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New Media We Recommend

January 1, 2012

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 “S” Word: A Short History of an American Tradition……..Socialism, by John Nichols – Nation columnist and author of numerous books on corporate media in the US John Nichols has written a very interesting book about how much socialism and socialist policies have been apart of US history. Nichols chronicles how entrenched socialist policies and people advocating socialism have been deeply entrenched throughout this country’s history, from Thomas Paine to Walt Whitman and from Horace Greeley to Helen Keller. Nichols also sheds light on socialist policies advocated by labor movements and local municipalities for more than 150 years. A useful antidote to the claims from the far right that the Obama administration is engaged in socialist politics. Nichols provides documented examples of socialism that has been practiced in this country and it looks nothing like what the current administration is up to.

Against Equality: Don’t Ask to Fight Their Wars, edited by Ryan Conrad – This new short book by the radical queer group Against Equality is a collection of essays in response to the passage of the US military policy of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. These essays are a powerhouse of analysis of why the mainstream LGBT movement’s support for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell does nothing more than support oppressive institutions like the US military. The writers collectively challenge the assimilation politics of groups like the Human Rights Campaign, which primarily support policies that benefit members of the LGBT community that are White and more economically well off. The analysis provided in this collection of essays are important since they look at race, gender, class, colonialism and imperialism when discussing the highly problematic policy of allowing gay men and lesbian women to join the military. An important contribution to a growing body of work from growing radical queer community.

News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media, by Juan Gonzalez and Joseph Torres – News for All the People is simply one of the best book I have read on the US media in recent years. Gonzalez and Torres have given us a gift in understanding not only the history of media in the US, but how media has evolved through a race lens. The co-authors present part analysis of how racial minorities have been represented in US media, part history of US media policy and part history of minority produced media in the US over the past 200 years. There are amazing stories of when the first Black newspaper first began, the first Native American radio show and the incredible Latino broadcasters that did cross border organizing and information dissemination. News for All the People is not only a fabulous resource of media history, it is an inspiration and an affirmation of why media analysis and independent media are crucial to any social change work we undertake.

The Black Power Mixtape 1967 – 1975 (DVD) – This new documentary shows some never before seen footage of interviews with people involved in the Black Power movement in the US. Based on recently rediscovered film footage at a Swedish TV station, this documentary provides an interesting look at the message and actions of Black Power activists and organizers such as Stokely Carmichael, Elaine Brown, Eldridge Cleaver, Huey Newton, Bobby Seale and Angela Davis. Maybe the most powerful commentary is provided by Davis, when she responds to a questions from a Swedish reporter about the issue of violence. In addition to the archival footage there is also commentary by contemporary Black writers and musicians reflecting on the significance of the messages presented by those who identified with the Black Power movement. However, despite the power of these newly discovered interviews, the film lacks some historical analysis on the relevance of the Black Power movement for today.

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