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Bridging the Class Divide: And Other Lessons for Grassroots Organizing
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Bridging the Class Divide: And Other Lessons for Grassroots Organizing

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  95 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Again and again social change movements--on matter s from the environment to women's rights--have been run by middle-class leaders. But in order to make real progress toward economic and social change, poor people--those most affected by social problems--must be the ones to speak up and lead.

It can be done. Linda Stout herself grew up in poverty in rural North Carolina and
Paperback, 216 pages
Published February 28th 1997 by Beacon Press
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Polly Trout
Apr 17, 2008 Polly Trout rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone!
Recommended to Polly by: Laura Pierce
This book crashed through my brain like a herd of angry elephants. Evangelical Christians sometimes use the word "convicted" to mean "all of a sudden I realized that I've been totally wrong and a complete asshole about this subject, and cleaning that shit up is long overdue." This book convicted me. Stout grew up extremely poor in North Carolina, and the book is a memoir of how she developed into an internationally recognized social justice leader. It is also a scathing indictment of the ways in ...more
If I had read this book when I was 18, I think it would have changed my life and saved me a lot of grief. Now, having come to many similar conclusions slowly (and sometimes painfully) through my own experiences, I can't recommend it enough. (In fact, I mailed multiple copies to friends when I was only a couple chapters in.) Whether someone grew up poor, rich, or in between, I think this book will offer incredible insights into how our class positions help form us and set our expectations of ours ...more
This book is very important for all community activists and organizers, particularly privileged ones working as allies. Much of the book is a memoir that serves to counteract a lot of bullshit and attest to the power of people who are directly affected by oppression. Linda Stout is an authority on community building and organizing, and teaches us the lesson of never sacrificing democratic and participatory ideals in the process: “I don't believe we can win the change we want without first buildi ...more
Stephen Hicks
It wasn't necessarily a bad book, but I did find myself constantly pushing past her political viewpoints. Overall, Ms. Stout had very good practical ideas and concerns when organizing social change movements within a local context. She had a very good distinction between providing Social Change and providing Social Services. Her and I had very similar interests yet radically different approaches.
This book is fabulous. I'm not even a third of the way through and I can feel the wisdom and clarity just seeping through these pages. I was looking for model white people native to the south to counteract the image that change in the south was always caused by outsiders: abolitionists, carpetbaggers, white northern college students, etc. Of course there are many, but they are never talked about, never praised. Linda Stout is one shining example of one such person. Her narrative also counteracts ...more
Jun 22, 2007 Kevin is currently reading it
On the cover, it looks like a stuffy sociological theory or public policy tree-waster, but once you open it and realize that the author is simply telling you her story as a working class person who has dedicated her life to creating the world of our dreams--a world of shalom--it is really hard to put it down. What's more, she writes not in "standard" middle class academic english, but rather in her own Working Class Piedmont voice, which is really accessible and exciting. I'd recommend this book ...more
Glen Gersmehl
outstanding exploration of social change from an all-too-infrequently seen perspective, class
Brittany Anne
Linda Stout's models of organizing are based in shared leadership and combatting sexism, racism, and classicism. Though this book is nearly twenty years old, I think its lessons and tools are still important today and hope to use them in my own organizing work.
In terms of understanding economic oppression, this book popped my brain out about 20 yards. A friend of mine is friends with Linda Stout, the author, and she told me about her and about this book, so off I went to get it. It's a book I've bought for others. I'd like to get Linda Stout and Dorothy Allison together and be a fly on the wall...
Can't recommend this enough. One question the book raised for me and doesn't really address is education: what is its role in this context? If you're interested in that question (because you're a teacher, perhaps), "Finding Freedom" is an excellent sequel (not literally, of course).
Oct 11, 2007 Jesse rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people. advocates.
I read this book in grad school. It's very straightforward and written from personal experience in organizing and from the heart. I definitely look back on it during most of my work - it's an important book to look into when thinking about class privilege and organizing.
A lot of valuable information about how class affects our organizing, and tips about ways to address this. More to come later.
Fantastically authentic, grounded, and humbling.

In the world of social movements, Linda Stout is someone I can believe in.
Jun 14, 2007 sawyer marked it as shelved-unfinished
very good insights. no particular reason i haven't finished it!
Christine marked it as to-read
Jul 09, 2015
Rosie O'Neil Donnellon
Rosie O'Neil Donnellon marked it as to-read
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Mar 26, 2015
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