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What we are reading

September 23, 2010

Below is a list of books that we have read in recent weeks. 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.

Antonio Gramsci, by Antonio Santucci – For those who have never heard of the Italian political prisoner, socialist thinker and cultural critic, this book is an excellent introduction into the life and thought of Antonio Gramsci. The author provides readers with a window into the political writings of Gramsci, as well as his prison notebooks. Gramsci was imprisoned by the fascist Mussolini regime and died in prison at the age of 48. His writings and his commitment to anti-capitalist thinking is an inspiration and worth investigating even today.

Common Ground in a Liquid City: Essays in Defense of an Urban Future, by Matt Hern – This was a fascinating book to read. Hern, who lives in Vancouver, discusses a variety of issues that fall under the broad category of urban life. The author does this by reflecting on what is happening in his city when he travels abroad. His experiences around the world force him to come to terms with what makes a vibrant city and what capital forces are at work that want to gentrify urban communities. For anyone interested in thinking about the future of cities, particularly one that does not favor the “creative class,” this book is an excellent resource.

Dismantling the Empire: America’s Last Best Hope, by Chalmers Johnson – This is a collection of essays written by Johnson during the end of the Bush years and the beginning of the Obama administration. In many ways this new book by Johnson picks up where his trilogy left off, with a critical assessment of the US Empire. Like his other books, the author provide important analysis of how the US functions as an empire. The book ends with a 10-point plan to dismantle the US Empire and even though his suggests are new, they do articulate a clear need for disarmament, and end to torture and the dismantling of US military bases abroad.

Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews Volume II, by Alan Hart – In this second volume, the former BBC reporter Alan Hart looks at the development of Israel after 1948 up to just before the 1967 War. Hart provides both personal experience as a reporter on Israel/Palestine and solid scholarly investigation into the role of the Zionist state. Hart’s access to Israeli leaders gives readers a first hand account of the relationship between Israel and the US prior to 1967. An important contribution to understanding the history of Israel and its policies.

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