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New Media We Recommend

September 27, 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.

Organize: Building from the Local for Global Justice, edited by Aziz Choudry, Jill Hanley and Eric Shragge – This new collection of essays and reflections comes from activist/organizers from New Zealand, Canada and the US. The topics that are dealt with range from immigration, gentrification, Palestinian solidarity, food justice, feminism, queer politics to class-based organizing. Besides the powerful stories of organizing around numerous justice issues, there are also numerous essays that deal with group dynamics, consensus, collaborating, the role of music & art, privilege and fundraising. This collection of essays and reflections provides the reader with lots of concrete tools for organizing, but more importantly, it provides us with lessons learned and best practices to do both the internal and external work when organizing for social justice.

Anti-Racism in US History: The First Two Hundred Years, by Herbert Aptheker – Many books, both popular and scholarly, have examined racism in the United States, but this unique volume is the first to examine the existence of anti-racism in the first two hundred years of U.S. history. Herbert Aptheker challenges the view that racism was universally accepted by whites. His book thoroughly debunks the myth that white people never cared about the plight of African-Americans until just before the outbreak of the Civil War. It is always refreshing to come across a book that not only provides new insight into issues, but one that demonstrates that there is a long history of anti-racist and anti-White Supremacy organizing and resistance in the US. An important book for those wanting to understand this history and those wanting to continue to make history doing anti-racist work.

Teaching What Really Happened: How to Avoid the Tyranny of Textbooks & Get Students Excited About Doing History, by James W. Loewen – From the author of Lies My Teacher Told Me and Lies Across America, this latest book by James Loewen is essential for those who teach US history and care about how it is taught. Loewen’s book is a treasure of examples and techniques that educators can use to both motivate and engage students about learning history. History is often the worst subject for students in K-12 grades, but Loewen provides a fabulous framework with which to see history as relevant, interesting and a tool for actually making history. The examples Loewen provides hit on key historical moments in US history that provide a perfect springboard to look at a variety of ways educators can approach teaching history that makes it come alive. Like the rest of his books, Teaching What Really Happened is a must read.

Pink Ribbons Inc. – All of us know a woman who has been diagnosed with or has died from breast cancer. We have seen or may have attended one of the thousands of breasts cancer awareness events or even worn the pink ribbon, but how much do we know about the breast cancer awareness industry. Pink Ribbons Inc is an amazing investigation into both the co-opting of breasts cancer awareness by corporations/capitalism and how we have failed to seriously question where the money that is raised from pink ribbon events/sales actually goes. Highly recommended.

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