Power-Under: Trauma and Nonviolent Social Change

About This Book

“What is groundbreaking about Power-Under is the passion and intelligence with which Steve Wineman gathers together stories and insights about the nature of our wounding and the power of our choices and from them attempts to forge a set of strategies for changing the world in which we have all been so brutalized. How shall we carry our wounds? How should we remember? Like the policies of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa, Wineman seeks first to acknowledge the devastating nature of the wounds, and then to direct the rage of the traumatized, by conscious choice, into an assertion of humanity, into the deliberate decision that the cycle stops with us.... Power-Under is an act of walking forward, of imagining us into a state of wholeness, of opening a way.”

- From the Foreword by Aurora Levins Morales, Ph.D.,
author of Medicine Stories and Remedios

Power-Under offers important new insights that can help us to break cycles of violence. Analyzing connections between oppression, trauma, and internalized powerlessness, this book shows how trauma is a link in complex chains of domination. Because large numbers of traumatized people are both oppressors and oppressed, understanding internalized powerlessness is critically important for our ability to build effective social change movements. Strategies including nonviolent self-protection, humanizing the oppressor, and a new politics of compassion are proposed for mobilizing traumatic rage toward progressive ends. Power-Under is strikingly relevant to a post-September 11 world in which we need to mount resistance to chain reactions of violence.

Available Free Electronically

Power-Under can be downloaded at no cost in its entirety from this website, in PDF and PRC formats. The book is also available electronically at no cost by email (send request to steven.wineman@gmail.com).

Why This Book is Only Available Electronically

Power-Under is self-published. For a number of years I sold print copies at cost, as well as making the book available free electronically (follow link for download). I have decided to stop printing the book because of my deep concern about global warming and climate change. While the carbon footprint of producing and mailing print copies is relatively small, I believe that the urgency of the climate crisis calls for making every possible change that can reduce carbon emissions. The cumulative impact of billions of personal choices can have a significant, perhaps decisive, impact. I encourage you to download Power-Under at no cost and, if at all possible, to read the book on screen. If you do choose to print from the download, please do so selectively (key sections rather than the entire manuscript). If you print sections, I also encourage you to copy them into a new file, reduce the type size, and double-side what you print. Every choice involving energy and resources truly matters.

Essays by Steven Wineman

About The Author

Steven Wineman, Ed.D., is a mental health worker, writer, parent, activist for nonviolent social change, and survivor of childhood trauma. He is the author of The Politics of Human Services (South End Press).

Copyright Information

©2003 by Steven Wineman
Permission is expressly granted for any part or all of this book to be reproduced or transmitted in any form, by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, as long as the material is properly attributed to the author.

Updated Jan. 2008