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What We Are Reading

November 12, 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.

Dancing with Dynamite: Social Movements and States in Latin America, by Benjamin Dangl – This book is a great sequel to Dangl’s first book on Latin American social movements, The Price of Fire. Like the first book Dangl provides sharp analysis of social movements in Latin America, not from the halls of academia, but as someone who has spent significant time talking with and observing movements from below. What makes this book so important is Dangl’s assessment of how popular movements in Latin America interact with the State. The author believes that their strength and ability to makes changes is because these movements have remained independent of political parties and know when it makes sense to endorse state actions and when to fight the state. A useful book for those seeking to understand the impact social movements have on making change in Latin America.

The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book, by Gord Hill – Native writer and comic book author Gord Hill has given us a gem with The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book. Hill depicts through words and drawings how numerous Native communities have resisted conquest over the past 5 centuries, with examples from the Incas, Mapuche, Pueblo, Apache, AIM and the Zapatistas. Hill pulls no punches in showing that this resistance has often resulted in Native people using force to defend their communities and the land they inhabited. The book also includes an introductory essay by Native American activist and scholar War Churchill.

 

Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel’s War Against the Palestinians, by Noam Chomsky & Ilan Pappe – This is a collection of essays and interviews with two of the most outspoken authors on Israeli policy towards the Palestinians. Chomsky & Pappe have spent the last 40 years critiquing and challenging Israeli state policy often at personal risk. The book deals with Israel’s campaign of ethnic cleansing in 1947-48 all the way up to the 2008-09 assault on Gaza. For anyone looking to understand what drives Israeli policy against the Palestinians this book is an excellent choice that will answer important questions.

Debt, The IMF, and the World Bank: Sixty Questions, Sixty Answers, by Eric Toussaint & Damien Millet – The global economy is often times difficult to wrap one’s head around, especially when it involved the role of the IMF and the World Bank. Toussaint and Millet have done us a great service in laying out a critique of these institutions in a sixty questions and answers framework. In addition, the author present relevant information on the issue of debt that has been imposed on poorer, often called “developing countries.” This is an excellent populist text that would be useful for both educators and organizers alike.

 

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Micah permalink
    November 12, 2010 3:37 pm

    Ben Dangl’s book is a very good read. His observations on social movements in Latin America have a lot to say to members of social movements in the U.S. Shameless plug: I did an interview with him for Alternet that’s been up for a few days:

    http://www.alternet.org/books/148810/when_citizens_are_merely_political_spectators_they_get_rolled_over_by_the_political_class

  2. Kate Wheeler permalink
    November 12, 2010 5:50 pm

    What a fantastic interview, Micah. You really captured a lot of good information.

    As I read it, I thought–as I often do when reading something substantitve about Latin America–how completely absent it is from our own mainstream news cycles. We don’t come across information about the resistance movements, the coup attempts, etc. in our daily lives; it really takes work to find out what’s going on there. Our insulation as Americans, and our indifference, is shameful.

    Thanks for posting this link.

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