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Reading for the Resistance
Unabridged Bookstore is excited to promote a new weekly series for 2017, #readingisresistance. Each week of 2017 we will feature a different title, either a new book or a classic text, that is relevant for one to remain informed, engaged and sane in these crazy political times. Read important books about what is happening in our world now. Read to escape, but also read to become informed. Read history books. Read current event books. Read as if your democracy depended on it, because it probably does. Reading is educating oneself. Reading encourages free thinking. Reading is the sharing of ideas. Reading is a political act. Reading is an antidote to cynicism. Reading recognizes demagoguery and rejects it.
READING IS RESISTANCE.
FEATURED TITLE: Week of March 20, 2017
A COLONY IN A NATION is a welcome addition to the current literature dealing with racial inequality, privilege, and the American Criminal Justice System. Hayes argues that there are really two Americas- a nation, where Americans are treated as citizens, and a colony, where people are treated as colonized and where policing resembles occupation. His brilliantly argued critique of “white fear” is essential reading, and Hayes helps reframe our thinking on the politics of American crime and punishment. A compelling, urgent read!
PAST FEATURED TITLES 2017:
TEARS WE CANNOT STOP is a powerful work of cultural analysis. It is a cry from the heart, a lament, an urgent book in the vein of James Baldwin's THE FIRE NEXT TIME and Martin Luther King's WHY WE CAN'T WAIT, told with righteous anger and unflinching honesty. It is moving, challenging, sometimes uncomfortable and provocative, covering the ideas of white privilege, the culture of whiteness, the power of language, black subjugation, the myth of white history as American history, and personal reparations, complete with an amazing reading list to encourage further learning. Read and be prepared to be changed.
HOPE IN THE DARK is Rebecca Solnit’s rallying cry for activism, her well thought-out, well-argued case for hope in transforming society. Martin Luther King spoke of an “infinite hope,” and Solnit explains its importance and how to maintain it, not as a substitute for action, but as a prerequisite for it. Howard Zinn said the “struggle for justice should never be abandoned because of the over-whelming power of those wo have the guns and money,” and Solnit argues that to maintain in hope is the opposite of powerlessness, that resistance begins in the imagination, that hope generates struggle which generates more hope, that hope is a rejection of inaction and defeatism, that hope sustains activism. This is truly an important book for our times!
DEMAND THE IMPOSSIBLE! asks you to close your eyes for a moment and think creatively about what a better world might look like, ask “what if?” and question received wisdom; then grow these questions into calls to action, into creating alternatives, into challenging profit-driven systems everywhere, into “getting busy with projects of reframing and repair, movement making, agitating, educating, and community organizing.”
THE FIRE NEXT TIME is a brilliant, searing, intensely personal document, written in the form of a letter (2 letters, actually,1 short and 1 much longer) that gives voice to the disturbing/ongoing consequences of racial injustice in America. Full of passion and eloquence, it is especially relevant today some 50 years after its initial 1963 publication. It is an indictment of, and an exhortation to address, racism’s terrible legacy, and the continued enslavement of black people in America, 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
DARK MONEY is written in straightforward and largely unemotional prose, but it reads as if conceived in quiet anger. Mayer believes that the Koch brothers and a small number of allied plutocrats have essentially hijacked American democracy, using their money not just to compete with their political adversaries, but to drown them out. It emerges as an impressively reported and well-documented work. The importance of DARK MONEY flows from its scope and perspective. It is not easy to uncover the inner workings of an essentially secretive political establishment. Mayer has come as close to doing it as anyone is likely to come anytime soon.
FREEDOM IS A CONSTANT STRUGGLE is an incisive, urgent, and comprehensive understanding of systematic racism, the grounds for intersectional analysis and solidarity, and the importance of working together as equals to unmask and depose systems of injustice. This wide-ranging and brilliant set of essays includes a trenchant analysis of police violence against people of color, of the systematic incarceration of black people in America, the grounds of Palestinian solidarity for the Left, the affirmation of transgender inclusion, and the necessity of opposing the G4S corporation and its high-profit empire dedicated to the institutionalization of racism in the name of security.
BEAUTIFUL TROUBLE brings together dozens of seasoned artists and activists from around the world to distill their best practices into a toolbox for creative action. Sophisticated enough for veteran activists, accessible enough for newbies, this compendium of troublemaking wisdom is a must-have for aspiring changemakers. Showcasing the synergies between artistic imagination and shrewd political strategy, Beautiful Trouble is for everyone who longs for a more beautiful, more just, more livable world – and wants to know how to get there.
THE ORIGINS OF TOTALITARIANISM begins with the rise of anti-Semitism in central and western Europe in the 1800s and continues with an examination of European colonial imperialism from 1884 to the outbreak of World War I. Arendt explores the institutions and operations of totalitarian movements, focusing on the two genuine forms of totalitarian government in our time—Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia—which she adroitly recognizes were two sides of the same coin, rather than opposing philosophies of Right and Left. From this vantage point, she discusses the evolution of classes into masses, the role of propaganda in dealing with the nontotalitarian world, the use of terror, and the nature of isolation and loneliness as preconditions for total domination.
RULES FOR RADICALS is Saul Alinsky's impassioned counsel to young radicals on how to effect constructive social change and know “the difference between being a realistic radical and being a rhetorical one.” Written in the midst of radical political developments whose direction Alinsky was one of the first to question, this volume exhibits his style at its best. Like Thomas Paine before him, Alinsky was able to combine, both in his person and his writing, the intensity of political engagement with an absolute insistence on rational political discourse and adherence to the American democratic tradition.
WHAT WE DO NOW is a collection of passionate manifestos by some of the country's leading progressives, aims to provide a blueprint for how those stunned progressives can move forward. Its powerful contributions -- from economists, environmentalists, activists, artists, politicians, and novelists -- will offer encouragement and guidance to practicing constitutionally protected acts of resistance throughout the unprecedented upcoming administration.
THE TRUMP SURVIVAL GUIDE, by Gene Stone, offers invaluable guidance and concrete solutions they can use to make a difference in this serious call-to-arms—showing them how to move from anger and despair to activism as the Trump presidency is in full swing and he signs one executive order after another. While marches and social media are important forms of protest, concrete actions achieve real change. Positive and reinforcing, The Trump Survival Guide presents the essential information we need to effectively make our voices heard and our power felt.