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 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+11:00
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.

Glenn Walker, National Campaigner, The Wilderness Society

The Wilderness Society has embarked on a major organisational change project to embrace community organising as our core way of doing business. I’m leading on this project. The Community Organising Fellowship has helped me to define the key principles and approaches of community organising and has provided me with the space and support to plan for this critical change process within my organisation.
2014-03-27T02:09:18+11:00
The Wilderness Society has embarked on a major organisational change project to embrace community organising as our core way of doing business. I’m leading on this project. The Community Organising Fellowship has helped me to define the key principles and approaches of community organising and has provided me with the space and support to plan for this critical change process within my organisation.
John Edye

John Edye, March 2017

James and Fee... Thank you for your inspiring leadership, commitment and engagement. You are epic facilitators, and the first workshop was one of the best training experiences I have ever attended. I feel very privileged to be a participant and am looking forward to the next three. Experiencing such a high level of training and working with so many young, intelligent and professional organisers left me feeling a bit overwhelmed by my lack of experience but very optimistic about the future challenges we face, instead of the rather bleak and jaundiced view I came with. Thank you for your compassion and thoughtfulness and the incredible resources that were on our seats on the first day. It was and will be an incredible learning experience.
2017-03-28T12:18:24+11:00
John Edye
James and Fee... Thank you for your inspiring leadership, commitment and engagement. You are epic facilitators, and the first workshop was one of the best training experiences I have ever attended. I feel very privileged to be a participant and am looking forward to the next three. Experiencing such a high level of training and working with so many young, intelligent and professional organisers left me feeling a bit overwhelmed by my lack of experience but very optimistic about the future challenges we face, instead of the rather bleak and jaundiced view I came with. Thank you for your compassion and thoughtfulness and the incredible resources that were on our seats on the first day. It was and will be an incredible learning experience.

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+11:00
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. 

Claire Van Herpen, Environment Victoria

The Community Organising fellowship provides a positive and nurturing environment in which to learn and apply the practical skills required to effectively mobilise communities to create change. It's a great opportunity to learn from others in the environmental movement and provides space for collaboration and reflection.
2015-03-17T19:26:27+11:00
The Community Organising fellowship provides a positive and nurturing environment in which to learn and apply the practical skills required to effectively mobilise communities to create change. It's a great opportunity to learn from others in the environmental movement and provides space for collaboration and reflection.
John Hepburn

John Hepburn, Outreach Manager, Greenpeace Australia Pacific

When you stop learning, you stop growing. For social movements and organisations to grow and develop, they need to learn from their successes and failures. The Change Agency have played a key role in helping Greenpeace to do this, to reflect on our work, to focus on what is effective, and to map out some exciting new strategic directions. They've supported our staff and volunteers with some great practical training on campaign strategy, and, of course, they've been a joy to work with.
2014-03-30T07:35:05+11:00
John Hepburn
When you stop learning, you stop growing. For social movements and organisations to grow and develop, they need to learn from their successes and failures. The Change Agency have played a key role in helping Greenpeace to do this, to reflect on our work, to focus on what is effective, and to map out some exciting new strategic directions. They've supported our staff and volunteers with some great practical training on campaign strategy, and, of course, they've been a joy to work with.

Josh Creaser, Frontline Projects Coordinator, 350.org

Most campaigners would probably shudder at the thought of spending ten whole days away from the frantic world of actions and meetings, to invest time in their own reflection and learning. The Community Organising Fellowship forces you to do just that – and what a gift and opportunity that time becomes.

 The Fellowship is a unique combination of ingredients. Time for pause and reflection. Discussion with leading thinkers. Connections to a wide array of campaigns. Guidance from experienced and caring facilitators. Bonds formed with 25 inspiring campaigners from across the country.

 These ingredients are brought together with carefully crafted methods. Thought-provoking stories. Challenging questions. Developing crucial skills. Applying new methods and tools. Preparing new plans for real world projects. 

 The result? Ten days that couldn’t have been better spent for someone that is looking to challenge their assumptions, deepen their understanding of why we organise in communities and feel ready to go forward with greater focus and vigour in their work.
2015-03-17T20:56:37+11:00
Most campaigners would probably shudder at the thought of spending ten whole days away from the frantic world of actions and meetings, to invest time in their own reflection and learning. The Community Organising Fellowship forces you to do just that – and what a gift and opportunity that time becomes.  The Fellowship is a unique combination of ingredients. Time for pause and reflection. Discussion with leading thinkers. Connections to a wide array of campaigns. Guidance from experienced and caring facilitators. Bonds formed with 25 inspiring campaigners from across the country.  These ingredients are brought together with carefully crafted methods. Thought-provoking stories. Challenging questions. Developing crucial skills. Applying new methods and tools. Preparing new plans for real world projects.   The result? Ten days that couldn’t have been better spent for someone that is looking to challenge their assumptions, deepen their understanding of why we organise in communities and feel ready to go forward with greater focus and vigour in their work.
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+10:00
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.
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+10:00
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 community organising. It has connected me with a mob who are passionate, connected and willing to help out in whatever way they can. Thanks!
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+10:00
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 the climate movement in Australia.