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New Media We Recommend

December 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.

The United States of Fear, by Tom Engelhardt – This new book, by the creator of TomsDispatch, is one of the best critiques of US foreign policy in the Bush/Obama years. Engelhardt not only writes well, he presents information in a way that would allow you to talk with anyone sitting in a bar about what drives US foreign policy. While the book is focused on post-9/11 policy matters, the author weaves in other historic examples over the past century. Engelhardt covers issues like the US occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, the use of private mercenary forces, US bases abroad, the increased use of un-manned predator drones, military spending, the US intelligence establishment and the propaganda-like reporting from the major daily news sources on Washington’s activities abroad. Engelhardt makes it clear that not only have Bush administration policies continued since Obama took office, the current administration has actually gone further in some areas than the previous administration.

Class War 2012, by Eric Michael Moberg – Class War 2012 is a collection of essays that deal broadly with the topic of class warfare. Written in a populist-style, the essays cover a broad range of examples of resistance to oppression and slavery. There is a chapter on the Vietnamese resistance, Algerian resistance, the Mexican resistance of 1910 and today, the Haiti Slave revolt and Native American resistance to US colonialism. Readers will learn of the courage of Geronimo, Ho Chi Minh, Comandante Ramona, Emiliano Zapata and countless people who have fought is campaigns of liberation. The book also is mixed with criticism of US corporate control of the electoral system, the power of corporations and the attack on the poor and middle class. Where the book falls short is not linking the great examples of resistance Moberg cites with the possibility for resistance in the US today. He does cite the Occupy Movement, but most of his recommendations focus on electoral reform, redirecting funding from the military to social spending and better government regulation. It’s as if the author didn’t learn from his own examples from history about how change has come about around the world. Despite this flawed analysis, mot of the book is valuable and inspiring.

Anarchism and Its Aspirations, by Cindy Milstein – If anyone is looking for a clear articulation of the principles of the political philosophy of anarchism, Cindy Milstein’s small book would be an excellent choice. Milstein presents anarchism is a very readable and practical way. Her presentation of anarchism consists of current and historical examples, demonstrating the viability of such a political philosophy. The author also discusses ideas such as autonomy, horizontal organizing, accountability, liberation, freedom, affinity groups, direct democracy, direct action and the importance anti-capitalist analysis. In addition, Milstein talks about why joy, spontaneity and beauty are also central aspirations of anarchism. A short, powerful book that should be in the back pocket of all those who truly want a better world.

The Camden 28 (DVD) – In August of 1971, 28 people participated in an action to take and destroy draft records from a federal building in Camden, New Jersey. This film documents that action with archival footage and interviews with most of the 28 who were arrested for protest the US war in Vietnam. What is interesting about this case is that there was one person, who was a friend of several of the protestors, who had cooperated with the FBI to thwart the action. The film deals with this infiltration and the sense of betrayal by many. The Camden 28 also includes information about the trial, where Howard Zinn gave testimony on the real reasons for the US actions in Vietnam. An excellent film that not only reveals something about US resistance to the Vietnam war, but what motivates and gives people courage to take such actions.

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