Over the last two decades the North American Left has attempted a series of political interventions in local government. Yet the problems, achievements and prospects of these city initiatives have rarely been analyzed: Nicaragua is better charted than Roxbury, Youngstown or Oakland. This book, written by leading activists, fills that gap to provide an in-depth assessment of radical municipal initiatives throughout the United States, including struggles against gentrification and domination by local elites and political machines, and for community economic development and democratic participation in planning.
The book moves from Berkeley, Burlington and the Yukon, through the Black Democratic regimes of Chicago and Los Angeles, and on to the coalitions of Boston and New York — taking in accounts from the Alabama Black Belt, Phoenix, Montreal and Mexico City. The authors draw a balance sheet on local progressive projects, but the issues raised are international: Can economic populism work without an economic base? What are the dangers of coalitionism? Can grassroots organizing really lead to dramatic political realignment?
Fire in the Hearth shows how activists are taking the fight for regional empowerment forward. It is essential reading for anyone wishing to under-stand the trajectory of the Rainbow challenges on America's horizon.
Contributors: Frances Beal, Ellen David-Friedman, Barbara Day, David R. Diaz, Mauricio Gaston, Davita Silfen Glasberg, Tom Good, Marie Kennedy, Staughton Lynd, David Moberg, Gus Newport, Jonathan Pierce, John Ross, Susan Ruddick, Chris Tilly and Dick Walker.