Wednesday: L.A. Kaufman, "Direct Action: Protest and the Reinvention of American Radicalism"

Mar. 22

Just a few days after the inauguration, Rolling Stone ran an interview with writer and longtime activist L.A. Kaufman titled "How to Take Action – and Stay Sane – in the Trump Era," that spread around the Internet a little, for obvious reasons. Kaufman wasn't overwhelmingly positive, but she wasn't cynical either—in sharp contrast to the tediousness of Micah White of "The End Of Protest" fame—noting that "protest works," and has throughout time, and not always in the obvious, grandiose ways history rewrites it. "It's often not about a single mobilization of a huge number of people," she told Rolling Stone. "It's about a small number of people who are willing to be persistent and take risks over time." In the new book, "Direct Action: Protest and the Reinvention of American Radicalism," Kaufman offers up a history of protest, which—given how protest is often simplified, sanitized, or just plain revised—also operates as something of an alternative history of protest. In a chunk of the book about 1971's May Day protest, Kaufman writes "the largest and most audacious direct action in U.S. history is also among the least remembered." The book is full of details like that and operates as a nice pairing with last year's Verso Book protest offering, "Riot.Strike.Riot," by professor, poet, writer, and activist Joshua Clover. 7:30 p.m., Red Emma's, 30 W. North Ave., (443) 602-7611, redemmas.org, free. (Brandon Soderberg)

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