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New Media We Recommend

December 20, 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.fall-cover2s

The Beginning of the American Fall: A Comics Journalist Inside the Occupy Wall Street Movement, by Stephanie McMillan – Comic strip creator, author and activist Stephanie McMillan combines her talents in this new book from Seven Stories Press. Using comic strip illustrations and prose, McMillan uses her own journey of activism and organizing to offer up some useful insights into the Occupy Movement and the state of organizing in the US. McMillan takes on politics as process, consensus, racism, leadership and what kind of spaces Occupy has opened for insurgent movements and political analysis. McMillan also includes a written and visual account of a presentation she gave at the Earth at Risk conference in 2011, a presentation which demonstrates how well the author understands both power dynamics and how urgent the need for direct action is around issues like climate change. A delightful read that with both entertain and educate.

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The Changing Face of Empire: Special Ops, Drones, Spies, Proxy Fighters, Secret Bases, and Cyberwarfare, by Nick Turse – One of the best young writers on US foreign policy, this new collection of essays by Nick Turse just adds to his credibility as a solid critic of how the US military functions in the 21st Century. Most of these essays have previously appeared on Tom’s Dispatch, but putting them in one volume makes it easier to see the complexity of US militarism and the breadth of Turse’s analysis. The author covers a great deal of ground, as is reflected in the book’s title. However, what makes this book so useful is that in addition to all the data on US militarism, Turse puts in very plain terms the significance of US military trends and its relationship to social movements globally. The author makes it clear that the US military reach is far and wide, with particular growth in the Middle East and Africa. For those who wish to understand the role the US military plays in the world today and who don’t want to be duped by the claims of humanitarianism from the Obama administration, The Changing Face of Empire is a must read.Picture 1

Gender, by Jamie Heckert – Another solid zine from the Institute for Anarchist Studies Lexicon Series. This zine looks at the concept of gender and how it is fundamentally a social construct that not only leads to tremendous harm, particularly for those who are gender non-conforming, but how our limited views of gender can prevent us from truly being free in our own bodies in the world. Jamie Heckert does a fabulous job in this short zine of not only deconstructing gender norms, but if looking at gender norms and how it relates to other systems of oppression and how we can engage in resistance. As the author says, “Gender can be a pattern of control, violence, and domination. Or it can be just another way of talking about the beautiful diversity of human existence.

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Surviving Progress (DVD) – Ronald Wright, whose best-seller, “A Short History Of Progress” inspired this film, reveals how civilizations are repeatedly destroyed by “progress traps” — alluring technologies serve immediate needs, but ransom the future. With intersecting stories from a Chinese car-driving club, a Wall Street insider who exposes an out-of-control, environmentally rapacious financial elite, and eco-cops defending a scorched Amazon, the film lays stark evidence before us. In the past, we could use up a region’s resources and move on. But if today’s global civilization collapses from over-consumption, that’s it. We have no back-up planet.

 

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