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Rules for Revolutionaries: How Big Organizing Can Change Everything
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Rules for Revolutionaries: How Big Organizing Can Change Everything

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  310 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
Paperback, 200 pages
Published November 14th 2016 by Chelsea Green Publishing Co
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Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really interesting book about organizing political campaigns. It's at times too nuts and bolty if you're not in the middle of a campaign now. It's also a bit condescending at times to anyone who wasn't woke enough to vote Sanders during the primary. But in all, it's useful and I think probably right about what it takes to win elections.
Patrick Justo
Jan 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Running through this book is a whiny jeremiad about why Bernie Sanders should have won because he had this great system of empowering volunteers so he should have won why didn't he win its not fair!

But if you can overcome that tone, the book really is a very good handbook about how you can set up a Bernie-like organization, in which volunteers are empowered to organize other volunteers into teams controlled from above, but working at a grass roots level.
Ruby Paustian
Oct 22, 2017 rated it liked it
I grabbed this book at the library after a "how teens can become politically active" meeting. I was hoping to have some solid tips for how to run a campaign and get work done, however most of these tips were fairly basic and I already knew most of them. I ended up just reading the headers but I would definitely recommend this to a future presidential candidate.
Tim Jones
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a fascinating inside look at one aspect of the Bernie Sanders run for the Democratic nomination for President. It doesn't pretend to analyse the whole campaign strategy, simply focussing on the part of the campaign that the authors were part of - the attempt to recruit and use the energy of the thousands of volunteers who responded to Bernie Sander's candidacy.

The authors show how their volunteer engagement was built, often making it up as they took each step, often in response to the n
John Telford
Apr 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A thoroughly enjoyable read. For anyone that is curious about the inner workings of political campaigns or even worse anyone who is thinking about getting involved in a political campaign; this book is a must read.
Antoinette Perez
Written by Bernie campaign staffers, parts of this book were great for jumping on an activist plane and building it while we were flying it. Volunteer organizations are a different beast in many ways from a for-profit corporation, and while there are similarities, it was helpful to explore how new technology can pull a grassroots, geographically dispersed effort together. I'm sure I'll return to this one in the future.
May 28, 2017 rated it liked it
I give this 3 stars from my own perspective of organizing, not necessarily the book itself.

The book goes into interesting depth around what was tried and the risks taken in the Bernie campaign. It's exciting to hear about what it looks like to trust the people on the ground.

Where I take away stars is in the glorification of sacrifice for the campaign. There are a lot of statements like "we only gave 2 hours notice for calls because really you want the people who are more available" or "we want
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
Ahhh I loved this book. So many thoughts and ideas and feelings and questions. Can't wait to get back to work on Monday to start sharing these rules and figuring out how we can implement these ideas! Very grateful that they took the time to write this down and turn it around so quickly. Inspiring stuff.
Nov 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is for my Read Harder 2018 Challenge Task #14 - A book of social science. This is book 3 for this category.

This is a fantastic guide to organizing on a grand and chaotic scale. I hope that revolutions and campaigns will take it and use it.
John Hess
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Alright book. Some helpful suggestions. Could have been half as long.
Joel D
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016

A brilliant reflection and analysis with clear and concise ideas for building upon the Bernie campaign successes. Moving and inspirational.
Julia Deng
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is a fascinating document of a one in a million political campaign. I appreciate that it embraces and struggles with the messiness of putting together a (solvent) startup with national reach in just a couple of years. I've read a few books about organizing, not a lot, but some -- and I think this one does the best job of being brutally honest about doing your best within real constraints.

But overall, I'm not sure it's actually revolutionary. The main takeaway here seems to be that pai
Dana Sweeney
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: campaigns
First off, in case it's unclear, this is a book about Bernie Sanders' insurgent campaign for the Democratic nomination. It takes you inside the campaign's "distributed organizing" arm and documents the groundbreaking models the campaign developed to mobilize volunteers and turn the campaign into a movement driven by thousands of everyday people. It is written by two of the lead staffers who invented and coordinated this innovation in campaign strategy.

This book offers a remarkable level of deta
Sep 18, 2017 rated it liked it
The idea in a nutshell is that if change is to happen it must come from the rise of the indignant populace. The rules that they have outlined, and illustrated with stories from the Bernie Sanders campaign, may prove useful to some. The most intriguing part to me was an idea, parenthetically offered amidst the pointed messages. The idea is that even democratic movements require strong leadership, with decision making at the top. The difference between democratic and autocratic leadership is wheth ...more
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: political-stuff
This is a great book that analyzes the lessons learned on the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign at running a big distributed volunteer organizing program. I listened to the audiobook, which was a great way to do it, but I'm going to buy a hard copy for reference.

What they achieved was historic and profound. I had to get over my visceral distrust of the role and language of tech to appreciate the value in seeing organizing as a design problem. And I've never accomplished anything at that scale
Hakan Jackson
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I think it's funny how this book starts off by saying this isn't a book to tell the story of the Bernie campaign, but then tells a lot of stories about the Bernie campaign. It's understandable though, because any instructional book needs to be able to give examples, the examples in this book just so happen to come from the Bernie campaign. This book is worth reading for anyone who wants to read another insider's account of the Bernie campaign or anyone who's mobilizing a big campaign. A lot of t ...more
Robert Bresnahan
Best Book on organizing I've seen. Inspiring.

Ask for what we really need. 100% renewable energy. No combustion. Store carbon in soils by revolutionizing agriculture. Eliminate homelessness. Build highly efficient buildings only. Free universal health care. Free lifetime education. We desperately need all these things. Emission free electric vehicles. We desperately need political movement to make them all happen. Here's how to make it happen!
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
A friend sent this to me to read on my laptop (yuck) so I felt like I had to plod through all of it in case there was anything useful for an upcoming campaign. There was not.

It is repetitive. It could have been a useful magazine article for the amount of good information. A lot of it is how they found so-and-so to do this wonderful part they were perfectly equipped for and later some of them were put on staff, not in any way helpful.
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very good survey of some of the methods used by the authors to build a movement in Bernie Sanders' far-beyond-all-expectations 2016 campaign.

It tends to practical advice and recounting of the decisions and compromises the authors had to make. Worthwhile reading for activists, organizers, or anybody trying to build something with a volunteer force.
Davyd Gosselin
May 30, 2017 rated it liked it
A good primer on using the technology (e.g., automated dialers) to advance American political campaigns. Using real-life examples from the Bernie Sanders bid for the White House, the book bristles with insider tactics. Lots of campy words and phrases endemic to the technology industry, the authors share their knowledge.

I found the book interesting from a political point of view.
Jun 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Some good tips on organizing. Points for keeping it short, but could have been half the length to actually impart the relevant lessons:
-Set big goals if you want a 10x increase, not a 10% increase
-Trust volunteers with real tasks
-Be cool figuring things out as you go
-#LockHerUp (this was not a lesson, but the "Bernie would've won" schtick gets pretty old by page 2)
Jo Skårderud
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Først og fremst nyttig for de som er interessert i hvordan bygge politiske bevegelser, ikke historie om valgkampen til Sanders. NB: Er skrevet av amerikanere og i muntlig stil, så må være forberedt på mye "amazing" "awesome" og andre ting som gjør at man vil kaldkvele forfatterene, men hvis du er forberedt går det bra.
Derek Blackadder
Fun read for organizing junkies

Lots of energizing anecdotes but for organizers only I think. And even for them not much new other a glimpse of what can be done by insurgents inside an insurgent campaifn
Roger Mckenzie
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
No less than a revolutionary book for political, community and for me union organisers. I will be carrying this book round with me and referring back to it time and time again. One of the very few 5 stars I've given.
Robert S
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics, nonfiction
Solid read about organizing, although the applicable audience for the majority of its points feels limited.
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
David Dayen
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I don't do a lot of this style of organizing anymore, but for those who do, this has some critical lessons about how to build and empower political coalitions.
Stephanie Pace Smith
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant!!! Becky Bond is just as sensational and smart on the page as she is in person. 5 stars!!
Sam Reilly
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
The book lays out an effective strategy and set of rules to organize, but it was heavy on Bernie anecdotes. It seemed to chronicle the Bernie campaign and go less on helpful techniques for organizing.
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
really interesting for me. I found the style difficult to follow, but the rules powerful.
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The Pelicans’ Nest: Rules for Revolutionaries 1 4 May 29, 2018 02:18AM  

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“It will be hard to dispel the myth that spending big money on advertising is the path to electoral victory, but we do know that if people organize, we can go up against big money and win.” 1 likes
“The result is that too many elected officials are basing important decisions not on what would be best for all Americans but on what they imagine would appeal to a small number of swing voters usually at the center-right of the political debate.” 0 likes
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