Rebecca Subar taught Peace and Conflict Studies at West Chester University from 2005 to 2019. She is a senior partner at Dragonfly, where a multiracial band of consultants supports organizations that make social change. She has coached leaders of political advocacy groups large and small on their race consciousness, their organization’s growth, and their strategy for changing the world.
Learn more about Rebecca and her organization HERE.
When to Talk and When to Fight: The Strategic Choice between Dialogue and Resistance
Author: Rebecca Subar • Illustrator: Rosi Greenberg • Forewords by Esteban Kelly and Douglas Stone
Series: PM Press
Subjects: Political Process / Political Advocacy / Negotiating
“Rebecca Subar’s rich personal background and distinguished career advising political negotiators, organization-builders, and movement strategists have positioned her as one of the world’s leading voices on conflict management. Here Subar combines profound insights from both practitioners and theoreticians, offering her readers invaluable paradigms on conflict transformation. When to Talk and When to Fight is the book many of us having been waiting for!”
—Sa’ed Atshan, associate professor of peace and conflict studies, Swarthmore College
“This is an emotionally and intellectually engaging masterpiece about lovers and fighters. It makes clear that the defining connection between talking and fighting is that the fight for policy change and passionate dialogue must both exist to change a narrative of trauma and injustice. This is a must-read.”
—Shawanna Vaughn, antiviolence and criminal justice activist with Silent Cry Inc.
“When to Talk and When to Fight brilliantly bridges the worlds of bargaining-table negotiation and social movement power building. Rebecca Subar creates an original framework for understanding why the two approaches are often in tension with one another and how—when coordinated skillfully—they can be used together. A writer who is both a ‘peacemaker and provocateur,’ Subar fills her book with illuminating stories and narrates with a wonderfully engaging personal voice, making the reading at once absorbing and enlightening.”
—Mark Engler, coauthor of This Is an Uprising
“Rebecca Subar’s book is a powerful and important exploration of the tensions between challenging unjust centers of power and negotiating our terms of victory. This book has forced me to ask tough questions about both the social justice strategies I am comfortable with—and the strategies I need to get more comfortable with to be the most effective human rights advocate possible.”
—Sunjeev Bery, Executive Director, Freedom Forward
“In When to Talk and When to Fight, Subar argues against black-and-white binaries and promotes the validity of different strategies depending on the mix of personal and community styles, principles and values, structural obstacles and biases, and the power dynamics between the opposing parties in a constantly churning and contradictory society. Subar’s style is engaging and challenging, a smart ‘how-to’ book that is grounded in a deep personal understanding of social struggle and political advocacy.”
—Alice Rothchild, author of Condition Critical: Life and Death in Israel/Palestine
“With wit and humor, Rebecca Subar has written a book for aspiring social change advocates that eases the way into predicaments over whether to talk or to fight. With a storyteller’s savvy and drawing from deep practical experience, Subar offers nuanced consideration of unsettled questions on strategies for building social power and sensitively probes the role of values in political conflict. With new tools and models to face the challenges of our times, When to Talk and When to Fight is both an ideal for book clubs and group study in organizations and a guide for emergent campaigns to dismantle injustices.”
—Mary Elizabeth King, PhD., professor of Peace and Conflict Studies, University for Peace (a UN affiliate), and Distinguished Rothermere American Institute Fellow, University of Oxford
“A beautiful, compelling, and timely approach to moving through conflict and building deep relationship to create change. For today’s leaders navigating constant conflict, this book is an essential tool to help reach a future filled with liberation and connection.”
—Rev. Darlene Nipper, CEO, Rockwood Leadership Institute
“As we face growing ecological, economic, and political crises, we need to know how to use all the available tools to create change—resistance and organizing, as well as dialogue and negotiation. When to Talk and When to Fight provides essential wisdom about how to deploy the right approach at the right time.”
—Mitch Chanin, cofounder of the Jewish Dialogue Group,climate justice organizer with 350 Philly