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"Why #SocialMovements Matter", a thread.

It's been a long time since I've written a whole #book in longhand. 1999 to be exact, under the trees in the Botanic Gardens @NBGIreland.

whysocialmovementsmatter.com, 30% off with code RLIJUNE18 Why Social Movements Matter book cover
My handwriting's got worse in the meantime, doing so much more by keyboard and screen. It's still a physically different experience, more thoughtful, more physically creative. There's a different kind of feedback as you see your writing change.
"Why Social Movements Matter" was an unintentional book. @GeoffreyPleyers and the remarkable @lecollege_em at @FondationMSH made it possible for me to spend a month just researching and writing - which is an incredible privilege.
Here's another product of that month:

"The multiple traditions of #socialmovement #research: theorising intellectual diversity" halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-0149401…

It's #sociology-of-knowledge stuff, not exactly for a wide audience...
I blame the book on the architecture. Back then the @FondationMSH was in a truly surreal part of #Paris: I was walking to work through the future visions of a megalomaniac past. The Mitterrand Continuum. A forest growing up through the Bibliotheque NationaleMinistry of the Economy and Finance. By Pline - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1336226
Just to be clear: I don't normally write anything from scratch in one go with no planning or preparation. Never mind a book.

So this was v lovely and v unexpected, something not very conscious distilling a lot of past thinking and conversations into a notebook full of words.
I *think* "Why Social Movements Matter" may be the first book to present the whole area for a general audience (and for journos, party activists, students and researchers in other areas). Always an arguable sort of thing to say though!
There are plenty academic intros, activist books about particular movements, popular books about issues with a call to arms tacked on. But it's a bit more unusual to argue that social movements matter *in general*, as part of history, part of being human, part of politics.
The first two chapters are written for a completely general audience:

"Why we need social movements" and

"Movements made the world we live in"
Then, what if you agree that politics matter but only think about it in terms of parties and parliaments:

"Social movements and the Left"
Lastly two chapters about how movements help us think better:

"Practice-oriented thinking: 'The philosophers have only interpreted the world'" and

"Movements and the mind: from the streets to the university"
Here's a piece I wrote for @DiscoverSoc about why #movements matter:

Once we realise that the Big Problems are underpinned by #structure and #interests, we need to talk not just about what's wrong and why but about the "who" and "how" of changing it

And a piece for Colloquium about the bad faith involved in pretending that things like the Irish #choice referendum are the gift of wise and benevolent authorities rather than achievements of massive popular #struggles:

I'm doing a few events in #Belfast this month on some of these issues:

Talk on Wed 13, 7.30 pm in Gael-Ionad Mhic Goill for @GlorNaMona: "We make our own history: #socialmovements and social change in #Ireland". Part of @FeileBelfast's Féile an Earraigh

An #activist #workshop on Thurs 14, 9.30 am in @Culturlann for @dreamdearg: "An Cheardlann Dearg", also part of Féile an Earraigh.
A talk on Wed 27, 1 pm in @QUBelfast for @ImagineBelfast:

"Why Social Movements Matter"

The good ppl at @NOALIBISBOOKS on Botanic Ave have got in copies of the book as well - thanks!
Brilliant posters now out for next week's events from @dreamdearg @GlorNaMona We Make Our Own History talk posterAn Cheardlann Dearg workshop poster
So how do we think about the #Left and #socialmovements? An excerpt for the @UlexProject blog about the practical meaning of "the left" for popular struggle

"Why Social Movements Matter" is the only time I've been asked to make a book ... longer.

I'd written something intentionally short and direct, but it seemed ... just too short to the publishers (who I totally trust on this!)
Readers (and writers) are different. Some find it easier to get into things through examples, stories, personal experiences - others prefer to get into things through ideas. Neither is right or wrong, but I'm instinctively on the ideas end of things.
So I went through the book and rather than cutting things out (a *very* normal part of academic writing) I added in some of the best stories I tell in conversation or in class when I can see that it's needed. I think the book is much better for them.
Here's a short piece for @oDTransform about why being involved in #socialmovements #activism is an emotionally healthy activity for human beings:

@CDinerstein kindly wrote this about the book: Ana Dinerstein endorsement
@guhyapati from @UlexProject said this:
@markus_s_schulz wrote this: Markus Schulz endorsement
Finally @rsgexp had this to say: Jane McAlevey endorsement
Kind words from some extraordinary activists and thinkers!
Just wrote this short blog post for @ImagineBelfast about #socialmovements:

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