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Jeremy Brecher

 

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Jeremy Brecher is the author of more than a dozen books on labor and social movements including Strike!, Brass Valley, History from Below, Building Bridges, Global Village or Global Pillage, and Globalization from Below. He was Humanities Scholar-in-Residence at Connecticut Public Television and Radio and received five regional Emmy Awards for his documentary film work. He helped found and currently works with the Labor Network for Sustainability. He holds a Ph.D. from the Union Graduate School.

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Against Doom: A Climate Insurgency Manual
Author: Jeremy Brecher
Publisher: PM Press
ISBN: 978-1-62963-385-5
Published: 04/2017
Format: Paperback
Size: 8x5
Page count: 128 pages
Subjects: Political Activism/Climate Change
$12.95

Before the election of Donald Trump the world was already speeding toward climate catastrophe. Now President Trump has jammed his foot on the global warming accelerator. Is there any way for the rest of us to put on the brakes?

Climate insurgency is a strategy for using people power to realize our common interest in protecting the climate. It uses mass, global, nonviolent action to challenge the legitimacy of public and corporate officials who are perpetrating climate destruction.

A global climate insurgency has already begun. It has the potential to halt and roll back Trump’s fossil fuel agenda and the global thrust toward climate destruction.

Against Doom: A Climate Insurgency Manual  tells how to put that strategy into action—and how it can succeed. It is a handbook for halting global warming and restoring our climate—a how-to for climate insurgents.

Praise:

Against Doom lays out key elements of a far-reaching, global-scaled, pragmatic, people-powered strategy to topple the power of the fossil fuel industry and the institutions behind it.” —David Solnit, author of Globalize Liberation: How to Uproot the System and Build a Better World

“In Against Doom, Brecher has provided the climate movement with two essential tools: a moral framework for the struggle against fossil fuels, and an actual plan for victory. By blending sober social movement analysis with the fire of grassroots activism, this book shows that there is a genuine, and winnable, case against the fossil fuel economy—a case to be argued in the streets as well as the courtroom. It's an essential volume for anyone committed to social change in the fight against climate change.” —Joseph Hamilton, Climate Defense Project

“Jeremy Brecher has managed to combine his passion for justice with the wisdom gleaned from decades of research, writing, and personal engagement in social movements and condense them into this short and accessible strategy document. Having benefited from his guidance on a variety of campaigns over the last twenty years, I look forward to collaborating with other organizers and activists in using this book as a blueprint for building a global climate insurgency.” —John Humphries, Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs

“A crisp, clear, and savvy synthesis of key concepts and ideas that will help the global climate justice movement to succeed. Brecher outlines many feasible climate solutions that should give all of us hope, despite the odds.” —Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate

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Strike!: Revised and Expanded
Author: Jeremy Brecher
Publisher: PM Press
ISBN: 978-1-60486-428-1
Published: 03/01/2014
Format: Paperback
Size: 9x6
Page count: 480 Pages
Subjects: History-US/Labor Studies
$24.95

Since its original publication in 1972, no book has done as much as Jeremy Brecher's Strike! to bring American labor history to a wide audience. Strike! narrates the dramatic story of repeated, massive, and sometimes violent revolts by ordinary working people in America. It tells this exciting hidden history from the point of view of the rank-and-file workers who lived it.

In this expanded edition, Jeremy Brecher brings the story up to date. Revised chapters covering the forty years since the original edition place the problems faced by working people today in the context of 140 years of labor history. A new chapter, "Beyond One-Sided Class War," presents the American mini-revolts of the twenty-first century, from the Battle of Seattle to Occupy Wall Street and beyond. Strike! is essential reading for anyone interested in the historical or present-day situations of American workers and serves as inspiration for organizers, activists, and educators working to revive the labor movement today.

Praise:

"An exciting history of American labor. Brings to life the flashpoints of labor history. Scholarly, genuinely stirring."
New York Times

"Splendid...clearly the best single-volume summary yet published of American general strikes."
Washington Post

“One of the most important books on labor history published since World War II.”
—Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States

"A magnificent book. I hope it will take its place as the standard history of American labor." 
—Staughton Lynd

“Brecher’s stories are interesting and exciting, his prose colorful, his quotes well chosen." 
Texas Observer

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Events

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Latest Blog Entries

  • CLIMATE STRATEGY WEBINARS
    CLIMATE STRATEGY WEBINARS:How Can We Realize the Paris Climate Protection Targets in the Trump Era? Climate Insurgency. Public Trust. Just Transition.
  • Strike!
    [Headnote: As rage and protest spread from Ferguson across the country, writer JoAnn Wypijewski was visiting  Martinsburg, West Virginia, where in 1877 a local conflict initiated a nationwide conflagration -- what became known as the "...

What Others Are Saying...



aginst Against Doom in 'Four new books for your ecosocialist bookshelf'
Green Left
September 1st, 2017


"Now that Trump has jammed his foot on the global warming accelerator, is there any way for the rest of us to put on the brakes? Climate insurgency is a strategy for using people power to realize our common interest in protecting the climate. It uses mass, global, nonviolent action to challenge the legitimacy of public and corporate officials who are perpetrating climate destruction."

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aginst Against Doom: A Review
By Steve Chase
Minds of the Movement
August 22nd, 201

"In the rest of the book, Brecher explains in clear ways just how civil resistance could be developed further and made a core strategy of an effective climate justice movement. In future posts, I hope to explore some of his most important strategic insights in greater detail. Right now, I just want to urge people to read this book!"

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aginst Against Doom: A Review
By Nick Kuzmack
NixBeat
July 18th 2017

In Against Doom, Brecher ties complex strategies for a just transition to a sustainable civilization that seeks broad cooperation from diverse organizations and groups. This book is a great read, alongside other works that dive deeper into the roots behind ecological injustice and climate change. Brecher stresses the importance of the responsibility of change at the feet of the people, not the government’s.

The ideas proposed emphasis a peaceful resistance against the fossil fuel industry. I wonder how long a peaceful resistance can hold out against the imposing super structure of the fossil fuel industry. That being said, Against Doom does not promise or outline an easy fix. Make no mistake, the odds stacked against doom are incredible. They are not, however, impossible to overcome. Brecher provides an analysis of growing awareness toward climate change and, in some cases, a willingness to act for a just future across the board.

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aginstSummer Reading— A Review of Against Doom
By Bennett Baumer
The Indypendent
July 11th, 2017

One clear and increasingly present danger to our architecture, socially engaged or not, is global climate change, which portends rising sea levels, more intense hurricanes and storms and an increase in extremely hot days. It is such an immense problem that it is tempting to throw your hands up and say we are all doomed. Take heart, climate activist Jeremy Brecher thinks that if humanity caused the problem then it can mitigate the worst damage. His Against Doom, A Climate Insurgency Manual is a hopeful plan of action to prevent a catastrophic climate bust. Brecher explores various pathways to challenge big fossil fuels’ grip on politics and the economy. In the wake of President Trump’s intent to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accords, it is incumbent on cities and states to enact their own plans. The key is building public pressure to enforce those plans in order to meet targeted emissions reductions.

There is hope and action everywhere. The valiant Keystone XL and Dakota pipeline resistance showed the emergence of diverse coalitions ready to take militant action to prevent deepening fossil fuel reliance. We are racing against the clock, so read Against Doom and take action now.

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aginst Against Doom: A Review
Donavan Literary Services
July 2017

Against Doom: A Climate Insurgency Manual creates a strategy for using mass, global, nonviolent action to challenge the business and political entities fostering climate destruction, pinpointing not only how to create such a strategy, but how to employ it.

The ultimate goal of stopping global warming and healing the planet may be idealistic, to some minds; but these instructions on insurgency approaches are anything but ethereal, considering the basics of building a social movement and a people-powered strategy designed to influence public policymakers.

The handbook may appear diminutive in size, but its message is important, as it shows how climate insurgency can change minds and influence all levels of business and government special interests. Against Doom should thus be in any political activist's collection as a strong key to addressing and changing public opinion for a wider global good and better effect.

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aginstClimate Activists Must Devise Global Strategy to Challenge Power of Fossil Fuel Industry
Between the Lines
July 5th, 2017

Between The Lines’ Melinda Tuhus spoke with Brecher about the climate emergency we find ourselves in, and the creative explosion of activism being organized to address it. Here, he discusses the importance of weaving together many strands of the climate movement – mass nonviolent direct action, freezing fossil fuel infrastructure, public trust, and just transition – into a global strategic framework.

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aginstToward a climate insurgency— A Review of Against Doom
By Jay O’Hara
Waging Nonviolence
May 16th, 2

While the path from sporadic grassroots rebellion to full blown insurgency is not spelled out in detail, Jeremy Brecher’s “Against Doom” is an invaluable strategy manual that provides a framework for all of us to reflect on our role in building a climate insurgency. With the values and principles he lays out, our diverse and experimental movement should be able to see our work connect to a larger project in a way that emboldens and strengthens. He has laid out the “what,” but left it to us to fill in the “how.” Let’s read it and get back to work.

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aginstAgainst Doom: A Review
By Geoff Willmetts
SFcrowsnest
April 19th, 2017

Jeremy Brecher’s book ‘Against Doom: A Climate Insurgence Manual’ is a short but important read. If you have any interest in climate change but needed current data in your hands or even to pass the book to others to read then this easily qualifies.

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strike!Strike! Revised and Expanded: A Review
By International Labor Communications Association

Published 45 years ago and re-released in 2014, Strike!is a seminal text in the canon of American labor history. "Strike! narrates the dramatic story of repeated, massive, and sometimes violent revolts by ordinary working people in America. It tells this exciting hidden history from the point of view of the rank-and-file workers who lived it."

In times like these, where labor is once again called to the front lines of struggle, Brecher's text serves not only as a work of history but a road map and a guide.

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strike!Strike! Revised and Expanded: A Review
By Dale Heckerman
The International Marxist-Humanist
May 28th, 2016

In the field of radical labor history, Jeremy Brecher’s Strike! is held in high esteem by fellow leftists and labor historians and is considered one of the standard go-to reference books for anyone aspiring to learn labor history. I agree that this book is a must-read source of information on labor’s struggles in the United States during the period from 1877 to today. I believe that Jeremy Brecher genuinely cares about the plight of the working class as he painstakingly details numerous labor actions over the past, nearly one-hundred-forty years of labor history. I learned a lot from this book and it would be very difficult to sum up all the various strikes and labor actions he covers. I recommend that everyone read it for the wealth of information and insight this book contains.

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strike!Strike! Revised and Expanded: A Review
By Mark Bergfeld
Marx & Philosophy
September 18th, 2015

Brecher details “the times of peak conflict” largely written out of the US history: the Great Upheaval in 1877, the strikes of 1886, the May Day massacre, the general strikes at the end of World War I and II, the Teamster strikes of 1934 and the rank and file rebellions of the 1960s and 70s. His narrative is exciting and accessible as his history focuses on the great battles, the general strikes, the armed confrontations, occupations and episodes which Rosa Luxemburg had labelled the “mass strike process” (Luxemburg n.d.). For this new edition, Brecher has re-written the final three chapters. Here he combines his insights on the state of the contemporary labour movement, how it has sought to renew itself through forming labour-community coalitions and worker centres, with a theoretical exegesis on Rosa Luxemburg’s “The Mass Strike” in times of the Occupy movement.

At its core, Brecher’s book is about the strength and fragility of working class power.

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strike!Strike! Revised and Expanded: A Review
By Diego Báez
Booklist
August 14th, 2014

Brecher’s riveting primer on modern American labor history catalogs U.S. workers’ movements from the railroad strikes and Great Upheaval of July 1877 to the mass demonstrations and Haymarket affair of 1886 to Great Depression protests and Vietnam-era revolt to Time’s declaration of “The Protester” as person of the year in 2011. Brecher dives inside the everyday struggles of rank-and-file workers and provides a thoroughly researched, alternative history rarely mentioned in textbooks or popular media. Each chapter contextualizes the wide array of tactics workers have employed to negotiate fair wages and humane working conditions since the nineteenth century, such as collective bargaining, organized protest, nonviolent resistance, and armed conflict. This edition (the first was published in 1972) includes additional chapters on the Battle of Seattle, which disrupted the 1999 meeting of the World Trade Organization, and Occupy Wall Street, which inspired demonstrations across the country. Not surprisingly, Brecher’s text has been updated and reissued numerous times because of its compelling narrative style and exhaustive documentation. An important compendium, to be read alongside the books of Howard Zinn, Naomi Klein, and Noam Chomsky.

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strike!Strike! Revised and Expanded: A Review
By David Swanson
warisacrime.org
May 15th, 2014

Jeremy Brecher has released a revised, expanded, and updated edition of his 40-year-old book, Strike, that includes the origins of these fast-food worker strikes and puts them in the context of a history of the strike in the United States dating back to 1877. This opening passage of Chapter 1 sets the context beautifully:

"In the centers of many American cities are positioned huge armories, grim nineteenth-century edifices of brick or stone. They are fortresses complete with massive walls and loopholes for guns. You may have wondered why they are there, but it has probably never occurred to you that they were built to protect America not against invasion from abroad but against popular revolt at home."

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