From Here To There

The Staughton Lynd Reader

Unpublished talks and hard-to-find essays from legendary activist historian Staughton Lynd.

From Here To There collects unpublished talks and hard-to-find essays from legendary activist historian Staughton Lynd. The common theme is the conviction that humankind should reject capitalism and imperialism, and seek a transition to another world.

The first section of the Reader collects reminiscence and analysis of the 1960s. A second section offers a vision of how historians might immerse themselves in popular movements while maintaining their obligation to tell the truth. In a last group of presentations entitled “Possibilities” and a three-piece “Conclusion,” Lynd explores what nonviolence, resistance to empire as a way of life, and working class self-activity might mean in the 21st century.

In a wide-ranging Introduction, anarchist Andrej Grubacic considers how Lynd’s persistent concerns relate to traditional anarchism. Grubacic and Lynd advocate a convergence of anarchism and Marxism. Inspired by the Zapatista upheaval in Mexico, the two friends find lessons for radicals elsewhere in Zapatista ideas such as ‘mandar obediciendo,’ to lead by obeying. They believe that Zapatista practice helps to make concrete what a movement might look like that sought, not to take state power, but to control the nation state from below.

“I met Staughton and Alice Lynd nearly fifty years ago in Atlanta. Staughton’s reflective and restless life has never ceased in its exploring. This book is his great gift to the next generations.” –Tom Hayden

“Staughton Lynd’s work is essential reading for anyone dedicated to implementing social justice. The essays collected in this book provide unique wisdom and insights into United States history and possibilities for change, summed up in two tenets: Leading from below and solidarity.”
–Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz, author of Outlaw Woman

“This remarkable collection demonstrates the compassion and intelligence of one of America’s greatest public intellectuals. To his explorations of everything from Freedom Schools to the Battle of Seattle, Staughton Lynd brings lyricism, rigour, a historian’s eye for irony, and an unshakable commitment to social transformation. In this time of economic crisis, when the air is filled with ideas of ‘hope’ and ‘change,’ Lynd guides us to understanding what, very concretely, those words might mean and how we might get there. These essays are as vital and relevant now as the day they were written, and a source of inspiration for activists young and old.”
–Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved

“The Staughton Lynd Reader is a veritable treasure chest. Lynd shows unparalleled respect for rank-and-file movements. If you’re interested in broad social change and meaningful democracy, you simply must read Staughton Lynd.”
—Daniel Gross, IWW

Staughton Lynd taught history at Spelman College and Yale in the 1960s. He coordinated the hugely successful Freedom Schools during the Mississippi Summer Project of 1964. After moving to New Haven, Lynd became a spokesperson for opponents of the Vietnam war. He chaired the first demonstration against the war in Washington DC; in August 1965 he was arrested, together with David Dellinger and Bob Moses, in attempting to declare peace with the people of Vietnam on the steps of Congress; and in December 1965 Lynd, Tom Hayden, and Herbert Aptheker made an unauthorized and controversial journey to North Vietnam.

As a result of these activities Lynd was blacklisted as a university professor. He and his wife became lawyers. Since 1976 they have lived in Youngstown, Ohio, where Lynd worked almost twenty years for Northeast Ohio Legal Services. He filed lawsuits seeking to stop steel mills from shutting down. He represented retirees deprived of health insurance, workers affected by toxic chemicals, and other local victims of deindustrialization.

Together with Marty Glaberman, Stan Weir, and Daniel Gross of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), he developed and publicized ‘solidarity unionism’: the idea that workers should rely on their own direct action and seek horizontal relationships with similar groups in other workplaces.

Since retiring from Legal Services in 1996, the Lynds have represented prisoners confined at Ohio’s first super-maximum prison, and five men sentenced to death after an 11-day prison uprising in 1993.

Staughton Lynd turned eighty in November 2009. Throughout, he has affirmed that another world is possible and sought means to get from here to there.

Andrej Grubacic is an anarchist dissident, historian and sociologist who has written prolifically on anarchism and the history of the Balkans. He is a lecturer at the ZMedia Institute and San Francisco Art Institute. Grubacic is a founding member of the Global Balkans network of the Balkan anti-authoritarian diaspora, and ZBalkans—a Balkan edition of Z Magazine on whose editorial board he also sits. He is or has been active as an anarchist organizer in networks such as Planetary Alternatives Network, the post-Yugoslav coalition of anti-authoritarian collectives DSM!, Peoples Global Action, the World Social Forum, Freedom Fight and, most recently, as a program director for the Global Commons. His works include Wobblies and Zapatistas (with Staughton Lynd), books in Balkan languages, chapters and numerous articles related to anarchism, as well as the history and utopian present of the Balkans.

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