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New Media We Recommend

March 8, 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 Imperial Messenger: Thomas Friedman at Work, by Belen Fernandez – After years of being an apologist for American imperialism and American exceptionalism, someone has finally written a book that exposes New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. Belen Fernandez’ work is masterful, with sharp analysis and biting commentary on the arrogance of Friedman and his often dimwitted observations about the role of the US in the world. Fernandez critiques both Friedman’s books and his NYT columns. The 145-page book is a quick read, yet full of important analysis, particularly on Friedman’s take on the US since 9/11 and in the Israeli/Palestine conflict. For a study in how US journalists act as cheerleaders for empire, this book delivers.

Autoworkers Under the Gun: A Shop-floor view of the end of the American Dream, by Greg Shotwell – Long time Grand Rapids resident and labor activist Greg Shotwell provides us with a gem of a book in Autoworkers Under the Gun. This collection of short shop-floor reflections from someone who used to work in the auto industry and as a member of the UAW, gives readers a much-needed perspective on the auto-industry from the bottom up. Shotwell also provides us with an interesting look at the political tensions between rank and file workers and union bureaucrats. Shotwell began writing about these issues for a dissident group within the UAW known as the Soldiers of Solidarity under the column heading of Live Bait & Ammo. The retired union worker does what Howard Zinn challenged all of us to do…….tell history from the point of view that is different from those in power. Highly recommended.

Making the Future: Occupations, Interventions, Empire and Resistance, by Noam Chomsky – This most recent collection of short Chomsky musings covers the period of 2007 – 2011. The MIT Linguistics Professor who continues to write and speak demonstrates his continued commitment to challenging US hegemony. What is interesting about this collection of writings is that it begins at the end of the Bush administration and continues through the Obama years, demonstrating a seamless thread of US imperialism. In addition, Chomsky provides readers with a wonderful assessment of the revolutionary movements around the global, from the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street. Vintage Chomsky.

Granito: How to Nail a Dictator (DVD) – This feature-length documentary covers a 30-year journey by filmmaker Pamela Yates. As a young film student, Yates was in Guatemala during the early 80s, a period known as La Violencia – The Violence. Yates gained access to both the armed insurgents and the Guatemalan military and ended up with a film entitled, When the Mountains Tremble, a film that featured the young Guatemalan Indian activist Rigoberta Menchu. The story picks up years later when Yates becomes involved in the Spanish legal case against former Guatemalan dictator Rios Montt. Yates discovers that some of her archival film is a valuable resource in making a case against Montt, along with newly discovered Guatemalan documents that make the legal case for genocide charges more convincing. Granito is a powerful film about memory, justice and how a whole nation is attempting to heal from decades of brutal violence.

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