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New Media We Recommend

January 6, 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.

Border Wars, by Tom Barry – A seasoned writer on US/Mexican relations, Tom Barry’s newest book provides an analysis of current immigration policy in the US. Barry provides an eloquent description and account of multifaceted aspects of US border policy, those of benefit and those who are victims of this policy. The short book is divided into just a few chapters and delves into the growing prison and detention center industry in the southwest part of the US since 9/11. Barry argues that communities that once had thriving economies now rely on federal dollars to fund prisons and detention centers as the war on drugs and the war against undocumented immigrants has increased. Barry also presents a picture of what it is like for those inside this labyrinth of “border security,” where conditions have led to the deaths of several victims of the anti-immigration hysteria that grips the nation. Border Wars is an important contribution to the limited debate on immigration policy in the US, even in progressive circles.

Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority, by Tim Wise – The latest book by one of the best anti-racism writers in America. Wise doesn’t provide much new information on the realities of racism and White Supremacy in the US, but he does give readers ways in which we can talk to people about this issue, particularly those that think that we live in a post-racial era. Wise continues to challenge liberal and progressive views about racism with well-documented data and sharp analysis that exposes the lack of limited sense of racial justice we have. Wise presents his analysis as responses to questions that overt and closeted racist often use, such as “what about personal responsibility for minorities?” Framing the book as a response to such questions makes it a powerful tool for doing anti-racist work. Highly recommended.

Too Many People? Population, Immigration and the Environmental Crisis, by Ian Angus and Simon Butler – Too Many People is a well written critique of the still pervasive belief within some environmental circles that human population is the primary cause of ecological destruction. The co-authors dismantle this claim and demonstrate that populationists are not only wrong in their assumptions, they are often racist and classist in their arguments. Too Many People also discusses the anti-immigration views of many environmentalists and the misinformed notion that environmental pollution is primarily the problem of consumers. The book argues emphatically that the roots of our ecological crisis are institutional and policy driven within a capitalist economy. An important contribution to the growing eco-socialist literature so vital in a country where climate denial exists on a massive scale.

Returning Fire: Interventions in video Game Culture (DVD) – There have been several books and films which investigate the cultural impact of playing violent, first-person shooter games. Returning Fire does something completely different, in that it takes a look at what three artists have done to respond to the war driven culture of the video game world. Narrated by Roger Stahl, author of the recent book Militainment, Inc, this documentary shows how Anne-Marie Schleiner, Wafaa Bilal, and Joseph Delappe moved dissent from the streets to our screens, infiltrating war games in an attempt to break the hypnotic spell of “militainment.” Beyond the creativity of what each of the artists do are the stories they share about how video gamers responded to their acts of resistance. A fresh look at this topic and an inspiration for what artists with a conscience can really do in the digital world.

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