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New Media We Recommend

July 11, 2012

Below is a list of new materials that we have read/watched in recent weeks. The comments are not a “review” of the material, instead sort of an endorsement of ideas and investigations that can provide solid analysis and even inspiration in the struggle for change. All these items are available at The Bloom Collective, so check them out and stimulate your mind.

Imperiled Life: Revolution against Climate Catastrophe, by Javier Sethness-Castro – This is the most recent book in a collaboration between AK Press and the Institute for Anarchist Studies. Aside from the climate denial sector, we all know that global warming and climate change is one of the most pressing issues of the day. Indeed, if there is not significant reduction in carbon emissions in the coming decades, there may not be a future for humanity and many other species. The urgency of this issue is what makes Javier Sethness-Castro’s book so important. Imperiled Life provides readers with sharp analysis on how humanity has come to the brink of climate catastrophe, relying heavily on political theorists such as Arendt, Schell, Hardt, Negri and Chomsky. This analysis provides a framework for not only understanding how we got in this mess, it gives us an opportunity to advocate for something entirely new in terms of human organization, what the author refers to as an “ecological anarcho-communism.” In this model the author says that solidarity would be the basis for all inter-relating and “The prospect of an exit from the social and environmental barbarism depends critically on the autonomous action of the subordinated.” This autonomous action must be global in order to truly bring about revolutionary change. Highly recommended.

The Book of Obama: From Hope & Change to the Age of Revolt, by Ted Rall – Cartoonist, writer and activist Ted Rall has given us another thoughtful and passionate book, in a sequel to his The Anti-American Manifesto. In this book Rall is speaking to potentially two audiences, those who voted for Obama in 2008 and are now disappointed and those who are already calling for revolution. The bulk of the book is an analysis of the first three years of the Obama administration, with stories woven in about people losing jobs, having homes foreclosed, about those impacted by the BP oil spill, families who lost loved ones in one of the many US wars and people who are suffering because of the loathsome health care system in the US. Rall shows no love for Obama or the Democrats, but he’s not calling for reform or a third party. The cartoonist is calling for revolution and believes that the fair spontaneous uprising that became the Occupy movement is an indication that more and more people are tired of business as usual in this country. The text is accompanied by lots of Rall’s political cartoons, which provide graphic humor along with is commentary on the state of politics in the US. A delightful read, especially for those who don’t put stock in the electoral process.

Be realistic: Demand the impossible, by Mike Davis (pamphlet) – This short pamphlet by former SDS member Mike Davis is both a fabulous gauge for the state of things and an inspiring reflection on what is possible. Writing in the midst of the Occupy movement, Davis provides us with part activist memoir, part dissection of the current state of the world and part reflection of the possible. Davis refers to the revolutionary ethic of the Occupy movement as “cultivating the generosity of the we.” The author gives plenty of examples of what this revolutionary generosity looks like on the west coast, where he has lived most of his adult life. Like his other books, Be realistic, agitates, infuriates and inspires. A wonderful treat.

Dirty Business: “Clean Coal” and the Battle for Our Energy Future (DVD) – This film is a 90-minute documentary produced by the Center for Investigative Reporting that investigates the true cost of our dependence on coal for electricity in the age of climate change. Politicians and corporate interests have mounted a formidable public relations campaign promoting “clean coal” as a solution to our energy/climate problem. America burns more than a billion tons of coal a year—and coal-fired power plants are the single greatest source of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. Many of us are not aware that even now, in a world globally connected by the Internet, half our electricity still comes from this dirty, nineteenth century technology. DIRTY BUSINESS investigates the coal lobby’s $40 million dollar campaign to convince us that the technology to make coal “clean” already exists.

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