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New Media We Recommend

January 27, 2011

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 books are available at The Bloom Collective, so check them out and stimulate your mind.

All Labor Has Dignity: Martin Luther King Jr., edited by Michael Honey – This book is a collection of speeches that Dr. King gave over the years that focuses on economics and labor issues. Many of them are being made available to the public for the first time. The editor does an excellent job of providing some context to each of the speeches, many of which gave before labor groups and working class people fighting for economic justice. The speeches are divided into three themes: the importance of a labor/civil rights alliance, challenging the racism within the labor movement and the Poor People’s Campaign. The book even includes a CD with audio recordings of Dr. King’s speeches. All Labor Has Dignity is an important contribution to reclaim the radical Dr. King.

Mountain Justice: Homegrown Resistance to Mountaintop Removal for the Future of Us All, by Tricia Shapiro – Beyond the information about the ecological and human health consequences of mountaintop removal, this book provides readers with stories an solid documentation about the campaigns being wage against this environmental catastrophe. People who read this book will no doubt be inspired by the actions of people from the Appalachians and those who have come to stand with the locals to fight against one of the most insidious forms of corporate plunder in recent decades within the US. Must reading for anyone who thinks that direct action is ineffective.

When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America, by Ira Katznelson – When people hear the phrase affirmative action they often associate it with policies put in place in the 1960’s that were designed to provide greater opportunities for women and people of color. However, as the author of When Affirmative Action Was White so eloquently documents, the federal government in the US didn’t start affirmative actions in the 60’s, they began in the 1930’s. Katznelson argues that many of the New Deal policies and particularly the GI Bill were designed to provide greater benefits to Whites, while often excluding racial minorities. An important contribution into the history of institutional racism in the US.

Scarred Justice: The Orangeburg Massacre 1968 (DVD) brings to light one of the bloodiest tragedies of the Civil Rights era after four decades of deliberate denial. The killing of four white students at Kent State University in 1970 left an indelible stain on our national consciousness. But most Americans know nothing of the three black students killed at South Carolina State College in Orangeburg two years earlier. This scrupulously researched documentary finally offers the definitive account of that tragic incident and reveals the environment that allowed it to be buried for so long. It raises disturbing questions about how our country acknowledges its tortured racial past in order to make sense of its challenging present.

 

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