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New Media We Recommend

September 19, 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.

The Classroom and The Cell: Conversations on Black Life in America, Mumia Abu- Jamal & Marc Lamont Hill – Marc Lamont Hill has been visiting political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal for years. During that time they have had conversations about the prison industrial complex, activism, education, Hip Hop, Black Leaders, Black Masculinity and race in the age of Obama. This book is a transcription of those conversations. With passion, compassion and rage, these two Black men provide readers a cornucopia of insights into reality for Black Americans today. In addition, Hill and Abu-Jamal challenge the assimilation of their fellow Black Americans and the complacency of White Americans who have yet to come to terms with their privilege within the dominant culture. This collection of conversations is both delightful and compelling. Highly recommended.

Hooded Americanism: The History of the Ku Klux Klan, by David Chalmers – The public image of the KKK is vague and somewhat misunderstand. The history of the KKK, as presented by David Chalmers, is something that more Americans should become familiar with. Chalmers not only provides an excellent investigation into the origins and evolution of the KKK, he highlights their existence in many states across the country. The author makes it clear that while much of the activities of the Klan over the past one hundred and fifty five years have been directed at Black Americans, the Klan also has a long history of anti-Semitism, anti-Catholicism and anti-immigration. Another aspect of Chalmers book is the information on the Klan’s relationship to organized religion and the state, without which the Klan would never have been effective as it was in their campaigns of terror across the country. Hooded Americanism is an invaluable resource for those who want to come to terms with one of the most violent expressions of White Supremacy in the US.

The American Crucible: Slavery, Emancipation and Human Rights, by Robin Blackburn – Robin Blackburn has devoted much of his life to studying and writing about slavery worldwide. In The American Crucible, Blackburn provides us with another gem. This 500-page investigation into the institution of slavery in the Americas is equaled by its treatment of the various abolition movements throughout the Western Hemisphere. Building on his previous works, Blackburn provides us with a detailed history of slavery in the Americas, who the players were and how deeply entrenched their were within the formation and growth of many countries in both North and South America. At the same time Blackburn then presents readers with information on the varying abolitionist movements in the Americas and how many of those movements became the seed for continued struggles around human rights, many of which continue today. Blackburn demonstrates that the value of understanding history can be seen in what we do with that information today. One of the best books on slavery and abolition in the America.

Agrofuels: Starving People, Fueling Greed (DVD) – This 28 minute film takes an important look at the human and ecological impact that the increased production of agrofuels are having around the world. The film interviews people who have been impacted from agrofuel production, biologists and activists who have been resisting the agrofuel industry. The film covers all the important areas of agrofuel production, such as the impact on indigenous populations, workers, the destruction of forests, diversion of water and its contribution to global warming. The short documentary also includes a section on resistance to demonstrate that there is a growing international movement to stop the production of agrofuels. An important film about an urgent issue………..highly recommended.

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