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New Media We Recommend

April 20, 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 items are available at The Bloom Collective, so check them out and stimulate your mind.

Understanding White Privilege: Creating Pathways to Authentic Relationships Across Race, by Frances Kendall – I have found over the years that White Privilege is one of the hardest things for people to admit to. White privilege can often be quite subtle, but make no mistake it is pervasive and a necessary component to maintaining White Supremacy. In Understand White Privilege, Frances Kendell brings years of work as an anti-racism educator and activist. Kendell conducts workshops on understanding and confronting White Privilege and shares many stories from her work in this book. This book is an important contribution in our understanding of how White Privilege manifests itself in the world and what we can do to combat it.

Oppose and Propose!, by Andrew Cornell – For anyone involved in doing anti-oppression work, organized resistance, is part of a collective or works by the consensus process, your work is no doubt influenced by the efforts of the 1970 – 80s radical group The Movement for a New Society (MNS). The MNS was formed as an outgrowth of all the anti-war, feminist and anti-oppression movements of the 1960s. The people involved in the MNS began adopting more anarchist forms of organizing in their radical revolutionary work that involved collective living and using a consensus decision making model. Oppose and Propose! Is an excellent investigation into this movement with analysis and interviews with many of the founding members. Andrew Cornell make the case that the current anarchist movement in the US owes a great deal to the ground-breaking work of the MNS and he offers up some important criticisms of collectivism, consensus and radical organizing.

The Face of Imperialism, by Michael Parenti – Long time historian and radical writer Micheal Parenti has provided us with yet another important work. The Face of Imperialism not only gives readers important analysis on recent US foreign policy it challenges us to think about this policy as raw imperialism. Parenti takes head on the liberal notion that US foreign policy is benign, misguided or well intentioned. The author thinks that too many “left” writers frame US foreign policy as “bad policy” or policy that has “gone wrong.” Instead, Parenti argues that US foreign policy is blatantly imperialist in nature, both in terms of its economic and military actions. The author provides amble historical cases and emphasizes that the primary mechanism of US imperialism is through its economic policy of neo-liberal capitalism. An excellent investigation into why US foreign policy should be clearly named as imperialism.

The Good War and Those Who Refused to Fight in It (DVD) – We have all been propagandized to view the WWII generation of Americans as the Greatest Generation because of the sacrifices that people made during that period. This documentary challenges that notion by sharing the stories of some of the thousands of men who refused to fight in the so-called “Good War.” The testimonies of surviving conscientious objectors (COs) are both powerful and insightful in terms of what motivate people who did not believe that war is justifiable. In addition, the film provides information on how these COs not only transformed some of the institutions they worked in during their alternative military service but what influence they had on the anti-Vietnam war movement. An important contribution into this country’s rich tradition of anti-war resistance.

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