Social Movements/Social Change
The Politics and Practice of Organizing - Socialist Studies 4

Cunningham, Frank; Findlay, Sue; Kadar, Marlene,
Publisher:  Between the Lines, Toronto, Canada
Year Published:  1988
Pages:  272pp   Price:  $16.95   ISBN:  0-86571-131-3
Library of Congress Number:  HN107.S63   Dewey:  303.4'84'0971
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX3493

This collection of essays covers movements related to labour, ecology, childcare, peace, disability, gay rights, and access to abortion.

Social Movements/Social Change is the fourth volume in the Socialist Studies series, published by Between the Lines in association with the Society for Socialist Studies. The volume's theme is "new social movements". The articles cover a wide range, in topic, quality, and readability. Each describes a particular group or movement, offering both a brief history and an analysis of the dynamics of the organizing involved.

The topics covered include an effort to build a labour-ecological coalition in the Windsor/Detroit area; the politics of coalition in Solidarite Populaire Quebec, an organization which links trade unions and other popular groups; the Ontario movement for childcare, with its slogan "kids are not for profit"; and attempts to build an effective peace movement in Canada. Other articles look at the Coalition of Visible Minority women, the magazine Kick It Over, the bath raids and gay politics, and organizing for International Women's Day.

The strength of the articles lies partly in the fact that they are written by people who have been actively involved in the issues described, but this is simultaneously a source of weakness, in that few of the articles achieve any critical distance. The collection would also be stronger if so many of the articles were not based on experiences in Ontario, and especially Toronto.

Some of the writers have a tendency to adopt a lifeless academic tone; one of the best articles, on the bath raids and the right to privacy committee, incorporates responses from three activists other than the writer, making it more of a discussion with more than one point of view.

The strength of this volume, which makes it a useful resource for people working for social change, is that it does get down and looks at the actual experiences of people on the activist front lines.

[Abstract by Ulli Diemer]

Table of Contents


1. The politics of transformation: Struggles with race, class and sexuality in the March 8th Coalition
2. Labour, ecology, and the politics of convergence
3. Coalition politics: the Quebec Labour Movement
4. Organizing the marginalized: The DisAbled Women's Network
5. "Kids are not for profit": the politics of childcare
6. marching for women's lives: the campaign for free-standing abortion clinics in Ontario
7. The Coalition of Visible Minority Women
8. The Bath raids and gay politics
9. Building an effective peace movement: one perspective
10. The rise and demise of the Parent Movement in Toronto
11. Kick it over: the evolution of a Journal
12. Self-help and social change


Subject Headings

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