[WSMDiscuss] Jeremy Brecher’s book, Common Preservation in a Time of Mutual Destruction

Jai Sen jai.sen at cacim.net
Thu Aug 26 18:45:33 CEST 2021

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Studies in movement…, Movements in movement…, Ideas in movement…, Reflections in movement…

[Here, a belated announcement of the publication earlier this year of a remarkable book by a rare and remarkable warrior, Jeremy Brecher : A recollection of and reflection on the series of the powerful movements that he has been involved with over the past 5-6 decades, in each case drawing out lessons on strategy and tactic.  Each one quite short – remarkably short - and very readable. 

[And in that sense, this book is also a documentation of and testament to a wide range of social and political movement in the US during the second half of the 20th century and during the first two decades of this one, but with a world perspective…, and looking ahead to the unfolding future.

[Drawing widely from history and a range of the writings of others, his writing is characteristically also punctuated by a series of what I think are profoundly interesting and important observations – including seeing and understanding movements as struggles for common preservation.  Just pause and think about this, as an idea.  Thank you, Jeremy !

[Definitely well worth your while getting and reading !

[To give you just a glimpse of the wealth contained in this book, I attach a copy of its Table of Contents, and I am also pasting in below some text from the PM Press page for the book, at  : https://www.pmpress.org/images/products/large_1095_Common_preservation.jpg <https://www.pmpress.org/images/products/large_1095_Common_preservation.jpg> - where you can also get more information on it :

Jeremy Brecher’s Common Preservation in a Time of Mutual Destruction

Oakland, CA : PM Press


From the PM Press page on the book :

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.”

—Studs Terkel

“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, crossdisciplinary 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.  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.



Jeremy Brecher, 2021 - Common Preservation, Table of Contents x jb 230821


Jai Sen

Independent researcher, editor; Senior Fellow at the School of International Development and Globalisation Studies at the University of Ottawa

jai.sen at cacim.net <mailto:jai.sen at cacim.net> &  <mailto:jsen at uottawa.ca>jsen at uottawa.ca <mailto:jsen at uottawa.ca>
Now based in Ottawa, Canada, on unsurrendered Anishinaabe territory (+1-613-282 2900) and in New Delhi, India (+91-98189 11325)

Check out something new – including for copies of the first two books below, at a discount, and much more : The Movements of Movements <https://movementsofmovements.net/>
Jai Sen, ed, 2017 – The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us Move ?.  New Delhi : OpenWord and Oakland, CA : PM Press.  Ebook and hard copy available at PM Press <http://www.pmpress.org/>; hard copy only also at The Movements of Movements <https://movementsofmovements.net/>
Jai Sen, ed, 2018a – The Movements of Movements, Part 2 : Rethinking Our Dance.  Ebook and hard copy available at PM Press <http://www.pmpress.org/>; hard copy only also at The Movements of Movements <https://movementsofmovements.net/>
Jai Sen, ed, 2018b – The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us Move ?  (Indian edition). New Delhi : AuthorsUpfront, in collaboration with OpenWord and PM Press.  Hard copy available at MOM1AmazonIN <https://www.amazon.in/dp/9387280101/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1522884070&sr=8-2&keywords=movements+of+movements+jai+sen>, MOM1Flipkart <https://www.flipkart.com/the-movements-of-movements/p/itmf3zg7h79ecpgj?pid=9789387280106&lid=LSTBOK9789387280106NBA1CH&marketplace=FLIPKART&srno=s_1_1&otracker=search&fm=SEARCH&iid=ff35b702-e6a8-4423-b014-16c84f6f0092.9789387280106.SEARCH&ppt=Search%20Page>, and MOM1AUpFront <http://www.authorsupfront.com/movements.htm>
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