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What We Are Reading

May 28, 2010

Below is a list of books that we have read in the past month. The comments are not a review of the books, instead sort of an endorsement of ideas and investigations that can provide solid analysis and even inspiration in the struggle for change. All these books are available at The Bloom Collective, so check them out and stimulate your mind.

Color-Blind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat From Racial Equity, by Tim Wise – In his sequel to Between Barack and a Hard Place, Tim Wise once again provides us with sharp analysis of the current racial politics in the US. While we are witnessing racist dynamics from Arizona’s immigration policy to Tea Party rallies, Wise argues that the bigger problem is what he names as “Post-Racial Liberalism.” Post-Racial Liberalism is the idea that racial inequities are no longer of much concern and that people of color are disproportionately in prison, in poverty and have limited economic opportunities because of “other factors.” Wise does a great job of exposing Post-Racial Liberalism and shows us how institutional racism is still deeply entrenched in the US.

New World of Indigenous Resistance, edited by Lois Meyer and Benjamin Maldanado Alvarado – A wonderful collection of essays by educators and indigenous organizers throughout Latin America. After centuries of colonization, indigenous communities are beginning to reject state educational system, which minimize or deny traditional cultures, language and learning practices. This book provides important voices from Bolivia, Guatemala, Mexico, Ecuador and Peru, which articulate the importance of communal autonomy when it comes to pedagogical practices.

Resistance Against Empire, by Derrick Jensen – Resistance Against Empire is a collection of interviews conducted by Derrick Jensen with a variety of activists and organizers that deal with topics that range from war to consumerism. Jensen interviews Juliet Schor, Christian Parenti, Alfred McCoy, Katherine Albrecht, Ramsey Clark, Anuradha, J.W. Smith, Kevin Bales, Stephen Schwartz and Robert McChesney. A great collection of interviews that continues the kind of dialogue that Jensen gave us in How Shall I Live My Life?

The Punishment of Gaza, by Gideon Levy – Gideon Levy is a journalist that writes for the Israeli paper Haaretz. The Punishment of Gaza is a collection of columns that Levy has written that deal specifically with life in Gaza and Israeli policy towards that Palestinian community from 2006 through 2009. Levy provides readers with a first hand account of what is really happening on the ground in Gaza. The journalist humanizes the US-backed Israeli policy of brutalizing Palestinians who have endured for decades.

The Politics of Genocide, by Edward Herman and David Peterson – The authors argue in this book that the use of the term genocide has been overuse and misused in recent decades, particularly by US administrations. Herman and Peterson investigate the differences between a high profile case like Rwanda and a little discussed in the West case like the Democratic Republic of Congo. The authors use the principles of the Genocide Convention of 1948 to assess which cases can actually be called genocide and which cases are not. Their analysis is also a critique of US foreign policy and how the US uses the term genocide when it suits US interests.

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