This book. Oh man, this book.
am expecting this book to come in the mail by saturday. I’ve heard only good things.
If only I’d read this about a year ago when I was accosted by an environmentalist for claiming that we’ll be needing much more than ‘autonomous rooftop gardens’ to address world hunger and agricultural waste.
If you live in/around NYC, be sure to check out this awesome conference, which will be addressing the questions up against which the environmental movement is running. Panel discussions include: indigenous rights and the environment, race gender and environmental justice, market reforms, and more. Speakers include Joel Kovel (whose book The Enemy of Nature I’m currently reading and is excellent), Chris Williams, Jill Stein, and activists who’ve been doing a load of this kind of work for a very long time.
(uploaded six years ago)
decline of the NAACP - bureaucratic v. mass-oriented tactics
“Tactics of bureaucratic protest organizations are not usually designed to accommodate mass grassroots insurgency and the attendant uncertainty and experimentation. The external environment - consisting of other status quo-oriented bureaucratic organizations such as courts and the media - forces the bureaucratic protest organization to formalize and stabilize its behavior. Organizational officials avoid uncertainty and seek a semblance of order and predictability so that they can smoothly and successfully pursue such goals as financial support, power, influence, and status.”
Aldon D Morris’ chapter on the decline of the NAACP in his Origins of the Civil Rights Movement.
Speaks to the importance of maintaining rigorous internal democracy and tactical flexibility within any ‘fighting machine.’ If these two dynamics are forgone, external pressures (as per the NAACP in the 1950s, when southern state legislatures designed to outlaw and redbait the org) become heightened threats, even during periods of success; the organization - by this time - had won numerous legal victories, recruiting waves of newer members.
The downfall of the NAACP came at a time in which its internal structures were strong and quite extensive. What became the ‘nail in the coffin’ of white-ruling class reaction was a strong internal weakness in the NAACP’s strategic orientation - which was legal, and formalistic. The victories of the Baton Rouge, Montgomery, and Tallahassee bus boycots, and the tactical inability of the NAACP to forefront these kinds of movements, was the organization’s pitfall.