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Going Public
An Organizer's Guide to Citizen Action
Written by Michael Gecan

Going Public
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Category: Political Science
Imprint: Anchor
Format: Trade Paperback
Pub Date: May 2004
Price: $14.95
Can. Price: $17.95
ISBN: 978-1-4000-7649-9 (1-4000-7649-8)
Pages: 224
Also available as an eBook.



 
A Brooklyn neighborhood once called “the beginning of the end of civilization” is where organizer Michael Gecan got his start. Hired by local congregations to help revive their community, he and his colleagues spend two decades wrestling with New York politicians in an impassioned effort against all odds to build three thousand new homes.

From sometimes hilarious encounters with Ed Koch to complicated negotiations with Rudy Giuliani, Going Public tells the inside story of how cities really work, and how organized citizens can, with discipline and dignity, outmaneuver massive bureaucracies and generate major change. Gecan's vision of the richness of community life and the value of public action has roots in the rough Chicago neighborhood where he was raised, where he witnessed extortion by the mob and a tragic fire in his Catholic grade school that left ninety-two children and three nuns dead.

An inspiring story of how to reclaim the full benefits of citizenship, Going Public offers unforgettable lessons that every American should know: What is the best way to talk to politicians? What resources do all communities need to create change? What kinds of public action really work? Going Public is about power—not the kind hoarded at City Hall or hidden in a corporate boardroom, but the kind that can be generated in every city neighborhood, sprawling suburb, or rural town. This book is a rallying cry for those dissatisfied with the status quo and a warning to the establishment.


“More than fifty years ago, the brilliant and outrageous Saul Alinsky wrote the holy scripture of community organizing, Reveille for Radicals, and it became a best-seller in an America determined to translate its highest ideals into concrete deeds. Now Mike Gecan, inheritor of Alinsky's mantle with the Industrial Areas Foundation, has given this nation a muscular manual for the century ahead. There is nothing ethereal about the moral vision in Going Public. It is a book about doing right and making social change not by playing the pitiable victim but by wielding power against power. If you want to know how ordinary American accomplish extraordinary things—build affordable homes, create effective schools, win living wages—then the story and the strategy reside in this remarkable book.” —Samuel G. Freedman


“A kind of manual of style for those who want to—at least once, just once—beat the bastards.” —The Village Voice

“A compact, instructive guide that effectively updates Saul Alinsky's Reveille for Radicals and Rules for Radicals for the 21st century.” —Library Journal



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 
Michael Gecan has worked as an organizer for the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Baltimore for more than twenty-five years. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.





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