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New Media We Recommend

October 17, 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.

Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire, by Deepa Kumar – On of the more insidious consequences of the US War on Terror has been the demonizing of Islam. For many in the US, Islam is equated with terrorism and that has serious consequences. Deepa Kumar has done us all a great service in her new book Islamophobia. Kumar not only provides readers with a solid analysis of what Islamophobia looks like in the US since 9/11, she provides thorough background into the centuries of anti-Islamic ideology that has permeated much of the west and academia. The analysis presented in this book is not just an intellectual argument, it demonstrates that those who practice Islam have been the targets of harassment, intimidation and violence from both the general public and the state. Islamophobia is an unsettling read, but it is also an important tool in the fight against the so-called war on terror.

The Real Cost of Prisons Comix, by Lois Ahrens – The Real Cost of Prisons has been a project for more than a decade, where prison abolitionists have looked at the growth of the Prison Industrial Complex. This book is a result of their work and their vision about how to communicate the complexities of incarceration in America through comics. There are three separate comic books with The Real Cost of Prisons Comix. The first deals with how prisons are built and who really pays for them. The second commix is a look at how the War on Drugs has become the largest contributing policy to cause the US prison population to explode. The last commix deals with how prisons impact women and children, both women in the prison industrial complex and those who have loved ones within the system. There are also a few short essays included in the book, but these comics are a fabulous tool that could be used for anyone in high school and older and wants to understand the US prison system.

Blood on the Tracks: The Life and Times of S. Brian Wilson, by S. Brian Wilson – I first met Brian Wilson in 1986 in Washington, DC at a conference for those involved in the Central American Sanctuary Movement. Wilson and other US veterans were fasting against US military aid to the Contras and they addressed the audience in DC. I met Wilson again in 1988 in Guatemala, while working for Peace Brigades International. Wilson was traveling to Nicaragua with a delegation against the US-back war. There was one notable difference the second time seeing Wilson. He had lost his legs. In 1987, Wilson and others were part of a campaign to shut down a munitions rail line on the west coast, munitions that were being sent to Central America. Part of the campaign involved people lying on the tracks and then notifying the company that they would be taking this action to either delay or stop the weapons from being shipped. On one fateful day in the summer of 1987, the train operator wouldn’t stop and Wilson had both of his legs severed. Blood on the Tracks is a powerful autobiography of an amazing person who went from Vietnam Veteran to one of the most committed anti-war activists in this country. A compelling read, highly recommended.

Pink Ribbons Inc (DVD) – Pink Ribbons Inc is an investigation into the insidious cooptation of the breast awareness movement, where corporations use the pink ribbon to not only make money, but to hide their own role in creating a toxic world that leads to breast cancer. Those critical of this reality call the pink ribbons on products – pinkwashing. A powerful film that demonstrates once again how capitalism will co-opt any and all causes, given the chance.

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