Advanced Praise for & Reviews of Whirlwinds

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Team Colors is pleased to announce that multiple reviews of both Uses of a Whirlwind and Wind(s) from below have been published recently. These are listed below and if you are interested in reviewing either of our titles get in touch with the collective.


advanced praise for whirlwinds

Roll up your sleeves and get ready for action: this book has some mighty helpful clues about how to plan your part of the movement.
The Yes Men

Arm your mind and fuel your spirit with the wide range of perspectives, case studies and multi-layered insights captured in this great anthology of grassroots dreamers, thinkers and doers. Uses of a Whirlwind lives up to it’s name by tossing our political imaginations around a bit and then harnessing some of the gale force inspiration with pragmatic approaches to building bigger, stronger and smarter movements for fundamental social change. Don’t let this essential resource blow by you without checking it out!

Patrick Reinsborough | Co-founder SmartMeme Strategy & Training Project; Co-author with Doyle Canning of Re:Imagining Change: How to Use Story-based Strategy to Win Campaigns, Build Movements and Change the World (PM Press 2010)

The gift of the whirlwind metaphor is that it allows us to see ostensibly disparate movements as a concentrated force of energy. What it speaks to is the interconnectedness of all struggles for basic dignity and respect. We can more readily see every moment then as an opportunity to make real connections with each other in the process of fighting against injustice and modeling the society we want. Care work in particular is singled out as providing a distinct site for facilitating this possibility. The book then implicitly and quite rightly challenges us to rebuild a system that doesn’t just shift the balance of power but fundamentally transform social relations by holding our interdependence as human beings as a core value.

Priscilla Gonzalez | Domestic Workers United

Uses of a Whirlwind is vitally important to radical community organizing in the United States today because the collection captures the spirit of the radical pedagogical theories of the Brazilian educator Paulo Freire.  His “Popular Education” is based on the conviction that every human being is capable of looking critically at their world in a dialogical encounter with others, and can gradually perceive their own personal and social reality, and can then deal critically with it themselves.  Oppressed people have no need of outside “experts” who lecture to them about their situation.  These articles remind us that if we want to create a society based upon direct democracy, then the organizing that we employ must be based on democratic practice that creates the conditions for full and equal participation in discussion, debate, and decision-making by those who are oppressed, trusting them to change the power relations in society.

Carlos Canales | Workplace Project & Bob Lepley | Freeport Community Worklink Center

Organizations and organizers mix up in Uses of Whirlwind—to get to know each other, to learn from each other—in order to build more effective movements for radical change. Such cross-fertilizations are essential if a better world is ever to blossom.

John M. Miller | National Coordinator of the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network and member of the National Committee of the War Resisters League

It is no accident that all genuine revolutionary movements have emerged from activists unafraid to confront the limits of previous struggles, worn down by the necessary compromises of the epoch in which they worked. What’s bracing about this book is the willingness of its writers to engage in a genuine critique of previous movements while remaining within the struggle of the concrete, everyday work of the 21st century.  The praxis they seek is thus embedded in both the ideas they analyze and the actions they undertake. Anyone wanting to organize in ways that carry within them the prospect of societal transformation would do well to read this book.

Steve Burghardt | Professor of Community Organizing, Hunter College School of Social Work
Uses of a Whirlwind is an important contribution to an emergent, yet still sparse body of literature working to critically engage and rethink what it means to make political interventions today, in a world characterized by crises, uncertainties, and complexities. Not only is it one of the few collections of texts to do so grounded explicitly in the United States, it also brings crucial topics and perspectives often excluded from political and activist analyses to the fore. It argues that care and cultivating durable and holistic activist practices and communities are vitally important parts of any truly radical political project.

Michal Osterweil | Turbulence Collective

Uses of a Whirlwind offers a detailed assessment of the grassroots left in the United States — its recent developments, present limitations, and future possibilities.  Leaving aside the formulae and dogmatism characteristic of so much political writing, the  contributors focus their attention instead on messy, dynamic, unpredictable reality.  The result is a book that inspires hope, demands engagement, and does not flinch from the hard work ahead.

Kristian Williams | Author of Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America (South End Press, 2007)

Those who would like to hold sway over our lives seek to convince us that the constraints of our current situation are inescapable.  In any case, they tell us, we cannot do anything about them.  This book is a testimony to the fragility of those constraints.  It documents a variety of current struggles against intolerable forms of power, offering both inspiration and strategy for everyone who, in one way or another, is subject to exploitation and oppression–that is to say, nearly everyone.

Todd May | Author of The Political Philosophy of Poststructuralist Anarchism (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2004)

The Zapatistas have a saying: “Walking, we ask questions.” Uses of a Whirlwind follows this adage, serving not only as a crash course in today’s most prominent political issues and movements but also raising important, rarely-asked questions about the subjects and organizing that have grabbed headlines and sparked our imaginations. Uses is not only a start to examining these movements and connecting them with each other, but is also an invitation to investigate and identify other, less prominent struggles for liberation and to develop connections between these movements and organizations to build a better world.

Victoria Law | Co-founder of Books Through Bars-NYC, Author of Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women (Oakland: PM Press, 2009)

In 1925, Pan Africanist leader Marcus Garvey penned his “First Message” from Atlanta prison, proclaiming: “When I am dead wrap the mantle of the Red, Black and Green around me, for in the new life I shall rise with God’s grace and blessing to lead the millions up the heights of triumph with the colors that you well know. Look for me in the whirlwind . . . I shall come and bring with me countless millions of Black slaves who have died in America and the West Indies and the millions in Africa to aid you in the fight for Liberty, Freedom and Life.” When, close to fifty years later, the militant members of New York City’s Black Panther Party—on trial in the infamous Panther 21 case—they titled their collective autobiography “Look for me in the Whirlwind.” It was not surprising, therefore, that Muhammad Ahmad called his recent review of Black Radical Organizations (1960-1975), “We Shall Return in the Whirlwind.”  To be sure, Team Color’s Uses of a Whirlwind addresses different colors and different winds than those described by Garvey, Ahmad, and the Panthers. Yet the multiplicity of voices they have assembled, and the analysis they begin to develop out of their “militant inquiries” and “interventions” into the struggles and resistances of everyday life, provide real gifts to the left. They challenge us to look with fresh eyes at the assumptions too often made about the legacy of past decades. They incite us to take action based on new compositions of strategy, tactics, and organization. And they invite us to join them, in dialogue and in resistance, as we rebuild our revolutionary movements. If we are to mold our many whirlwinds into winds of truly lasting change, we would do well to listen, and to take up their call.
Matt Meyer | Editor of Let Freedom Ring: A Collection of Documents from the Movements to Free U.S. Political Prisoners (PM Press, 2009) & Founding member Resistance in Brooklyn

This is an important book. Distilling the lessons of the past and traversing the distance from today’s struggles to the movements of the future, Team Colors has created a vital resource for anyone concerned with struggles for justice and liberation. Taking inspiration from the most exciting organizing happening in the US today, and avoiding pitfalls such as the nonprofit industrial complex and vanguard leadership, they have created a document of resistance and hope. The voices in this book span movement elders and young revolutionaries, scholars and organizers, farmworkers and homeless activists. What they all have in common is that they have challenged the systems of patriarchy, white supremacy and economic exploitation that have held us back and helped create the whirlwinds that will bring a new world.

Jordan Flaherty | Author of Floodlines: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six (Haymarket Books, 2010) & Editor of Left Turn Magazine

A keeper of knowledge on the Medicine Wheel for movement activists, Uses of a Whirlwind reaps vital stories of contemporary struggles and avails the next revolution of movement builders with critical seeds of insight—ones that might otherwise have been left fallow amongst a tangled dérive of impassioned memories and competing perspectives. It prepares a possibility space from which to strategize for the whirlwinds yet to come.

J. Cookson | SmartMeme Studios

And if you think there’s anything glaringly missing from this collection: get together with some like-minded people and start doing it yourselves.

David Graeber | Author, most recently, of Direct Action: An Ethnography (AK Press, 2009)

comments on whirlwinds

Uses of a Whirlind is a provocative and inspiring collection that is sure to help spark the reader’s revolutionary imagination.  Providing a diversity of perspectives on revolutionary change, this book challenges the idea of revolutionary elitism while maintaining a commitment to radical politics.  Offering no simple answers, it challenges us all to challenge our preconceptions about how social transformation happens and to courageously engage new strategies and frameworks.
Andrea Smith | Cofounder of Incite! Women of Color Against Violence