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Power Concedes Nothing


How Grassroots Organizing Wins Elections

Edited by

Max Elbaum

Linda Burnham

Maria Poblet

The November 2020 US election was arguably the most consequential since the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln—and grassroots leaders and organizers played crucial roles in the contention for the presidency and control of both houses of Congress. Power Concedes Nothing recounts these on-the-ground efforts that mobilized a record voter turnout in 2020.

Writers and interviewees in this volume include Cliff Albright, Larry Cohen, Neidi Dominguez, David Duhalde, Alicia Garza, Ryan Greenwood, Arisha Hatch, Jon Liss, Andrea Cristina Mercado, Maurice Mitchell, Rafael Návar, Deepak Pateriya, Ai-jen Poo, Art Reyes III, Nsé Ufot, and Mario Yedidia. 


Power Concedes Nothing is an antidote to the sort of superficial gloss that often passes for political analysis. Focusing on the grassroots organizing that helped to tip Georgia, Arizona, and other states, the authors explain why those with their ears to the ground were not surprised by what seemed like a seismic political shift to so many. But more than recounting victories, the authors suggest why states matter, why voters of color are critical, and why organizing and base-building are key to both politics and policy.

Manuel Pastorauthor, State of Resistance and director, USC Equity Research Institute

Burnham, Elbaum and Poblet, together embody many decades of activist experience and an unparalleled commitment to the struggle for freedom in the U.S. and the world. In Power Concedes Nothing, they curate an amazing collection of essays that features some of the most important organizers of their generation: Moe Mitchell, Ai-Jen Poo, Sendolo Diaminah, Andrea Cristina Mercado, Thenjiwe McHarris and more. This book reminds us that there are many arenas of struggle, and the electoral arena is a pivotal one. The broad center left coalition to defeat Trump in 2020 was an artful display of strategic unity and tireless mass mobilization. These writers give invaluable insights into how that victory was won, and most importantly what remains to be done within and beyond electoral work, as we fight for a more just, peaceful and sustainable future and freedom for all.

Barbara Ransby, professor, historian, longtime activist and author of the award-winning biography, Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement

Grassroots organizers throughout the country, especially in communities of color, helped us to avert disaster in the 2020 election. Thanks to the contributors and editors of this immensely valuable collection, the lessons gleaned from an array of successful organizing strategies will not be lost to the historical amnesia that often claims such local but transformative work.

Angela Y. DavisDistinguished Professor Emerita, History of Consciousness and Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz

The neoliberal economic order is in crisis, sharpening the contest between authoritarian forces and movements for inclusive and sustainable societies. In this contest with the Right, the Left must lead both the resistance and the alternative, and build power sufficient to prevail. Power Concedes Nothing is essential reading for anyone seeking to block the forces of patriarchal white nationalism and to build a democratic society worthy of our sacrifice and allegiance. The electoral defeat of the Trump regime, achieved in no small measure by people and movements found in these pages, demonstrates that organizations rooted in justice struggles can — and must — build a political coalition ultimately capable of governing the transition to a just, multiracial, and feminist democracy. 

Tarso Luís RamosExecutive Director, Political Research Associates




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