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New Media We Recommend

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

What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism, by Fred Magdoff & John Bellamy Foster – With issues like global warming, species extinction and global deforestation, environmentalists have a great deal to fight against. However, unless we are willing to confront the fact that there can be no real sustainable solution under the current economic system of capitalism there will be no viable future. This is the basic argument that the co-authors of this book make, that at the root of our current environmental crisis is capitalism. Magdoff and Foster make a strong case in not only pointing out the current state of the environment, they make clear that global capitalism is not only the root of the major environmental problems we face today, it is incompatible with sustainability. Highly recommended for anyone who really wants to promote and practice environmental justice.

An Unfinished Revolution: Karl Marx and Abraham Lincoln, by Robin Blackburn – Did you know that Karl Marx was assigned by the Tribune to write about the US Civil War and slavery? Marx wrote quite a bit as a journalist and for the International Workingmen’s Association and he even sent a letter to Lincoln while he was President. Historian Robin Blackburn juxtaposes the writings of Marx with the evolution of Lincoln’s position on slavery and industrial capitalism in this intriguing book. Blackburn also looks at the US period of reconstruction and how both abolitionists and labor groups responded to the adjustments that capitalism made with the abolition of chattel slavery. In addition to the analysis the author provides the book also includes the writings of Marx and the proclamations and letter of Lincoln in the appendix, which makes for very interesting historical reading.

Goldstone Recants, by Norman Finkelstein – South African jurist Richard Goldstone was appointed by the UN along with other jurists to investigate the Israeli assault on Gaza in 2009. Goldstone and his colleagues published a fairly scathing report that indicted Israel with war crimes for its deliberate attack against a predominantly civilian population in Gaza. Then in April of this year, Goldstone recanted his position and said there was new evidence that caused him to change his mind. Israel/Palestine scholar Norman Finkelstein provides an important analysis of why Goldstone recanted in this 40-page booklet. Finkelstein asserts that Goldstone was pressured into making this reverse decision by both the Israeli power elite and Israeli apologists who reside in the US. Goldstone Recants is a timely and important response to Israeli propaganda, especially since their illegal occupation of Palestine continues with frequent military incursions.

Trail of Tears (DVD) – Produced by a Native American film company and using archival material, this documentary is an interesting investigation into the US government’s forced removal of the Cherokee Nation. What is now famously called the Trail of Tears is not only explored in this film it is put in proper context of what the larger US response to the “Indian problem” was throughout much of the 19th Century. The film uses recreated scenes, narration and commentary in the Cherokee language in order to better tell the story of one of the most brutal and inhumane actions against Native Americans. An excellent resource for educators and anyone interested in US history through the eyes of the indigenous inhabitants.

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