A New Reveille for Radicals?

  • Martin Purcell (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Saul Alinsky's seminal work 'Reveille for Radicals' has inspired community activists to take up the challenge of holding those in power to account, and challenging institutional forms of injustice wherever and by whomsoever they are experienced. In re-visiting Alinsky's original book, this presentation seeks to draw together learning from examples of direct social and political action and community development which could be conceived as ‘radical’, to:

• Reclaim the language and territory of community development and education from the political classes who have appropriated it, particularly in recent years.
• Build on the momentum of successful mainstream political shifts – where ‘radical’ manifestos (e.g. those put forward by Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn) have gained traction, generating significant support among different electorates – to determine if there is scope for a more 'radical' form of politics in the 21st century.
• Acknowledge and try to make sense of the massive range of ‘radical’ practice evident in the world today, most of which happens outside formal institutional governance structures, so that we can know and ‘name’ and celebrate this form of practice.
• Reflect on the ebb and flow of radical thought and practice since 'Reveille for Radicals' first appeared, focussing in particular on the extent to which it has been able to influence thought and policy in the context of different struggles and in ‘settled’ democracies across the globe.
• Locate the teaching and practice of community development and education globally within changing social, economic and other contexts.

Drawing on historical and contemporary literature, reflecting radicalism in different contexts (revolutions, street protests, eco-warriorism, civil rights movements, liberation theology, end of empire, trades unionism, etc.), the presentation incorporates practical examples of 'radicalism' in different parts of the world to assess the validity of Alinsky’s message in 2018 and beyond.

Period25 Jun 2018
Event titleWorld Community Development Conference: Participation, Power and Progress: Community Development Towards 2030'
Event typeConference
LocationMaynooth, IrelandShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational