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Occupy Strategy - A Review by Mark Weaver

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Occupy Strategy written by Michael Albert, Jessica Azulay and David marty is the concluding volume in the Fanfare For the Future trilogy. The previous two volumes Occupy Theory and Occupy Vision build the intellectual framework and foundation for Occupy Strategy but the book remains perfectly accessible on its own. It is a book about building effective social movements. It is about understanding the central issues faced by people in social movements and it is about skillfully overcoming the strategic challenges that lie ahead.

The book covers a lot of ground beginning with the basic importance of strategy. The authors lay out their principles of strategic thinking when applied to building effective social movements. The authors explicitly state their firm commitment to “winning a better society”. Their analysis is geared towards nothing less than achieving victory.

The book then proceeds on a thorough and well written exploration of practical strategic issues facing those with the same commitments. This section of the book is literally a gold mine of insights into some of the most important and often most difficult issues of movement building. The authors examine a movement’s need for outreach laying out in detail what outreach is, why it matters and what it entails. The book goes on to examine “The Stickiness Problem” or a movement’s ability to build on the commitment and capability of its existing members. The authors deal skillfully with issues of difference and sectarianism within movements. This section provides clear in depth analysis helping the reader to understand these problems and begin to form strategies to tackle them from the roots.

As the book proceeds the authors cover a large range of issues such as classism within movements, the question of violence, the debate between reformists and revolutionaries, issues of power, dealing with failures, and victories, developing the right mind set. The authors examine each issue rigorously and present their ideas in plain easy to follow language. The book is also laid out in reasonably short chunks giving the reader time to pause and reflect on each point. The layout does not however compromise the depth of the analysis. The book concludes with a broader overview of some of the strategic ideologies of the past and present. It examines them in detail and allows the reader to compare and critique them.

Occupy Strategy is an empowering and motivating read. It provides a wealth of ideas and analysis that left this reviewer feeling extremely satisfied.  It is highly recommended for anyone engaged in building movements for radical social change.

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