Against Power Inequalities is a short history of the struggle for inclusive communities, recounting critical moments in opposing exploitation and oppression, and explains their inter-connections across time and nations.
It provides an accessible guide to the barriers to greater inclusion, how some of them have been overcome, and why significant challenges still remain.
Here are what some of the leading thinkers and practitioners have said about it:
“Henry Tam has written a book that is breathtaking in its panoramic overview of the genealogy of power inequalities and the struggles against them. ... In its forensic, but always optimistic, analysis of how citizens have worked in the past, and continue to work, towards a fairer, more just society, we have an inspirational example of a text that speaks truth to power.”
D. Reay, Professor of Education, University of Cambridge
“Henry Tam is a master storyteller. This is history retold as a panorama of struggle, hope and co-operation in the name of fairness and in the pursuit of an ever wider circle of respect and equality. The idea of community has deep roots in human behaviour and, as this book shows, in human history.”
E Mayo, Secretary General, Co-operatives UK
“Tam’s book is an intellectual tour de force, an erudite romp through the history of civilization that highlights the origins of power and the never-ending effort to democratize hierarchical systems through mobilized participatory communities. It bears reading and re-reading, because the issues of power and community are so fundamental, and the history so rich and evocative. One might call it, if Howard Zinn would permit, A People’s History of the World.”
C Derber, author of Greed to Green; Morality Wars; &
Corporation Nation; Professor of Sociology, Boston College (USA)
“In this thought-provoking book Henry Tam demonstrates that in times in which populist movements try to pit the people against the bearers of democratic institutions, we need to reconsider the relation between democratic decision-making and community life. ... Alongside social democrats and liberal reformers, Christian Democrats who are interested both in the history and in the future of their ideals, will derive inspiration from this work of a truly independent scholar.”
E M H Hirsch Ballin, Minister for Justice (The Netherlands)
“In recent times we have seen corporate greed stripped bare, and its ugliness and fraudulence displayed for all to see. … [W]ill we be able to fashion new forms of social organisation, based on reciprocity and human solidarity? Henry Tam takes us on an epic journey spanning more than two millennia of human ideas and endeavour, and reminds us that there is nothing inevitable about inequality of power and its attendant misery, and that alternatives based on enlightened enquiry, distributed power, and constant vigilance, are always to be found.”
S Wyler, Director, Development Trusts Association (UK)
“In Against Power Inequalities, Henry Tam tells the inspiring, global story of democratic struggles against concentrated power and offers guidance for progressives today. It is a broad, bold, and thoughtful manifesto for popular democratic reform.”
P Levine, Research Director, Jonathan Tisch College
of Citizenship and Public Service, Tufts University (USA)
"The author boldly claims that his book provides a historical guide to the progressive struggle for power redistribution, and draws out the underlying obstacles to the development of more inclusive communities. This is a mightily ambitious claim. ... Having read the new edition of Against Power Inequalities, I now recognise the power of his keyboard, and believe his claim for the book to be justified."
J Tizard, the Huffington Post (UK)
“Tam takes on a breathtaking sweep of philosophy, history, and world culture. Throughout this book, he tugs with a potent blend of indignation and optimism at a single thread: What happens when people do not have a fair share of power, and how we can counter it by creating a more inclusive society.”
D D Kallick, Senior Fellow, the Fiscal Policy Institute (USA)
“Henry Tam is pivotally involved in the promotion of active citizenship in the UK and has written extensively on the subject. His latest publication, Against Power Inequalities, is a tour de force, providing an authoritative and widely researched account of the development of inclusive communities worldwide.”
R Bolsin, General Secretary, Workers' Educational Association (UK)
"This book makes a thorough and compelling case for persevering with the struggle for more inclusive communities. For anyone concerned with activism and political change, it provides an invaluable touchstone to help understand the mechanics of autonomy and control."
D Tyler, Chief Executive, Community Matters (UK)
1. Reciprocity, Power & Inclusive Communities
2. The Origins of Power Concentration
3. Learning to Challenge the Powerful
4. Enlightenment Ethos & its Enemies
5. Freedom from the Abuse of Power
6. Collective Action for the Common Good
7. Progressive Triumphs and Setbacks
8. The Struggle in the Global Age
To purchase the e-book or paperback version, click on: Against Power Inequalities
The text of the original edition is available as a free pdf (1.7 MB) download from the Equality Trust.