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New Media We Recommend

March 24, 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.

Queer America: A People’s GLBT History of the United States, by Vicki Eaklor – This new addition to the People’s History series is a refreshing contribution to a history that has been suppressed and marginalized. The author does a good job of providing a broad history of the LGBTQ movement in the US, its evolution and its struggle. Eaklor not only follows a chronological timeline of the history of this movement, she highlights the tensions within the movement, particularly between those within the movement that simply wanted to be accepted by American society and those which want liberation. This is an ongoing tension in the LGBTQ movement, which is why the history of this struggle, highlighted in Queer America, is so important for those who care about this issue in the present.

Art in Public: Politics, Economics and a Democratic Culture, by Lambert Zuidervaart – As we noted last week in our interview with Lambert Zuidervaart, this new book was launched in Grand Rapids. Art in Public is an important contribution to our understanding of the role of art in society, but also important because it challenges us to this about civil society and the failure of free market capitalism. Zuidervaart gives us some very useful analysis for reframing discussions around art, public space, funding, and commercialism. In fact, the book is a great vehicle that could be used around the ongoing debate about ArtPrize.

Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners, by Suzanne Ashworth – This book is an excellent contribution for those who not only want to save money, but preserve the genetic diversity of seeds that are being threatened by the likes of Monsanto. The book provides very practical tips on seed saving and seed planting for vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers. Seed to Seed is an extremely valuable resource for the future of sustainability, particularly now that the US government has made it a criminal act to save seeds based on the influence of Argi-business in passing what is called the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011. Like much of what happens with the DIY movement, those in power are threatened by the public’s desire to have autonomy.

American Outrage (DVD) – This film is a powerful story about two Native American sisters who have been fighting the US government for decades. Carrie and Mary Dann, who are members of the Western Shoshone Nation, have been fighting the US government over land use issues and the devastating effects of mining on their land. In many ways this film embodies the more than a century-long struggle to move Native people off of their lands in order to have access to natural resources that fuels the US imperial project. The film is both informative and inspiring and is a great resource for those who want to be allies in the struggle for Native American autonomy.

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