Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists

Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists

by Courtney E. Martin


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Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
bookcaterpillar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Received this book as an Early Reviewer. Although I think that the title will be misleading for some I found value in Martin's approach. I was personally hoping for more specific questions to consider, actions worth repeating, and so on. Instead, this book is a collection of the experiences of 8 activists. Their stories were moving. And the stories represent some key social justice issues of our time.Yet, because the stories were so highly personal and the book isn't all that helpful in providing broader strategy, I think that the audience for this is limited. In fact, I'm passing this along to a high school counselor because I think these stories are a great way to begin a discussion. If you're working with the new generation of young activists and are looking for some inspiration to share with them, I think this hits the mark and is a helpful first step.
Ellesee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's difficult to feel that one person can make a difference in our world today. Yet, Courtney Martin demonstrates that when we have passion and direction, change can be made. Taking a small view doesn't mean that one gives up the bigger picture--it's how those small views become interdependent and conjoined that makes deep and lasting changes. Rosa Parks often spoke that her decision to keep her bus seat was not simply a spontaneous, earth-shattering act. It was founded on deliberate and smaller bits of activism, some successful, some failures, which eventually lead to the moment when history irrevocably changed.Do It Anyway demonstrates that our current, most privileged cohort of coming-of-agers (the 25 to 35 year old set), might not have the look of their Baby Boomer progenitors who marched in the streets, held sit-ins and "fought the man," but they have courage, tenacity, passion and the desire to "fix" what they see as broken or in need of improvement in our society. They have a rich set of tools to use toward that end that previous generations did not: Facebook, blogs, Twitter, texting--and they have a profound sense that they should do something to better the world.Martin, however, does not buffer this group from criticism. These Gen Xers are pampered and steeped in self-esteem enhancement, which as discussed in the first chapter focused on the late Rachel Corrie, can provoke a certain amount of self-destruction when they come to realize the world is often messy, ugly and very unconcerned with self-image. I found this book delightful and hopeful--that people do work toward the greater good--especially young people, and that there is a sense of activism growing in the hearts and souls of a generation often typecast as self-serving, oblivious and apathetic. It was well-written and seemingly well-researched. Martin might be criticized for becoming involved personally with her subjects, but I have often found that one can discover more about people using a subjective approach than to keep the "object" of observation or documentation at a distance. Seven of these contemporary activists are real people who give great volumes of energy and themselves for what they believe in--big or small. Martin can only be praised for painting such a clear picture in such a short volume.Some interesting quotes:"Like so many teenagers of her generation--the most wanted and coddled in history--Rachel [Corrie] had a nagging sense that she had been sold a bill of goods about her own specialness." (5)"This struggle--between the system and the self, long-term and short-term change, the political and the personal--is one of the most palpable tensions. . . in all social justice work." (80)"The legacy that these activists carry with them, to one extent or another, is the 1960s-era activism that has become so iconic, and in some ways distorted, in its constant retelling. Vietnam War protests, civil rights marches, black power, and feminist struggles have been resurrected in word, image, and emotion for decades now--creating a sort of superactivist standard to which the activists of later generations inevitably compare themselves." (183)
chuette7619 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One one hand, I understand and agree with the premise of this book. On the other, it feels sort of self-evident to me. I suppose, based on the responses to this book, not everyone had that reaction to it. Despite this, it's a good and fast read, vaguely compelling for me mostly because it is a very coherent argument.
turokm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Courtney E. Martin¿s Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists is a portrayal of the everyday lives of eight activists who work towards the improvement of everyday people¿s lives. Martin summarizes the purpose of her book by stating, ¿It [activism] is about listening deeply, investing time in really understanding another person¿s experience of the world, not turning away from the inconvenient truths of contemporary suffering¿ (p. 181). This book is not intended to turn the reader into an activist overnight, but instead illustrates how young people can create big change through small means. One activist chosen to illustrate her story, Emily Abt, is an excellent depiction of one person¿s struggle to find purpose in life while using that short time to leave the Earth better than when you were in it. Martin does an excellent job showing the variety of activists out there and showing that finding ways to improve society starts with one¿s own life struggles and then reducing those times for others in similar situations. I would recommend this book to any person looking to understand how activism is being done in today¿s society and the results of those actions.
heina on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am a huge fan of Feministing and Courtney Martin's writings there; had I not won this book through ER, I would've bought it. I won it, however, and I have found that it would have been worth buying. Martin takes an informal and conversational yet informed take on activism in the 30 and below set. In the introduction, she lets it be known that she allowed her subjects to control their respective portrayals, which made me skeptical of the accounts being a glossing over of the truth. I could not have been further from the truth: the accounts are gritty and seem even-handed yet accurate, and with none of the implicit rancor that often accompanies the muckraking style of most non-fiction these days. The book does not necessarily answer the big questions, but it does present several examples of the different kinds of activism in which young people engage, and the conclusion also brings up a great philosophical discussion of current-day activism. It's as fresh as you'd expect from Feministing, and better than a lot of Jessica Valenti's writings.
mitchellray on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Courtney Martin provides the reader with revealing profiles of eight young activists. Martin digs behind the actions to uncover what motivates these young people to devote themselves to making a difference in the world. Most of the activists portrayed are not seeking to change the world on a grand scale. Instead they are taking action within their communities to have an impact where they live. The portraits reveal each person¿s struggle to find and live his or her calling. Martin describes the false starts many of the individuals experienced on their way to finding their cause. Even then, many continue to wrestle with doubt.This is not a book on how to become an activist or how to do community organizing. It is a volume of human stories of people who care about how they use their lives for the common good. Martin¿s profiles assure us that there are young people who deeply care about their fellow humans. The book may be most useful to other young adults who are searching how to make a difference in their communities. Martin avoids romanticizing the activists she profiles. She reveals the struggles, doubts, and faults of those she writes about while also holding up their gifts, commitment, and courage.The book is well written. The people profiled are portrayed in their humanness and, as a result, can simultaneously evoke admiration and annoyance in the reader. Do not expect an activist manual. Do expect insight into the difficultly of becoming an activist. Then be inspired to do it anyway.
readaholic12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Courtney Martin writes eloquently and passionately about the new generation of activists. She profiles 8 different young, idealistic, dedicated, brave people who fight for causes as varied as a prison reentry social worker, environmental justice advocate and a radical, transgender anti-capitalist/philanthropist. She provides an inside look at the motivations, struggles and goals of each of the people she interviews, weaving in a good bit of her own experiences and observations as well. While I found some of her activists hard to relate to, and perhaps felt like the wrong generation demographic for her book, my sixties idealism was enough to carry me through to the end. I liked the last activist profiled the best, as I could relate to the motivations of a teacher trying to reach at risk kids. Some of the chapters held my interest better than others, and this book was not exactly what I expected it to be. If you are looking for insight into ways to make a difference in the world, this is not a how to manual. If you are interested in learning about young people who are driven to devote their lives to a cause they care deeply about, this is the book. All told, an interesting but not riveting read for me - perhaps I am either too mainstream or too old to rate it higher.
KropotkinsLeftFoot on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The word activist can have conflicted meanings, even among the myriad of privilege that Americans share. I felt that much of the far left was left out of the conversation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago