The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart

One World. Oct. 2020. 336p. ISBN 9780525509684. $27. POL SCI
Garza (cocreator, Black Lives Matter) explores power dynamics in community organizing, as she believes that power enables social movements to impact conditions of people’s lives. In the first half of the book, she relates her own experiences organizing social movements, while providing background on the political climate of the 1980s and 1990s in order to orient readers and to emphasize the importance of organizing work. She elaborates on the circumstances that drove her to cocreate Black Lives Matter with Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi after the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin the year before. In the second half of the book, Garza interrogates social movements, using her own experiences as an example. She provides a vision of successful movements, elaborates on the challenges of organizing, and explores biases and blind spots that can befall movements. She is critical of exclusionary practices and movements which equate success with social media followers. Garza ends with an explanation of Black Futures Lab, which aims to organize the Black community for political power.
VERDICT An important look into community organizing that is honest about its pitfalls and promises that will engage all interested in leading and growing social movements.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing