[Marxism] Book recommendations from Max Elbaum

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Sep 25 13:51:14 MDT 2009


Friends and family,

It's another year in which many friends have written and published 
books. And very good ones too! In today's so-called "media environment" 
it's not easy for volumes that aren't promoted by corporate giants to 
gain a significant audience. So that's an additional reason to check out 
one or more of the valuable works listed below.

I'll begin though with a heads up about an interactive workshop on 
today's economic crisis and a manuscript that is still a book-to-be.

MELTDOWN is a lively and participatory workshop that gets the audience 
talking in depth about the roots of the current crisis and the way the 
banking system really works. Put together by Eileen Raphael and the Just 
Economics team, it's already been used by a dozen community groups from 
Boise, Idaho to Montclair, New Jersey. See an excerpt on the web and get 
full info at http://drpop.org/organizing-clinic/

TURN TO THE WORKING CLASS: THE NEW LEFT, BLACK LIBERATION AND THE U.S. 
LABOR MOVEMENT (1967-1981) by Kerry Taylor is the kind of detailed study 
of left experience we need a lot more of. The manuscript is available 
now at www.revolutionintheair.com in the Left history section. Kerry 
would appreciate your comments as he prepares to turn this version into 
a book. There are other new items on the Revolution in the Air site as 
well: a second manuscript on the work of revolutionary organizations in 
the U.S. South in the 1970s, a new review, new reader comment and 
previous Books-by-Friends messages from 2007 and 2008 in case you missed 
those.

Now to the books:

Rick Rocamora’s new book of photographs, FILIPINO WORLD WAR II SOLDIERS: 
AMERICA'S SECOND CLASS VETERANS is full of the passion and purpose that 
has always characterized Rick's outstanding work. There's an intro by 
Rene Ciria-Cruz; ordering information is at 
http://filvetsbookproject.blogspot.com/. Rick isn't the only old friend 
I first met during the 1970s when I worked closely with the Union of 
Democratic Filipinos (KDP) who has a volume on the shelves now. Walden 
Bello's new book is THE FOOD WARS. Estella Habal's SAN FRANCISCO'S 
INTERNATIONAL HOTEL: MOBILIZING THE FILIPINO AMERICAN COMMUNITY IN THE 
ANTI-EVICTION MOVEMENT was flagged in a previous Books-by-Friends 
message. Also check out Davianna Pomaika'i McGregor's NA KUA'AINA: 
LIVING HAWAIIAN CULTURE.

My friend Paul Buhle from even further back - we met in SDS in the 1960s 
- is editor of the new volume THE BEATS: A GRAPHIC HISTORY, with artwork 
described as "vivid as the beat movement itself." Paul's recent efforts 
also include editing the graphic adaptation of Howard Zinn's A PEOPLE'S 
HISTORY OF AMERICAN EMPIRE, CHE: A GRAPHIC BIOGRAPHY, by Spain 
Rodriguez, and ISADORA DUNCAN: A GRAPHIC BIOGRAPHY, by Sabrina Jones. 
Another person I met (but wasn't then friends with) back in SDS days, 
Mark Rudd, has penned a memoir whose honesty about problems within the 
left matches its passion in denouncing racism and war. UNDERGROUND: MY 
LIFE WITH SDS AND THE WEATHERMEN is a welcome antidote to the fog of 
sanitized history and superficial romance that surrounds one of the more 
controversial strands of the righteous upheavals of the late 1960s.

For a different type of "underground" - underground commix - check out 
UNDERGROUND CLASSICS: THE TRANSFORMATION OF COMICS INTO COMIX, 
co-authored by Jim Danky. Info:
http://www.abramsbooks.com/Books/Underground_Classics-9780810905986.html

A remarkable slice of history brought to life is found in Barbara 
Epstein's THE MINSK GHETTO 1941-1943: JEWISH RESISTANCE AND SOVIET 
INTERNATIONALISM. Rod Bush's new volume, THE END OF WHITE WORLD 
SUPREMACY: BLACK INTERNATIONALISM AND THE PROBLEM OF THE COLOR LINE, is 
a deft exploration of the "long and complicated history of the relations 
between Black radicals and the world Left."

For on-the-ground experiences in U.S. politics, and their lessons, take 
a look at Mike Miller's inside story of the rise and decline of the 
Mission Coalition Organization, A COMMUNITY ORGANIZER'S TALE: PEOPLE AND 
POWER IN SAN FRANCISCO. John Delloro's volume, AMERICAN PRAYER, collects 
the original run of essays on the 2008 presidential election written by 
the author for the on-line column of the Asian American Action Fund.

As more fierce rounds loom in the battle for immigrant rights, you can't 
do better than the new reader issued by the Black Alliance for Just 
Immigration for a compendium of resources and perspectives. Full 
information on the new BAJI READER can be found at: 
http://blackalliance.org/main/?q=node/38

On the artistic and cultural fronts, this book is not by a friend of 
mine but it is about one: YOLANDA LOPEZ, by Karen Mary Davalos, analyzes 
the key themes running through Yolanda's exceptional body of work, 
including her groundbreaking Virgin of Guadalupe series of paintings in 
the late 1970s. Sesshu Foster's new volume, WORLD BALL NOTEBOOK, has 
been aptly termed "hybrid poetry that is scandalous in its revolutionary 
spirit and aims." And it's not yet too late to see the wonderful 
collection UP AGAINST THE WALL - BERKELEY POSTERS FROM THE 1960s curated 
by Lincoln Cushing. The full catalogue is on-line at the URL below; if 
you are in the Bay Area, the actual posters are on display at the 
Berkeley Historical Society through September 26: 
http://www.docspopuli.org/articles/BHS2009.html

Apologies in advance for any volumes I have missed, send me details so I 
can include them in next year's message.

Have fun reading, looking, and pondering…

Peace,

Max




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