Larry Kirsch and Rob Mayer release a new book -- Financial Justice: The People’s Campaign to Stop Lender Abuse, Praeger 2013

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“An extraordinary accounting of an issue campaign spearheaded by the policy vision of Elizabeth Warren, the organizing skills of Heather Booth and the legislative talents of Barney Frank – and powered by the people.  [This book is] essential reading for anyone who wants to learn how victory was achieved and use those lessons to continue the fight for economic justice.” - Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky

“Powerful interest groups seldom lose major battles in Congress, but that is exactly what happened when Congress created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2010.  Larry Kirsch and Robert Mayer have produced … an eminently readable and yet important account of the fight to establish the CFPB.  For those who care about consumer protection, want to learn how laws get passed and new agencies created, or just enjoy a good real-life David-and-Goliath struggle, this book is a must-read.” – Prof. Jeff Sovern, St. John’s Law School

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We are writing to make you aware of the publication of our new book on the citizen activists’ campaign against predatory lending abuse of homeowners and other everyday borrowers—practices that Elizabeth Warren described so vividly as the “tricks and traps” responsible for widespread personal hardship and deep global economic distress. Our book, titled Financial Justice:  The People’s Campaign to Stop Lender Abuse, (Praeger-ABC/CLIO) immerses the reader in the citizen advocates’ campaign to pass the landmark Dodd-Frank Act and to create a watchdog Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In-depth interviews with the principal players, some whom you know and others who may be unfamiliar, provide a rich and insightful insider account of applied citizen politics. We learn, firsthand, about activist leadership, campaign strategy, and the mobilization, preservation and, self-governance of a broad, cross-movement coalition. This information is presented in a lively way through a detailed narrative account of the legislative struggle to pass comprehensive financial reform and through case studies of important victories and significant challenges.

The book traces the conception and birth of the Consumer Financial Protection agency from Elizabeth Warren’s election cycle entreaty in 2007 to the presidential signing ceremony in July 2010.  In it, we:

  • argue that the unusual victory of average citizens over the most powerful financial interests was achieved by dint of political leadership, combined with the salience of the financial crisis to a broad, aroused constituency of working and middle class Americans. We demonstrate how the formal and informal rules adopted by the campaign protected it against fragmentation and incoherence
  • emphasize ways in which this progressive political campaign evolved beyond prior political models in terms of inclusivity, leadership experience, more favorable attitudes toward collaboration with political entities, greater commitment of political and financial resources, and a country-wide public communication’s strategy that made it possible to be heard in the public arena over the din created by well-organized industry voices
  • draw out the implications of the campaign for future citizen action via cross-movement coalitions
  • offer commentary in the form of a Foreword by Barney Frank and an Afterword written by Professor Norman Silber based on our interview with Elizabeth Warren.

Other words of praise for the book include:

Financial Justice tells the powerful inside story of how civil rights, consumer, labor and other public interest organizations worked together to play a crucial in role in creating the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, with the authority and the mission to stand up for families and protect our financial security. After years of reckless financial industry deregulation and rampant abuse, the fight for the CFPB resulted in a major civil and human rights triumph and a compelling chapter in the evolution of our democracy.” – Wade Henderson, president and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

 “The book combines great character portraits of important back-stage players that will interest the most demanding political junkie and meticulous research that will bring class discussions of social movements, interest group politics and consumer law alive.” – Peter Dreier, Dr. E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics, Occidental College

For more information about the book, please visit our website:

Larry Kirsch and Rob Mayer