Resource Manual for A Living Revolution
A Handbook of Skills & Tools for Social Change Activists

Coover, Virginia, Deacon, Ellen, Esser, Charles, Moore, Christopher
Publisher:  New Society Publishers
Year Published:  1985   First Published:  1977
Pages:  329pp   ISBN:  0-86571-056-2
Book Type:  Handbooks/Manuals

Dewey:  323.4
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX3557

A manual for people who are concerned or angered by the deterioration of our society and who, because they have some sense that their efforts can have an effect on change, are looking for tools to transform it. It is a working reference for those who are prepared to act to create a better life for themselves and others.

Abstract:  The Resource Manual is a guide to creating a new society community by community. It is based on the ideas of the Philadelphia Life Centre, where activists banded together to create a living space that focused on social change. The Movement for a New Society stemmed from this community, and aims to teach new social skills that break the roles and hierarchy of society to reach a new level of equality. Various training programs have been developed to improve personal relationships and interaction with groups, and to reform the system of governance. The idea is to start with personal growth and change the individual's perspective. Social change will follow.

The guide is extensive and includes many exercises for the growth of individuals, groups and organizations. It begins with a theoretical theory for social change and explores the history of social movements. The section on working with groups includes the subheadings, "Group Dynamics", "Facilitation of Meetings", "Special Tools", and "Conflict Resolution". Developing Communities of Support is a section on how to establish and maintain such a living space, and Organizing for a Change discusses how to use these communities groups to bring about social change. There are also sections entitled Personal Growth, Consciousness Raising, and Training and Education. The book includes many references for further reading and skill-building exercises.

An alternative way of living is possible with this manual. Human needs can be met without exhausting natural resources. Communities can flourish without leadership in the form of a hierarchy. This guide seeks to educate those who want to change the world we live in with the techniques that are in use by successful activists.

[Abstract by Mia Manns]

Table of Contents


Part One: The Theoretical Basis for Change
I. Developing a Theory
Aspects of a Theory of Change
How to Develop a Theory for Change
Write Down Your Own Theory of Change
Investigate an Actual Project or Campaign
Read About Existing Theories
Uniting Theory and Practice
Investigating Non-violence as a Theory for Action

II. Studying Case Histories
Suggestions for Studying Case Histories
Bibliography on Case Studies of Actions and Campaigns
General Reading on Nonviolent Actions
Gandhian Nonviolent Actions
Civil Rights Movement - Black Struggle for Freedom in the U.S.
Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955-56)
Birmingham, Alabama (1963)
Additional Readings
Quakers in Colonial Pennsylvania (1681-1756)
Women's Movement
Labor Movement
Latin America
Norwegian Resistance against the German Occupation (1940-45)
Czechoslovakia (1968)
Danilo Dolci's Direct Action in Sicily (1952-present)
Recent U.S. Actions

III. Analysis of the Political Economy
Developing an Analysis: The Basic Process

IV. Visions for a New Society
V. Planning a Strategy
Structural Change vs. Social Improvement
Tools to Develop, Test and Re-evaluate a Strategy
A Strategy for a Living Revolution

VI. Macro-Analysis Seminars
VII. Selected Bibliography
General Resources on Analysis, Vision, and Strategy
Analysis: Ecology
Analysis: U.S. Relations with the Third World
Analysis: U.S. Domestic Problems
Visions of a Better Society

Part Two: Working in Groups
I. Group Dynamics
Some General Characteristics of Groups
Task and Maintenance Functions
Decision Making
Consensus Decision Making and Why We Prefer It
Exercises and Games for Learning about Group Dynamics
Fishbowl Exercise
The Graveyard Exercise
Elephant Game
Tinkertoy Dog Game

II. Facilitation of Meetings
What Is a Facilitator?
Selecting a Facilitator
Preparation for Meetings
Tips on Agenda Formation
Facilitating the Meeting - Beginning to End
Facilitating Group Maintenance
General Suggestions for Facilitation
Facilitation When Consensus Is Sought
Problems that Commonly Arise in Groups
Tools Frequently Used at Meetings
Introduction Tools
Excitement Sharing
Agenda Formation in the Whole Group
Time Limits
Taking Notes
Breaking into Small Groups
Attention Expanders
Brief Evaluation of a Meeting

III. Special Tools
Decision-making Tools
Determine Goals and Expectations
Small Group to Large Group Consensus
Discussion Format for Distressing Topics
Method for Decision Making and Development of a Program
Finding the Least Common Denominator
Tools for Better Listening
Structured Speaking
Variation # 1
Variation # 2
Variation # 3
Participation Equalizers
Matchstick Discussion
Conch Shell Discussion
Timed Report or Presentation
Priority Setting Tools
Straw Vote
Identification and Ranking of Individual, Small Group, and Whole Group Goals and Priorities
Most Disappointing

IV. Conflict Resolution
Processes for Conflict Clarification and Resolution
Clarification of Conflicts Preventing Consensus
Decision-making Method Proposed for Use by the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities
"No-lose" Problem Solving Process
Active Listening
Using Conflict Resolution in the Neighbourhood
An anecdote

V. Bibliographies
Working in Groups
Conflict Resolution and Crisis Intervention
Nonviolent (Civilian) National Defence

Part Three: Developing Communities of Support
I. Maintaining Community
Multi-dimensional Sharing
An Economic Base
Transfer of Skills and Information Within the Community
The Role of Affirmation in Building Communities of Support
Affirmation Exercises for groups
Commitment to the Group
II. Encouraging Interaction
Community-building Structures
Community-building Exercises
Sharing Personal Growth Experiences
Group Conversation
Community-building Games
Build a Machine
Group Pantomime

Part Four: Personal Growth
I. Personal Disciplines
Evaluating Disciplines
Re-evaluation Counselling
Relevance to Social Change
Diet, Exercise, Cleanliness and Order
II. Making Personal Decisions
Preparing Yourself to Think Clearly
Think and Listen
Setting Goals
Recording Decisions
Review of Priorities and Follow-through
Self-estimation Session
Variation: Warm Fuzzy
Using the Clearness Process
III. Bibliography

Part Five: Consciousness Raising
Exploring Your World
The Consciousness-raising Group
Consciousness-raising Exercises
Statements Exercises
Risk List
Life Line
Ice House Exercise
Whole Person Exercise
The Educational Theory of Paulo Freire and Its Importance for Raising Consciousness
Some Important Points from Freire's Educational Theory
Banking/Anti-dialogue Form of Education
Problem Posing/Dialogic Education
Discovering People's Themes
The Process Step-By-Step
Example of the Application of Freire's Theory
Bibliography of Freire and Freire-related Resources

Part Six: Training and Education
I. Why Is Training Important?
II. Training: Its Basis, Its Uses
Basis of Our Training Process
Content Areas Around Which Training Has Been Used
The Responsibilities of Trainers and Participants
Using Training Resources
Suggestions for Use of Training Resources
Steps for Choosing Tools or Designing New Ones
III. Workshops
Constructing a Training Workshop
Planning the First Session
Possible Agenda for the First Session
Presenting Proposals to the Group
Planning Later Sessions
Designing Sessions Within a Workshop
Contracting with the Group
Use of Facilitation Tools
Energy Levels
Trust Level
Transition between Sessions and Topics
Physical/Material Needs
End of Sessions/Workshops
Sample Workshops
Facilitation and Democratic Decision-making Workshop
Conflict Resolution Workshop
Marshal Training Workshop
Nonviolent Direct Action and Campaign Building Workshop
Group Dynamics Workshop
Consciousness-raising Workshop
IV. Training in the Schools
Why Offer Courses and Workshops on Nonviolent Social Change?
How Training for Nonviolent Social Change Differs from Most Peace and Conflict Studies Courses
Course Design A: The Problem Posing/Dialogic Approach
Course Design B: The Issue/Project Approach
Working with Young People: Preschools, Grade Schools, Teachers and Parents
How to get a Course or Workshop into a School
Organizing from Outside
Organizing from Inside
Schools that have Sponsored Courses or Workshops in Nonviolent Social Change
V. Resources
Books and Pamphlets
Film Sources
Groups to Contact for Assistance in Training

Part Seven: Organizing for Change
I. Getting Started
Choosing a Focus
Developing Group Discipline and Skills
Criteria for Selecting a Program for Change
Choosing Tactics
II. Building Organization Strengths
The Organizational Framework
The Small Group
Action Collective
Working Collective
Organizers Support Collective
The Life Centre
The Network
The Constructive Program: Building Alternatives
The Constructive Program
The Alternative Institution
The Community Land Trust
Business and Repair Services
Training and Education
Care of Emotional and Physical Health
Neighbourhood Safety Program
Maintaining the Constructive Program
The Direct Action Campaign
Preparation for Direct Action
Direct Action
Protracted Struggle
III. Examples of Organizing for Change
Blockading United States Military Support of Pakistan
Blockading for Bangladesh
Organizing a Neighbourhood for Safety
The Problem
Purposes of the Program
Component Parts
A Loose Association of Neighbouring Blocks
Conducting the Meeting
Community Workshops
Street Distress Alert System
Neighbourhood Walk
IV. Bibliographies
Strategy and Organizing for Nonviolent Social Change
Constructive Programs

Part Eight: Exercises and Other Tools
I. Analysis, Theory, and Vision
Violence/Nonviolence Social Good Chart
Web Chart
Variation #1
Scenario Writing
Vision Gallery
Visionary Personal Preferences
II. Preparation for Action
Inventory of Skills for the Organizer/Trainer/Participant
Force Field Analysis
Quick Decision
Decision-making Structure
Nonviolent and Violent Revolution
Developing Strategies
Strategy Game
Simulation Games
Combining a Case Study with Strategy Game
Vision to Project
Flow Chart
Time Line
Situation Analysis
Variation #1
Variation #2
Variation #3
Variation #4
Variation #5
III. Action
Observation of an Event
Radical Street Theater
Street Speaking
Dilemma Demonstration
Conducting a Vigil
IV. Evaluation
Purposes of Evaluation
Guidelines for Evaluations
Components of an Evaluation
Problems and Cautions
Specific Structures and Techniques
Oral Evaluation
Written Evaluation
An Evaluation Committee

Part Nine: Practical Skills
Basic First Aid and Medical Care
Repair and Maintenance of House or Project Headquarters
Researching Communities and Institutions
Fund Raising
The Personal Appeal
The Funding Proposal
Tax Exemption
Cooking for Large Groups
Food Planning and Preparation
Sharing the Cooking and Clean Up
Bibliography of Recipes and Information
Keeping Track of Information within the Group
A Project Notebook
Information Storage and Retrieval in the Office
Simple Financial Records
Collective Office Work
How to Locate Allies
Letters to the Editor, Visits with Public Officials
Police, Courts, and Prisons
Mass Communication
Making Signs for Demonstrations
Working with the Mass Media when Undertaking an Action
Writing a Press Release
Holding a Press Conference

List of exercises and tools described in the manual

Subject Headings

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