What happened to the American left after the Sixties? This the question L.A. Kauffman seeks to answer in her book, Direct Action: Protest and the Reinvention of American Radicalism. The book examines how movements from ACT UP to Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter have used disruptive tactics to catalyze change against long odds, creating a new kind of decentralized and multi-vocal radical politics in the process. But to what effect? When has direct action made an enormous, undeniable difference? And what subtle, but positive changes have been brought about, at least in part, by non-violent direct action?
L.A. Kauffman has spent more than thirty years immersed in radical movements, as a journalist, historian, organizer, and strategist. Her writings on grassroots activism and social movement history have been published in The Nation, The Progressive, Mother Jones, the Village Voice, Salon, n+1, The Baffler, and many other outlets. She served as executive editor for the radical theory journal Socialist Review and as an award-winning national political columnist for SF Weekly, focusing on dissent and activism.
Reinventing Radicalism, next time on Interchange, Tuesdays at 5:30 pm on WFHB