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New Media We Recommend

July 15, 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.

Howard Zinn on History – This newly released collection of essays is another marvelous tribute to the man who gave us another way of viewing history in his seminal work A People’s History of the United States. These essays cover 5 decades and include themes like direction action, freedom schools, Columbus, beyond voting, radicalism, socialism and the US as Empire. Zinn’s style and personal commitment to working for systemic social change make these essays timeless and are a real tribute to how history can be both documented and taught. Highly recommended!

Stop Signs: Cars and Capitalism on the road to economic, social and ecological decay, by Bianca Mugyenyi and Yves Engler – For anyone concerned about the future of the planet and particularly global warming, this book clearly demonstrates that we need to make a radical shift in transportation. The co-authors show that more than any other consumer items cars have had more of a damaging ecological impact than any other commodity we have used in the past 100 years. Their book is written somewhat like a travelogue as they both attempt to move across the US and find that it is nearly impossible without a car. More importantly they look at the economic, class and sociological impact of cars and not just the environmental impact. Stop Signs is an important and sobering book about the urgency of our times.

Ours to Master and to Own: Workers’ Control from the Commune to the Present, by Immanuel Ness and Dario Azzellini – This book was one of those history books that leaves you feeling mad that you were not taught this information in school. There is such a rich history of worker councils, workers communes and worker owned enterprises that gives one hope that more of this could happen if we were just aware of it. The co-authors take us through the last 150 years to show that all over the world workers have been deeply committed to creating structures based on cooperation for the purpose of wanting more than just better wages. Worker run operations are also highly committed to different economic models, models that are in direct conflict with Capitalism. Ours to Master and to Own is an inspiring book that demonstrates we don’t have to follow the so-called free market model and attend business school in order to provide basic services for our fellow humans. This book can provide us with lessons on how we need to restructure our economic system that is not simply limited to buying local.

The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman (DVD) – This new documentary is a powerful film about the real status of public education in this country and a scathing respond to the privatize mantra that is the core message of last years’ film Waiting for Superman. The film is produced by New York educators and includes lots of information on campaigns to fight the privatization of public education. The film relies heavily on both parent and student perspectives, which gives the film more authenticity than just having experts comment. An important film for all communities faced with budget cuts and private sector forces that want to take over public education.

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