6 Incredible Reads For Everyone Who Doesn't Want to Live Under a Dictatorship


Before you lock down that summer reading list, I've got a few titles that will convince you that we have the power to change the world. At least that's what these have done for me. I started a massive reading project (by my own standards) a few years ago to read everything about how society's change and how social movements work that I can get my hands on. So far, one thing has become abundantly clear: we are far more powerful than we think we are.

The news in the United States is disturbing as more of the nation is waking up to the long history of anti-democratic practices of our country. Many feel helpless. To quote Rebecca Solnit: "Your opponents would love you to believe that it's hopeless, that you have no power, that there's no reason to act, that you can't win." Nothing could be further from the truth. If you're anxious about the news then know this: it doesn't have to be this way.

Things can change, but the people will have to bring that change about. The cavalry is not coming from someplace else. It has to be us. It has to be you.

There's another quote that inspires me daily from Wes Niker: "If you don't like the news...go make some of your own." It's about time we started making our own news. We'll have to be wise. We'll have to be creative. We'll have to be strategic. And we'll need to be informed.

So, here are some titles to get you started.


This Is An Uprising, Mark Engler and Paul Engler

Because you need to know (or be reminded) that ordinary people have changed their societies from the bottom up before, through nonviolent resistance, and can do it again.


Building a Movement for Ending the New Jim Crow, Daniel Hunter

This pdf is like 80 pages long and cost one dollar! If you can't start here, I'm not sure you're down to begin with. So many of the human rights abuses of our country are tied to the fact that we are a carceral state. If we're going to become a more humane society, we're going to have to rethink incarceration.


The Impossible Will Take a Little While, Paul Rogat Loeb

Because you need hope to sustain you as you pursue a better world.


From Dictatorship to Democracy, Gene Sharp

Because you need to know how to face a dictator realistically from a dude who literally wrote the book that has led to the toppling of many oppressive regimes. 


Beautiful Trouble, Andrew Boyd (Editor)

Because you need to be familiar with the tools for resistance. And, if you fancy, you can also check out Gene Sharp's 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action.


Please feel free to disseminate this widely.

If you feel like this list is lacking, feel free to create one of your own and I'll gladly share it, or I can update this post. I'm just trying to do my part.