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New Media We Recommend

December 14, 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.

Moments of Excess: Movements, protest and everyday life, by The Free Association – This book is a collection of essays based upon the involvement and analysis of anti-capitalist mass actions from the WTO protest in Seattle through the end of 2010. The writers of this collective have been participants, organizers and critics of such actions that are generally classified as anti-globalization actions. Beyond the important analysis of these actions and “movements,” the essays attempt to expand the notion of movements and movement building. I found their assessment of the big action vs local action/organizing to be insightful and useful for ongoing discussion about how we spend our time and energy organizing and resisting neo-liberal capitalism.

Organizing Cools the Planet: Tools and Reflections to Navigate The Climate Crisis, by Hilary Moore & Joshua Kahn Russell – This 60-page pamphlet sure packs a punch. It not only presents compelling information about climate justice work and movements, it provides very practical organizing tools that people working on any issue could benefit from. The pamphlet includes information on movement building, building community, roles of an organizer, accountability, direct action and developing strategies. The pamphlet is designed with great graphics and lays out useful organizing tools and tactics that would be beneficial to anyone doing organizing work, but particularly for those to climate justice work. There is also a great resource section at the end. Highly readable and highly recommended.

Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of the Law, by Dean Spade – One of the best books I have read on organizing for social justice that emphasizes systemic change. Spade, who has a history of organizing in the LGBT community, provides important analysis on why organizing work needs to move beyond a rights-based approach and move towards for fundamental systemic change. For example, when people are confronted with the issue of an unfair and punitive immigration system the kinds of responses we sometimes see groups advocating for same sex marriage so that international couples can marry. Spade argues that instead we need to organize against the use of immigration policy to criminalize people of color, the exploitation of workers and the maintenance of US global hegemony. Spade also includes a critique of progressive and grassroots groups that have fallen into the non-profit industrial complex, thus abandoning their original, more revolutionary visions.

Creating Media That Makes an Impact (Compilation DVD)This compilation DVD by Brave New Films includes dozens of short films that focus on three broad areas. There are 26 videos by Cuentame, the immigration-rights group that has done amazing work over the past 2 years exposing anti-immigration practices and policies across the country. The second group of videos on this DVD compilation consists of numerous short videos on the US occupation of Afghanistan and related themes like US veterans and military spending. The last group of videos consists of several Brave New Films pieces done on the power and influence of the Koch brothers. An amazing compilation of videos packed onto one DVD that would be a useful resource for any groups working on immigration justice, anti-war organizing and pro-democracy work.

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