Black Flags and Windmills

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More About This Title Black Flags and Windmills


Tracing a life of radical activism and the emergence of a grassroots organization in the face of disaster, this chronicle describes scott crow's headlong rush into the political storm surrounding the catastrophic failure of the levee in New Orleans in 2005 and the subsequent failure of state and local government agencies in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. It recounts crow's efforts with others in the community to found Common Ground Collective, a grassroots relief organization that built medical clinics, set up food and water distribution, and created community gardens when local government agencies, FEMA, and the Red Cross were absent or ineffective. The members also stood alongside the beleaguered residents of New Orleans in resisting home demolitions, white militias, police brutality, and FEMA incompetence. This vivid, personal account maps the intersection of radical ideology with pragmatic action and chronicles a community's efforts to translate ideals into tangible results. This expanded second edition includes up-to-date interviews and discussions between crow and some of today’s most articulate and influential activists and organizers on topics ranging from grassroots disaster relief efforts, both economic and environmental; dealing with infiltration, interrogation, and surveillance from the federal government; and a new photo section that vividly portrays scott’s experiences as an anarchist, activist, and movement organizer in today’s world.


scott crow is an anarchist activist, a community organizer, a writer, and the founder of social justice groups and education projects throughout Texas and the south, including Common Ground Collective, Dirty South Earth First!, the North Texas Coalition for a Just Peace, Radical Encuentro Camp, and UPROAR (United People Resisting Oppression and Racism). He has also trained and organized for many grassroots organizations, including ACORN, Forest Ethics, Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network, and the Ruckus Society, and is currently collaborating on a number of sustainable cooperative projects. He lives in Austin, Texas. Kathleen Cleaver is a senior lecturer in law at Emory University and was the spokesperson and first female member of the Black Panther Party’s decision-making body. She is the author of Liberation, Imagination, and the Black Panther Party and We Want Freedom. She lives in Atlanta.


“This revised and expanded edition weaves scott crow’s frontline experiences with a resilient, honest discussion of grassroots political movement-building.”  —Will Potter, author, Green Is the New Red: An Insider’s Account of a Social Movement Under Siege

“It is a brilliant, detailed, and humble book written with total frankness and at the same time a revolutionary poet’s passion. It makes the reader feel that we too, with our emergency heart as our guide, can do anything; we only need to begin.”  —Marina Sitrin, author, Horizontalism: Voices of Popular Power in Argentina

“This book is a key document in that real and a remarkable story of an activist’s personal and philosophical evolution.”  —Rebecca Solnit, author, A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster

“This is a compelling tale for our times.”  —Bill Ayers, author, Fugitive Days"The book is a great read by a great and dedicated activist." —Tommy Strange,"This new book is incredibly illustrative and should be of interest for any activist or aid worker looking to create a horizontal, decentralized and anti-authoritarian movement in their communities." —Trevor Hultner,"Equal parts memoir, movement history, anarchist polemic, and organizing handbook, the book traces Common Ground’s efforts to build collective power and self-sufficiency." —John Stehlin, MaximumRocknRoll"Black Flags and Windmills is a testament of what people can accomplish when they meet collectively on a common ground." —John DuBose, Anarchist Studies"crow’s personal writing is not hampered down with stale homogenized statistics, instead he shares personal stories of struggle and tragedy that read more like a novel at times than a current affairs political memoir." —Chris Steele,