Creative Community Organizing

A Guide for Rabble-Rousers, Activists, and Quiet Lovers of Justice

BooksSi’s latest work is a different kind of community organizing book. As with other books, including some by Kahn himself, it does describe many of the practical tactics organizers use. But it’s also about community organizing as a way of thinking and a way of life.

For Kahn, it has been a way of life. He has been intimately involved in some of the most important progressive struggles of the past fifty years – the civil rights movement, the Harlan County miners’ strike, the fight against prison privatization, and many more. In this unique and moving book he uses his experiences and those of the women and men he’s worked with to illuminate critical aspects of organizing not touched upon by more conventional manuals.

The stories Kahn tells are entertaining, funny, sad, and inspiring, but they’re more than that – they’re examples of creative community organizing in action. And like the secular rabbi he calls himself, Kahn lays out the specific lessons each tale is meant to teach – not only strategy and tactics, but advice on how to deal on a personal level with the demands of a difficult but vitally important job. Creative Community Organizing will help established organizers become more innovative and encourage them to question established principles and decide whether or not they still work. Aspiring organizers will discover a whole new way of looking at the world – they’ll gain a sense of empowerment, understand that they can live and work in ways that help make the world more just and humane.


Foreword by Jim Hightower
Foreword by Angela Davis
1. United the Divided, Divide the United
2. If You Don’t Fight, You Lose Every Time
3. Check Your Stereotypes at the Door
4. Don’t Just Study History — Make it
5. Recognize Risks
6. Lift Every Voice
7. Strengthen the Story
8. Start at the Finish Line
9. Be For, Not Just Against
10. Find the Glue
11. Learn Your Limits
12. Expect the Impossible
13. Know When to Raise the Stakes
14. Keep the Faith
Conclusion: Pull Your Shift
Creative Community Organizing’s Top 20
About the Author