Jeremy Brecher's Blog

Jeremy Brecher on Humanity’s Toolbox for Survival

By Shelter and Solidarity

Never before has humanity as a whole faced so many overlapping, mutually reinforcing existential threats. Objectively speaking it is overwhelming, and yet, based on past struggles and movements, Jeremy Brecher finds grounds for hope. He does not turn to our corporate and government rulers but to our social movements. This practical turn, together with Brecher’s decades-long organizing and intellectual journey, is described in Jeremy’s new book, “Common Preservation: In a Time of Mutual Destruction.” [… ] Here’s how Common Preservation’s publishers describe 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.

Praise for 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, cross-disciplinary 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

Strike!— 50th Anniversary
Save the Humans?: Common Preservation in Action
Common Preservation: In a Time of Mutual Destruction
Against Doom: A Climate Insurgency Manual