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A Voice but No Power: Organizing for Social Justice in Minneapolis, David Forrest

Reviewed by Michelle N. Fletcher
 

Examining social justice organizations in Minneapolis, Minnesota, David Forrest uses data carefully gathered from immersive fieldwork to explain why these movements often fail to advance abolitionist demands. The rhetoric used to publicize their demands frequently undermines the efforts of other organizers seeking emancipatory social change. The research provides a glimpse into the activities of social justice organizations through the lens of organizers. Although the study is limited to this case, the author demonstrates how these organizations differ despite serving overlapping constituencies and facing similar political hazards. He seeks to explain why some organizations effectively empower poor, marginalized, and exploited populations while others weaken the struggle for justice, freedom, and abolitionist demands.

Forrest argues that social justice organizations encounter resistance from social, economic, and institutional forces seeking to displace, subvert, and destroy movements to abolish oppression. These factors include neoliberal ideology encouraging the marketization of public goods like education. Combined with demands placed on workers and individuals operating under capitalism, social justice organizations experience unequal participation and access to resources based on socioeconomic status Like Martin Gilens argued in Affluence and Influence, th

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