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?

isaac

Isaac Astill, Divestment Campaigner, 350.org Australia

It would take years of fumbling along for me to learn what the Fellowship has taught me in a few short months. I feel more powerful for it, and I’ve walked away with the ongoing skills and relationships I need to build a more powerful movement.
2015-03-17T19:37:41+00:00
isaac
It would take years of fumbling along for me to learn what the Fellowship has taught me in a few short months. I feel more powerful for it, and I’ve walked away with the ongoing skills and relationships I need to build a more powerful movement.
Jessica Kirby

Jess Kirby, GetUp! organiser

The Change Agency fellowship has been a completely transformative experience for all of us. I’ve met 22 of the most diverse, interesting organisers and campaigners in the country, and been trained by more than a dozen experts on everything from critical pathways, to the history of the environment movement in Australia, to NationBuilder best practice. I can’t recommend this program highly enough.  
2015-03-17T20:50:52+00:00
Jessica Kirby
The Change Agency fellowship has been a completely transformative experience for all of us. I’ve met 22 of the most diverse, interesting organisers and campaigners in the country, and been trained by more than a dozen experts on everything from critical pathways, to the history of the environment movement in Australia, to NationBuilder best practice....
alycia

Alycia Gawthorne, GetUp! organiser

The Fellowship has challenged the way I previously thought about campaigning and community organising, and made me rethink how I approach my work. It’s afforded me the space to take a step back and look at the entire movement. I feel like the skills I take away from the Fellowship will be invaluable, but far more important will be the deeper understanding I have about my role and how it fits within a larger movement.
2015-03-17T19:33:28+00:00
alycia
The Fellowship has challenged the way I previously thought about campaigning and community organising, and made me rethink how I approach my work. It’s afforded me the space to take a step back and look at the entire movement. I feel like the skills I take away from the Fellowship will be invaluable, but far...
Sophie Peer

Sophie Peer, ChilOut campaign director

The Change Agency is like a best friend in the drawer. As the only paid employee in a very small not for profit, it is fabulous to know there are trusted, well tested resources a click away. Whether it's workshop planning, strategic re-think, tactics - tCA is the chamomile tea to my campaigner-stress.
2014-05-16T14:31:59+00:00
Sophie Peer
The Change Agency is like a best friend in the drawer. As the only paid employee in a very small not for profit, it is fabulous to know there are trusted, well tested resources a click away. Whether it’s workshop planning, strategic re-think, tactics – tCA is the chamomile tea to my campaigner-stress.
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...
leigh

Leigh Ewbank, Yes2Renewables coordinator

Usually, organisers learn in the heat of battle – through trial and error, stress, and necessity. The Community Organising Fellowship has provided a rare opportunity to step off the campaign trail, slow down, and do some deep learning. The suite of tools explored in the program will influence my practice for years to come.

 By creating a ‘community of practice’ of organisers, those behind the fellowship have shown strategic leadership. The relationships the program has cultivated (within the cohort and between alumni) will pay dividends. 
2015-03-17T20:58:10+00:00
leigh
Usually, organisers learn in the heat of battle – through trial and error, stress, and necessity. The Community Organising Fellowship has provided a rare opportunity to step off the campaign trail, slow down, and do some deep learning. The suite of tools explored in the program will influence my practice for years to come.  By...
anna-keenan

Anna Keenan, Students of Sustainability Collective 2006

Thank you for your involvement in SoS this year and for your continued commitment over the years to effecting sustainable environmental and social change. Your co-facilitated presentations on activist learning, campaign strategy and activist sustainability were all very well received, generating discussion, excitement, considered thought and motivation from the participants, including myself. Not only was the content inspirational, but to see the way that the two of you work together and so effectively co-facilitate was a lesson in itself. At your “Moving beyond Tactic-Led Campaigns”, you so successfully engaged all in the room and drew from their experiences that it was the most effective workshop I attended through the whole conference. Your involvement in SoS 2005 has had a significant impact on the future of Australian environmentalism by sharing the tools of individual, collective, and community organising, and inspiring us to advocate for and take action towards positive social change.
2014-03-30T07:52:56+00:00
anna-keenan
Thank you for your involvement in SoS this year and for your continued commitment over the years to effecting sustainable environmental and social change. Your co-facilitated presentations on activist learning, campaign strategy and activist sustainability were all very well received, generating discussion, excitement, considered thought and motivation from the participants, including myself. Not only was...
Cate-Faehrmann

Cate Faehrmann, Director, Nature Conservation Council NSW, 2005

We did a two-day workshop with The Change Agency early this year which provided our organisation with some much-needed tools for strategic campaigning and planning. There was nothing but positive feedback from our staff and board members about what they gained from the two days spent with James and Sam. The power mapping exercise was particularly insightful for staff and board members alike and as a result our campaigns are more pro-active - we are seeing results!
2014-03-30T07:51:49+00:00
Cate-Faehrmann
We did a two-day workshop with The Change Agency early this year which provided our organisation with some much-needed tools for strategic campaigning and planning. There was nothing but positive feedback from our staff and board members about what they gained from the two days spent with James and Sam. The power mapping exercise was...
ben_fb

Ben Margetts, Australian Youth Climate Coalition 2007

I wanted to express how grateful I was for the experience to work with Sam and James. It was very special for me to interact with a part of social movements that I feel a lot of affinity with. I also think tCA shows a great example of 'best practice' in regard to organisational interactions. We at the AYCC have benefited immensely from working with you not just in your capacity as trainers, and the learning that was facilitated, but also with tCA as an organisation.
2014-03-30T07:33:22+00:00
ben_fb
I wanted to express how grateful I was for the experience to work with Sam and James. It was very special for me to interact with a part of social movements that I feel a lot of affinity with. I also think tCA shows a great example of ‘best practice’ in regard to organisational interactions....
alexandra

Alexandra Soderlund, Solar Citizens

The fellowship has managed to achieve that elusive duo of being both a broadening and deepening experience - complete with delicious food. Learning as much from the incredible and diverse participants as the amazing facilitators, the ten days of the first workshop have flown by. I feel like I’ve come a long way as an organiser (and dare I say a person?!) already, I’m excited and a little bit scared to see where I end up. 
2015-03-17T20:59:30+00:00
alexandra
The fellowship has managed to achieve that elusive duo of being both a broadening and deepening experience – complete with delicious food. Learning as much from the incredible and diverse participants as the amazing facilitators, the ten days of the first workshop have flown by. I feel like I’ve come a long way as an...