New Media We Recommend
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.
Howard Zinn Speaks: Collected Speeches 1963 – 2009, edited by Anthony Arnove – This is a wonderful collection of speeches by radical historian Howard Zinn. Anthony Arnove, who collaborated with Zinn on several projects, has given us these powerful words by Zinn that cover a broad range of topics and gives us even more insight into his personal life. Zinn talks about why he became an historian and why he thinks history is so important to contemporary struggles. In these speeches, we can read how passionate Howard was to abolishing war, racism, economic exploitation and how dedicated he was to the idea that ordinary people are what makes up real social change in this country’s history. The collection of speeches covers a period from the Civil Rights movement, the anti-Vietnam War movement, all the way to the present. Zinn takes on government lies, the first amendment, the legacy of Columbus, civil disobedience and the idea of American exceptionalism. A fabulous collection.
Foodopoly: The Battle Over The Future of Food and Farming in America, by Wenonah Hauter – Just released, Foodopoly, is a well researched and well written investigation into the current state of food production in the US. Hauter, who is the Executive Director of Food & Water Watch, does a marvelous job of breaking down for readers the current framework for how food is grown/raised in the US within the agribusiness model. Hauter makes it clear that the food system in the US is unjust and unsustainable. She looks at problems of the for profit food system, the chemicals used, GMOs, CAFOs, the control of seeds and food policy. The book has only a brief discussion on what is happening to create a just food system in the US, but the real flaw of the book is that it’s emphasis on how to confront the current food system is through better regulation and financial incentives for local food production, both of which are too reformist and even a bit naïve in terms of the power that the agribusiness sector has in the current food system. However, the critique of the current system section, which is the bulk of the book, is well worth reading.
Anarchism, by Cindy Milstein – This is the last in a series of zines we have looked at from the Institute for Anarchist Studies. Cindy Milstein provides one of the most readable and beautifully written brief descriptions of both the spirit of anarchism and its practice. Author of several books and an active practitioner of anarchist principles, Milstein presents the origins of anarchist thinking, what distinguished it from other political philosophies and ways in which it can contribute to creating a healthier and more fulfilling society(ies) of equality and freedom. Milstein does not provide any real historical examples of anarchism in practice, of which there are plenty, but she does provide a valuable introductory tool for those who are new to anarchism and those wanting to spread its message of a society without hierarchies, where power is shared for the good of all.
Abused: The Pottsville Raid (DVD) – In May 2008, US immigration officers raided a meatpacking plant in Iowa and arrested nearly 400 workers. They were not given proper legal representation and sentenced to serve 5 months in jail, before most of them were deported. Abused presents the devastating effects of US Enforcement Immigration policies on communities, families and children. The film tells the gripping personal stories of the individuals, the families and the town that survived the most brutal, most expensive and largest immigration raid in the history of the United States and serves as a cautionary tale of government abuses. An important film for anyone concerned about immigration, the growing police state in the US, racism and what drives immigration policies of this country.