a new and expanded edition of the classic 1985 handbook for activists. Peavey’s approach shuns careerism, rigid ideologies, revenge and recrimination–and offers a pathway towards reconciliation and living with…

How to win campaigns: Communications for change

How to win campaigns: Communications for change

Written for the new campaigner and the experienced communicator alike, this is a comprehensive and systematic exploration of what works in campaigning, and a practical how-to guide for using principles and strategy in campaigning as a new form of public politics. Applicable to any issue and from any point of view, the book’s 100 key…

Inside spin: the dark underbelly of the PR industry

Inside spin: the dark underbelly of the PR industry

Bob Burton is committed to helping community groups striving for social and environmental justice to understand the influence of the public relations industry – by helping to expose industry front groups, spin served up as media, corporate-sponsored think tanks and government-industry collusion. A tireless and meticulous researcher, Bob is known for his significant and ongoing…

Justice ignited: the dynamics of backfire

Justice ignited: the dynamics of backfire

Brian is well known to Australian activists for his extensive work around whistle-blowing and resisting repression. His new text deals with tactics against injustice. Case studies include the massacres at Sharpeville and Dili, the 1930 salt march in India, the beating of Rodney King, treatment of whistleblowers, environmental disasters, the invasion of Iraq, Abu Ghraib,…

LEARNING ACTIVISM: THE INTELLECTUAL LIFE OF CONTEMPORARY SOCIAL MOVEMENTS

LEARNING ACTIVISM: THE INTELLECTUAL LIFE OF CONTEMPORARY SOCIAL MOVEMENTS

What do activists know? Learning Activism is designed to encourage a deeper engagement with the intellectual life of activists who organize for social, political, and ecological justice. Combining experiential knowledge from his own activism and a variety of social movements, Choudry suggests that such organizations are best understood if we engage with the learning, knowledge, debates, and…

Learning and mobilising for community development: A radical tradition of community-based education and training

Learning and mobilising for community development: A radical tradition of community-based education and training

‘Learning and Mobilising for Community Development’ introduces the reader to different ways of thinking about, and organising community-based education and training within different settings. Stories from the global south and north illustrate approaches to collective learning and collective action. The book provides not only an insight into the how-to of community-based education and training, but…

People Power Manual: Campaign Strategy Guide

People Power Manual: Campaign Strategy Guide

The Campaign Strategy Guide is the first instalment of the People Power Manual, a resource created for organisers, activist educators and facilitators. Campaign strategy needn’t be mystifying, lonely or stressful. Social movements become more powerful as more people are equipped to analyse their political context, consider paths to change and mindfully plan tactics. This Campaign…

People Power Manual: Community Organising Guide

People Power Manual: Community Organising Guide

The Community Organising Guide is a unique resource for campaigners, community leaders and activist educators. It’s a collection of 39 process guides, 50 handouts 4 original case studies and 3 sample workshop schedules: everything you need to design and lead participatory workshops with activists, organisers and citizens. The 300 pages of training resources deepen our…

Power in coalitions: strategies for strong unions and social change

Power in coalitions: strategies for strong unions and social change

How can communities organise effectively to promote social change in the 21st century? Amanda Tattersall examines successful coalitions between unions and community organisations in three countries – Australia, US and Canada – extracting invaluable lessons for unions and community activists everywhere. How can we change things in an age in which governments are fixated on…

Reveille for Radicals

Reveille for Radicals

Legendary community organizer Saul Alinsky inspired a generation of activists and politicians with Reveille for Radicals, the original handbook for social change. Alinsky writes both practically and philosophically, never wavering from his belief that the American dream can only be achieved by an active democratic citizenship. First published in 1946 and updated in 1969 with…

Roots for radicals

Roots for radicals

Roots for Radicals is a distillation of the Industrial Areas Foundation philosophy and its unique approach to community organizing. The IAF is the oldest and largest institution for community organizing in the United States. For sixty years, its mission has been to train people to take responsibility for solving the problems in their own communities…

Secrets and lies

Secrets and lies

Secrets and lies: the anatomy of an anti-environmental pr campaign What makes Secrets and Lies so unique and invaluable are the scores of documents upon which it is based – secret internal missives, strategies and tactics that served as the battle plan of the hidden propaganda war waged by a New Zealand state-owned logging company,…

Seeds of distrust: the story of a GE cover up

Seeds of distrust: the story of a GE cover up

In November, 2000, in the middle of the Royal Commission on genetic engineering, the Government learned that a shipment of GE contaminated sweet corn seeds had been planted in three regions of New Zealand. Imposing strict secrecy, Prime Minister Helen Clark took control of the issue and said that the crops must be pulled out….

Social ecology: applying ecological understanding to our lives and our planet

Social ecology: applying ecological understanding to our lives and our planet

Social ecology addresses the burning question of how to apply ecological understanding to every aspect of our lives. The twenty-seven contributors, all of whom have directly or indirectly contributed to the teaching of social ecology in Australia and beyond, share their experiences in this “coming of age” anthology of keynote articles. These are of particular…

Strategy and soul

Strategy and soul

Strategy and soul: a campaigner’s tale of fighting billionaires, corrupt officials, and philadelphia casinos When Daniel Hunter and Jethro Heiko began planning at a kitchen table, they knew that their movement would be outspent by hundreds of millions of dollars. They were up against powerful elected officials, private investigators, hired thugs, and the state supreme…

The Activists’ Handbook

The Activists’ Handbook

‘The Activists’ Handbook’ is a powerful guide to grassroots activism. A priceless resource for everyone ready to make a difference, environmental activist Aidan Ricketts offers a step-by-step handbook for citizens eager to start or get involved in grassroots movements and beyond. Providing all essential practical tools, methods and strategies needed for a successful campaign and…

This is an Uprising: How Nonviolent Revolt is Shaping the Twenty-First Century

This is an Uprising: How Nonviolent Revolt is Shaping the Twenty-First Century

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…

What makes people tick

What makes people tick

What makes people tick: the three hidden worlds of settlers, prospectors and pioneers Chris Rose’ powerful guide to values mapping is a ‘must-read’ for campaigners. If you want to communicate effectively with people – especially if you want to persuade them to act – you need to start from where they are, not from where you…

What are people saying about us?

Alana

Alana West, Quit Coal organiser

The fellowship has equipped me with a deeper understanding of what community organising is, and how it can best be applied. Through my learnings I have been challenged to move from tactics-based campaigning to more strategic, long-term campaigning. I understand better where my campaign and my community fit into the incredible tapestry that is the environment and climate movement in Australia.
2015-03-17T21:00:54+00:00
Alana
The fellowship has equipped me with a deeper understanding of what community organising is, and how it can best be applied. Through my learnings I have been challenged to move from tactics-based campaigning to more strategic, long-term campaigning. I understand better where my campaign and my community fit into the incredible tapestry that is the...
Nick Aberle

Nick Aberle, Environment Victoria

Learning the theory and engaging with such practical implementation in such depth will definitely make me a more effective and successful campaigner and organiser. I’m looking forward to practicing my new skills in being more rigorous, thinking more strategically, and communicating more effectively. The strength of the bonds formed within the group has already strengthened the climate movement in Australia.
2014-05-10T21:42:00+00:00
Nick Aberle
Learning the theory and engaging with such practical implementation in such depth will definitely make me a more effective and successful campaigner and organiser. I’m looking forward to practicing my new skills in being more rigorous, thinking more strategically, and communicating more effectively. The strength of the bonds formed within the group has already strengthened...
Peter Archer

Peter Archer, World Vision

I have shared with my friends and family that this workshop was the most valuable training I have done. It came at a time when I had become aware of my passion for grassroots activism. The follow-up support equipped me quickly and powerfully to put my learning into practice and age my confidence a huge boost.
2014-03-30T08:11:05+00:00
Peter Archer
I have shared with my friends and family that this workshop was the most valuable training I have done. It came at a time when I had become aware of my passion for grassroots activism. The follow-up support equipped me quickly and powerfully to put my learning into practice and age my confidence a huge...
dave & gemma

Dave Muhly, Sierra Club

What began at Pittwater as a collection of skilled campaigners became a cadre of skilled organizers by the final day at Baden Powell. On Sunday evening as we gathered, I overheard one participant chatting with another at a picnic table and heard, "challenge, choice, outcome" as part of her conversation. Another commented at the final circle at how what had seemed like such a large group at Pittwater now seemed like a much smaller group, reflective of how closely this group had bonded as a team despite their vast differences in geography or organizational size or style, but based on a common goal and identity. Concepts like "building teams" and "building relationships" were part of the normal parlance and just a cursory review of the evaluations to date show an increased appreciation for and attention to leadership development and strategic planning. A number of participants reminded me of my off-the-cuff set of definitions about the differences between mobilizing, campaigning and community organising (focusing on local power), and one told me she has it on the wall of her office to inspire her every day. This has been the successful launch of an ambitious and visionary program. Many thanks to James and Kate for their vision, wisdom, and care in developing and nurturing the curriculum and the cohort. Kudos!

2014-09-15T10:27:41+00:00
dave & gemma
What began at Pittwater as a collection of skilled campaigners became a cadre of skilled organizers by the final day at Baden Powell. On Sunday evening as we gathered, I overheard one participant chatting with another at a picnic table and heard, “challenge, choice, outcome” as part of her conversation. Another commented at the final...
Nic clyde

Nic Clyde, Climate team leader, Greenpeace Australia Pacific

Before coming into this cohort, my community organising ability was – at best – intuitive, with not much structure and theory... or ‘all hat and no horse’ (as the Texans say). This is starting to change. This fellowship has reinvigorated my thirst to become a better campaigner. It has built my skills in strategy and community organising. It has connected me with a mob who are passionate, connected and willing to help out in whatever way they can. Thanks!
2014-05-23T16:40:41+00:00
Nic clyde
Before coming into this cohort, my community organising ability was – at best – intuitive, with not much structure and theory… or ‘all hat and no horse’ (as the Texans say). This is starting to change. This fellowship has reinvigorated my thirst to become a better campaigner. It has built my skills in strategy and...
jono

Jono La Nauze, FoE Melbourne

Totally awesome working with you guys. Thanks for your patience, commitment, considered and constructive guidance and generously giving so much time and effort. Thank you also for having faith in the process. Working with tCA was easy and a pleasure.
2014-03-30T08:23:37+00:00
jono
Totally awesome working with you guys. Thanks for your patience, commitment, considered and constructive guidance and generously giving so much time and effort. Thank you also for having faith in the process. Working with tCA was easy and a pleasure.
Jack Bertolus

Jack Bertolus, Market Forces

The Community Organising Fellowship introduced a plethora of new and exciting concepts in campaigning and community organising, and gave us the practice and tools to apply these effectively. The time spent learning with and from the talented and experienced cohort was an invaluable insight into Australian social movements and established what I’m sure will be lifelong connections.
2017-11-12T18:54:18+00:00
Jack Bertolus
The Community Organising Fellowship introduced a plethora of new and exciting concepts in campaigning and community organising, and gave us the practice and tools to apply these effectively. The time spent learning with and from the talented and experienced cohort was an invaluable insight into Australian social movements and established what I’m sure will be...
Naomi Hodgson

Naomi Hodgson, community organiser, NW NSW

I can emphatically endorse the value of this time to build skills and awareness in strategic thinking and in specific and practical community organising tools. I am sure that with concerted application of the course content I will become a significantly more confident and effective organiser. Furthermore, the value of the relationships that have been forged among the cohort offer great potential for future collaboration and support to help build a more coordinated, cooperative and powerful environment movement in Australia.
2015-03-17T20:49:16+00:00
Naomi Hodgson
I can emphatically endorse the value of this time to build skills and awareness in strategic thinking and in specific and practical community organising tools. I am sure that with concerted application of the course content I will become a significantly more confident and effective organiser. Furthermore, the value of the relationships that have been...
quitcoal

Peter Callender, Quit Coal



Like many campaigning groups, we are constantly grappling with capacity issues, a lack of funding/resources, burnout and how to best manage volunteers. While it's early days, the fellowship is already having significant flow on effects to the rest of the Quit Coal collective and the lessons we are learning are both effective and reinvigorating!


2014-04-16T22:34:36+00:00
quitcoal
Like many campaigning groups, we are constantly grappling with capacity issues, a lack of funding/resources, burnout and how to best manage volunteers. While it’s early days, the fellowship is already having significant flow on effects to the rest of the Quit Coal collective and the lessons we are learning are both effective and reinvigorating!
nka

Josey Sharrad, International Fund for Animal Welfare

The Change Agency facilitated our two day intensive strategy workshop to bring together animal welfare and rescue groups from across Australia to set up a National Koala Alliance. James and Taya's facilitation of the workshop was absolutely brilliant and everyone came away with renewed enthusiasm and determination. James' extensive campaigning experience and strategic thinking provided invaluable guidance to this newly- formed alliance and we will continue to tap into his wealth of strategic advice as we go forward to protect koalas. Thank you!

2014-08-18T14:37:24+00:00
nka
The Change Agency facilitated our two day intensive strategy workshop to bring together animal welfare and rescue groups from across Australia to set up a National Koala Alliance. James and Taya’s facilitation of the workshop was absolutely brilliant and everyone came away with renewed enthusiasm and determination. James’ extensive campaigning experience and strategic thinking provided invaluable...