How can we build a better world? And why do so many people with privilege end up making things worse when they try to help? It’s called the savior mentality, and Jordan Flaherty finds it in FBI informants, anti-sex-work crusaders, Teach For America corps members, and out-of-touch journalists. No More Heroes celebrates grassroots challenges to these saviors and highlights movements focused on real, systemic change from the Arab Spring to Black Lives Matter.
Praise for No More Heroes
“In this marvelous, enormously instructive book, Jordan Flaherty explores how we too often allow the struggle for change to be undermined by would-be saviors—and how today’s grassroots social movements, led by communities on the frontlines of crisis, are charting a far more powerful path forward.” —Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything
“Part memoir, part history, part political critique, No More Heroes exposes the savior complex for what it really is: imperialism camouflaged as a rescue operation. A perfect gift for the age of Trump.” —Robin D. G. Kelley, author ofFreedom Dreams
“In No More Heroes, Jordan Flaherty upends the world. You might think you understand the issues of sex workers, disaster victims, and the poor, but through this series of personal stories from the front lines of these fights, No More Heroes demonstrates that our best intended assumptions are often wrong. Read this book before your misguided good intentions do more harm to your pet causes than good.” —Lolis Eric Elie, Writer, HBO’s Treme
“From left -wing vanguards, Teach-For-America, and charitable foundations, to the power of military interventions, Jordan Flaherty shows how rhetorics of commercial culture and corporate media re-appear as ‘moral’ arguments to justify domination. This is an original interrogation of destructive control masquerading as ‘help.’” —Sarah Schulman, author of Conflict Is Not Abuse
“Jordan Flaherty is one of America’s most committed journalists writing from below and to the left. His work lifts up voices rarely heard in media as he focuses on the tireless, courageous work of marginalized communities building collective power. At a time when many movements are increasingly aligned with the dangerous neoliberal notion of individual saviors, Jordan reminds us there are no masters in the path to love and liberation.” —Harsha Walia, author of Undoing Border Imperialism
“Compelling and accessible, this book may be challenging for folks with privilege—especially cisgendered straight white men—to read as it demands they ask searing questions that may indict them and their behavior, but Flaherty shows clearly that is exactly what privileged people have to do, because oppressed people stare these realities in the face every day—and when we blink, we die.” —Walidah Imarisha, author of Angels with Dirty Faces
“Jordan Flaherty...has learned through personal experience and from listening to those who are marginalized just how dangerous it can be for would-be superheroes (even those with the best intentions) to take up the cause of justice, absent a real grounding in the solidarity and accountability necessary to bring true liberation. This is a unique and compelling contribution to movement literature, written with a humility that is as powerful as it is genuine.” —Tim Wise, author of White Like Me
“No More Heroes gives us all another opportunity to do what it will actually take to create liberation in our lifetimes: trust them most impacted, come together across forms of oppression, and most importantly throw away the scarcity-based, fragile individuality that privilege teaches us to defend. Let it go, and embrace the humbling, collective work of getting free.” —Alexis Pauline Gumbs, author of Spill
“Jordan Flaherty’s No More Heroes is a both fascinating documentation of recent movement history that I enjoyed the hell of out reading, and an example of solidarity journalism at its best. From cautionary tales about rapey manarchist ‘saviors’ who turn out to be FBI informants, to a breakdown of why most of the people trying to ‘save’ sex workers actually cause violence and damage, this book is essential literature for movements and people trying to figure out how to do right and not play into the ableist charity and savior models that have been killing us for too long.” —Leah Piepzna-Samarasinha, author of Dirty River
“No More Heroes is a vitally useful intervention in the current political moment. Spot-on analysis, gripping examples, and a clear, urgently necessary argument about how we need to re-think harmful ‘rescue’ frames and the leadership models they foster will make this book immensely useful to contemporary movements. ” —Dean Spade, author of Normal Life
“No More Heroes is an a much-needed critique of unchecked leadership within causes and social movements. At a time when media latches onto figureheads and sound bites, Jordan Flaherty helps us understand how new movements are able to be democratic, decentralized and effective in changing policy and rewriting discourse.” —Francesca Fiorentini, Host and Producer of AJ+
“If you are earnest in the desire to be a good white ally, if you are a Black male looking to support his sisters in struggle or a cisgendered male trying to find his way in the fight for LGBTQ liberation, you must read this book.” —Max Rameau, author of Take Back the Land
“From Jordan Flaherty, the journalist who broke the story of the Jena Six, comes this thrilling people’s history of current movements for revolutionary change. A powerful, engaging, exciting book for anyone concerned about the state of the world.” —Cynthia McKinney, former Georgia congresswoman
“Longtime movement journalist Jordan Flaherty grounds his analysis of the money, power, and seductive ideology driving the present-day savior impulse in the brutal histories of colonial domination and racism. A wake-up call to decolonize US-based activism and international solidarity work, everyone interested in social change should read this book.” —Anjali Kamat, independent journalist
Jordan Flaherty has produced news and documentaries for Al Jazeera’s Fault Lines, The Laura Flanders Show, and Democracy Now. He is an award-winning journalist who has appeared on television and radio shows including Anderson Cooper 360, CNN Headline News, and News and Notes on NPR. He is author of Floodlines: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six.
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz is the author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States.
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