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New Media We Recommend

October 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.

Consensus: A New Handbook for Grassroots Social, Political and Environmental Groups, by Peter Gelderloos – With the recent Occupy Wall Street movement it is clear that more people are being introduced to the idea of using a consensus model of decision making instead of voting or majority rules. While consensus is becoming known to a broader audience, there is always the danger of misunderstanding or misusing the process. This new handbook on consensus is a wonderful tool for people who want to explore the decision-making power of this truly democratic process known as consensus.

Against Equality: Queer Critique of Gay Marriage, edited by Ryan Conrad – The LGBT community has expended a great deal of energy in recent years over the legal fight to allow same sex couples to marry. This new collection of essays and interviews provides fiery and compelling arguments against expanding the state sanctioned institution of marriage to the LGBTQ community. All of the authors identify as queer and argue that state sanctioned marriage is a dead end to assimilation within a hetero-dominant culture. Many of the essays also argue that marriage is the perfect institution for promoting and extending the dominance of capitalism. More importantly, the authors argue that gaining the legal right to marry does nothing to stop the level of suicide amongst LGBTQ youth, homelessness, lack of work place rights or immigration policies. This book is so important that it should be given to every LGBTQ organization/organizer and straight allies.

Zombie Capitalism: Global Crisis and the relevance of Marx, by Chris Harman – This new book by Chris Harman is not only timely it is an important contribution to the ongoing discussion about the current economic crisis. Harman provides substantial historical background of Marxism, but then extends that critique to the 20th and 21st Centuries. The author then provides an analysis of the 2008 financial crisis within this historical framework to make the point that capitalism is not just in crisis, it is the crisis. Harman looks at how capitalism has evolved and adapted in recent decades, but he ultimately argues that because of certain ecological and human limits that it is a system that is doomed to fail. Zombie Capitalism is a useful contribution to the current collective discussion about what is wrong with the economic system and how we can create a new one.

If A Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (DVD) – Beyond the headlines and the state propaganda, there is a story about the people who have decided to take a stand for the planet and actually try to stop the current ecological rampage. This film investigates some of the people involved with the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), what motivated them to take stronger actions and how they have been labeled domestic terrorists. If A Tree Falls is a powerful film that not only confronts viewers with the seriousness of the current ecological catastrophe, but sheds light on the repressive tactics of the state being used to protect corporate power. An important film that could influence the future of activism.

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