An autobiographical aid for understanding and working with social movementsTo better understand the impact of social movements in recent years, this analysis distinguishes strategies of social change into two parts: organizing, which is characteristic of the 1960s movement in the United States, and accompaniment, which was articulated by Archbishop Óscar Romero of El Salvador. Both are valuable tools for understanding and promoting social movements; in accompaniment, the promoter of social change and his or her oppressed colleague view themselves as two experts, each bringing indispensable experience to a shared project. Together, as equals, they seek to create what the Zapatistas call “another world.” The author applies the distinction between accompaniment and organizing to five social movements in which he has taken part: the labor and civil rights movements, the antiwar movement, prisoner insurgencies, and the movement sparked by Occupy Wall Street. Also included are the experiences of the author’s wife Alice Lynd, a partner in these efforts, who has been a draft counselor and advocate for prisoners in maximum-security confinement.
Reviews"I like this book very much. The fact that it is based on Alice and Staughton's own experiences of accompanying makes it a very valuable tool for understanding and promoting the notion." —Father Joe Mulligan, SJ
"Since our dreams for a more just world came crashing down around us in the late 1980s and early 1990s, those of us involved in social activism have spent much of the time since trying to assess what went wrong and what we might learn from our mistakes. In this highly readable book, Lynd explores the difference between organizing and accompanying. This book is a must read for anyone who believes a better world is possible." —Margaret Randall, poet and author, Ruins
"Accompanying is arguably the most thoughtful examination of Archbishop Oscar Romero's concept of accompaniment insofar as it helps us to understand how liberation theology matured from taking a 'preferential option for the poor' to companionship with the poor as they organize themselves. . . . This book would be important at any moment in history, but is indispensable today as we accompany one another in the quest to free ourselves from the shackles of the world the one percent has inflicted on us." —Carl Mirra, author, The Admirable Radical
"Lynd's poignant memoir of a life devoted to social justice is also a chronicle of the major social movements of the second half of the 20th century." —www.PublishersWeekly.com
"Accompanying pulses with relevancy. The author’s thesis is that a flawed organizing model doomed many 1960s social change movements." —Seth Sandronsky, The Progressive Populist
"The book's critical engagement with expertise, social movements and community building offers ideas for anyone doing participatory action research and/or politically and community-directed research." —Chris Kortright, Anthropology Now
Author BiographyStaughton Lynd taught American history at Spelman College and Yale University. He was director of Freedom Schools in the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer. An early leader of the movement against the Vietnam War, he was blacklisted and unable to continue as an academic. He then became a lawyer, and in this capacity has assisted rank-and-file workers and prisoners for the past thirty years. He is the author or coauthor of From Here to There, Labor Law for the Rank & Filer, Lucasville, Solidarity Unionism at Starbucks, and Wobblies & Zapatistas. He lives in Youngstown, Ohio.