Common Preservation: In a Time of Mutual Destruction
Author: Jeremy Brecher • Foreword: Todd Vachon
Publisher: PM Press
Size: 6 x 9
Page count: 400
Subjects: Political Advocacy/History
As world leaders eschew cooperation to address climate change, nuclear proliferation, economic meltdown, and other threats to our survival, more and more people experience a pervasive sense of dread and despair. Is there anything we can do? What can put us on the course from mutual destruction to common preservation? In the past, social movements have sometimes made rapid and unexpected changes that countered apparently incurable social problems. Jeremy Brecher presents scores of historical examples of people who changed history by adopting strategies of common preservation, showing what we can we learn from past social movements to better confront today’s global threats of climate change, war, and economic chaos.
In Common Preservation, Brecher shares his experiences and what he has learned that can help ward off mutual destruction and provides a unique heuristic—a tool kit for thinkers and activists—to understand and create new forms of common preservation.
“Jeremy Brecher’s work is astonishing and refreshing; and, God knows, necessary.”
“Chapter by chapter, I learn from it; and I admire its ambition. When I sampled it, it engaged me so much that I set aside other work until I finished it. Overall, a fine manuscript. Rich in content. Also engaging. Is it not all or part of a philosophy or worldview?”
—Charles Lindblom, Sterling Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Economics at Yale University; author of The Market System
“Ever since I read the draft of Common Preservation a year ago, I’ve been compelled to urge a surprising variety of colleagues to read it, above all else, to understand the history, the successes, the failures, and the profound lessons to be learned from social justice movements: professional and volunteers organizers and activists, engaged citizens who yearn to be more effective. This history is systematically informed by an extraordinarily broad, cross-disciplinary reach for scholarly works that provide practical insight to the lessons to be learned. I know that I am not alone in finding much scholarly work difficult to relate to my experience as an advocate. By integrating the direct experience of the author with such work, he has enabled me to do just that.”
—Mike Pertschuk, former chair, Federal Trade Commission
“It is an autobiography of intellectual exploration and of practical experimentation with the problems of social injustice. It is a project of the urgent transmission of the lessons learned undertaken under the duress of historical time which threatens catastrophe. It is a valedictory and an exhortation.”
—Joshua Dubler, Society of Fellows, Columbia University; author of Down in the Chapel: Religious Life in an American Prison
“We’ve been talking about turning everyday life and its challenges into a meaningful political strategy for ages. Finally Common Preservation succeeds in doing it. Engrossing.”
—Ferdinando Fasce, author of An American Family: The Great War and Corporate Culture in America
About the Contributors:
Jeremy Brecher has participated in movements for nuclear disarmament, civil rights, peace, international labor rights, global economic justice, accountability for war crimes, climate protection, and many others. He is the author of fifteen books on labor and social movements, including the national best seller Strike! He has received five regional Emmy awards for his documentary film work. He is currently policy and research director for the Labor Network for Sustainability.
Todd Vachon is a union carpenter turned educator and faculty member in the Department of Labor Studies and Employment Relations at Rutgers University. As the faculty coordinator of the Labor Education Action Research Network, he directs the university’s labor education extension programs, including classes and workshops for workers, unions, and other organizations. Todd earned his PhD in sociology from the University of Connecticut, where he helped to organize the graduate employee union-UAW Local 6950 and served as the first local president. His research, which has been published in a variety of academic journals and edited books, focuses on inequality, labor, climate change, and justice. His current project is a book about the American labor-climate movement, titled Clean Air and Good Jobs: U.S. Labor and the Struggle for a Just Transition.