Welcome!! My name is Paul Lappen. I am in my early 50s, single, and live in Connecticut USA. This blog will consist of book reviews, written by me, on a wide variety of subjects. I specialize, as much as possible, in small press and self-published books, to give them whatever tiny bit of publicity help that I can. Other than that, I am willing to review nearly any genre, except poetry, romance, elementary-school children's books and (really bloody) horror.

I have another 800 reviews at my archive blog: http://www.deadtreesreviewarchive.blogspot.com (please visit).

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Friday, April 1, 2011

The Progressive's Guide to Raising Hell

The Progressive's Guide to Raising Hell, Jamie Court, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2010

Hope and change are all well and good in present-day politics, but the time has come for some old-fashioned anger in order to get things done. This book gives the details.

The author advocates that activists focus their attention on state-wide issues. Half the states allow citizen groups to put ballot initiatives on the state wide ballot. Visit your state's Secretary of the State to see if you live in one of those states. If you do, then go for it.

As an example, say that your proposed ballot initiative deals with the subject of health care. Exposing new information about your opponents, information that conflicts with their public image, shows how out of touch with public opinion they really are. Don't be afraid to confront your opponents. Eventually, they will make a mistake, even if it is just saying something dumb in public. Use that mistake to shame your opponents, and make that mistake the issue. If they don't adopt your ideas, keep forcing mistakes until they do concede. Last, but not least, don't let go.

The author, a veteran consumer activist, gives a number of other rules to consider in any campaign. Don't try to change everyone's opinion; target the little things and a few people. Even small victories are still victories. Keep your moral sentiments short, and to the point. Fight even if you can't win today, and someday you may win without fighting. Put people first; keep it human. Make it personal for decision makers. When the time comes, when your opponents make a mistake, seize the moment and have the goods. The bigger and more important an opponent is, the more afraid they are of falling. Use that fear to gain a win without combat. Some people, and some organizations, think that it is preferable to have a "seat at the table." The author asserts that it is more important to have a rock to throw through the window.

This book is full of real-life examples from the author's ballot campaigns in California. It is very highly recommended, especially if live in a ballot-friendly state. For those who don't live in such a state, it is full of ideas for any state-wide campaign, and is still well worth reading.

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