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52 Releases in 2010, Join the Friends of PM Press for 2011!

News > Additional Stories

52 Releases in 2010, Join the Friends of PM Press for 2011!

In December we celebrated our 52nd PM Press release of 2010 (that's one per week!), and we are inviting you to join the Friends of PM to help us usher in the 2011 releases.

We launched PM Press as a means to impact, amplify, and revitalize the discourse and actions of radical writers, filmmakers, and artists. The Friends of PM program provides us with a stable foundation from which we can build upon our early successes and provides a much-needed subsidy for the materials that can't necessarily pay their own way. You can help make that happen -- and receive every new title automatically delivered to your door once a month-by joining as a Friend of PM Press.

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Classic Rock Mag likes Sober Living

Review: Sober Living For The Revolution: Hardcore Punk, Straight Edge And Radical Politics
Classic Rock Magazine
By Jo Kendall


SXe: what political punk rock did next.

If rock'n'roll is your business - and business has tended to be pretty good for the past 40 years or so - there's little chance you will have examined punk rock in all its angry, mutating glory. But if you're curious about the post- Pistols scene that drop-kicked punk into hardcore, straight edge and the oft-perceived po-faced social activism behind them, this book is for you.

It's not a promising start; the preface reads like an Open University textbook. But as soon the progenitors of the new noise get their say the study comes into its own. Through the manifestos of Minor Threat's Ian Mackaye - patron saint of straight - Refused's Denis Lyxzen and even Fall Out Boy's Andy Hurley, the layers surrounding the movement and its faithful start to unfurl. It's still confusing, filled with socialist, anarchist, puritan, feminist, vegan and radical queer ethics (sometimes all at once), and it won't be turning, say, Tommy Lee's head any time soon, but Kuhn's quest to probe every niche to define the puzzling whole is a brave try. Less 'get pissed, destroy', more 'use your brain, change the world'. And it's for all ages, too.

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Calling All Heroes in UK Peace News

By Gabriel Carlyle
UK Peace News
September 2010

If you could choose any of the characters from your childhood reading, who would you invite to help you spark a revolution? James Bond? Harry Potter? Badger from The Wind and the Willows?

If you're the central character in Paco Ignacio Taibo's tricksy novella - one of PM Press's new "Found in Translation" series - you choose Sherlock Holmes, Doc Holliday, D'Artagnan, Dick Turpin, the Light Brigade, and then throw in some Mau Mau fighters for good measure.

Set in the wake of the infamous October 1968 Tlatelolco massacre (in which Mexican troops opened fire on student demonstrators, killing some 200 people just ten days before the country staged the Summer Olympics), activist-turned-journalist Nestor lies delirious in a hospital bed, recovering from a stab wound.

Unable to broaden its base, the movement - one of the best organised and moderate of the student movements of '68 - was crushed, and Calling All Heroes vividly captures both of the horror of the repression and the "painful regression" of those activists "who had known moments of euphoria and freedom - back to classes at an oppressive, defeated university in whose yards discouragement was eaten by the mouthful".

Nestor finds his escape in his fanciful - and extremely bloody - insurrection. In his fantasy the people rise and victory is achieved. All of which left me musing, who would you invite to help you spark the nonviolent revolution?

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FAME Reviews The Liberty Tree

by Mark S. Tucker
http://www.acousticmusic.com
written for Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange

In my secret closeted life as a one-man-anarchist (well, 'social autarchist' actually, but ask me about that when we meet, and I'll explain the traditionally misdefined 'autarchy' as what the misfortunately named 'anarchy' really was meant to be) and one-horse-publisher who's issued 500+ newsletters of his Left of the Left private e-zine, Veritas Vampirus, I've long held that there was really only one true founder of America, and that man is none other than the subject of this long overdue tribute: Thomas Paine. Too, I've on-air successfully argued Los Angeles radio talk show hosts (Larry Elder, Doug McIntyre, Lee Klein, etc.) to a standstill on the subject, so nothing pleased me more than to discover this 2-CD set from a label refreshingly like Jello Biafra's Alternative Tentacles: PM Press.

The imprint also purveys at least three other inimitables—Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and Derrick Jensen (not to mention Chumbawamba, who shared a CD with Chomsky in '97), so Leon Rosselson & Robb Johnson, obviously uber-committed politically and quite Left of Center, are well companioned.

Liberty Tree is a much needed set along the lines of Michael Johnathon's earlier CD/DVD release on Henry David Thoreau. Rosselson & Johnson as a duo are unaccompanied and very much follow the troubadour / minstrel tradition. You'll detect traces of Ralph McTell, Gordon Giltrap, John Fahey, Jansch & Renbourn, and other modern composers who favor elder airs while well imagining yourself to be gathered at the crossroads to hear these two play and speak. Many of the twin CDs' 36 tracks are either publican-style song agitations, reminiscences, or the reading of print by or about The Great Tom.

The bourgeois/royalist slant in the read sentiments regarding Paine are amusing as hell, perfectly reflecting the standard outraged indignation of the Right wing that occurs whenever place and privilege are questioned, regardless of age and epoch. Our two agitators deliver short speeches and song in grassroots style while mocking by inflection and praising through admiration. I guarantee you'll hear historic materials you've never run across otherwise unless you're an academic, and you'll also receive an authentic period flavor in all the bardic sonorities. Leon Rosselson has been lauded by the N.Y. Times for his literate topicality and Robb Johnson has been called one for the finest songwriters since Richard Thompson. This is not light praise. Trust me, listening to this collection of songs and words, you'll rapidly feel the heat of political ire rise while reaching for a tankard, bending the elbow to assuage indignation until the time is propitious for more decisive mindsets.

Sooooooo, what say, lads and lassies…overthrow the king shall we? Tom Paine would approve. So, I don't think I have to over-emphasize, would these two gents.

Track List:

DISC ONE

    •    The Morning Star of the Revolution
    •    The Roots of the Liberty Tree
    •    The Idle Talker & Drinker at the White Hart Social Club, Lewes
    •    The Editor of the Pennsylvania Magazine
    •    Rosa's Lovely Daughters (Robb Johnson)
    •    Reflections on Unhappy Marriages
    •    Don't Get Married, Girls (Leon Rosselson)
    •    Independency
    •    Common Sense
    •    The Wall that Stands Between (Leon Rosselson)
    •    The Times that Try Men's Souls
    •    3 Minutes' Silence (Robb Johnson)
    •    The Rights of Man, Pt. 1
    •    Remembrance Day (Leon Rosselson)
    •    The Old Construction
    •    We All said Stop the War (Robb Johnson)

DISC TWO

    •    The Rights of Man. Pt. 2
    •    Monarchy
    •    On her Silver Jubilee (Leon Rosselson)
    •    Riots & Tumults
    •    Picking Up the Pieces (Robb Johnson)
    •    Wages & Rights
    •    Oliver Twist (Robb Johnson)
    •    Countries that are called Civilised
    •    Palaces of Gold (Leon Rosselson)
    •    High Treason
    •    The Defect Lies in the System
    •    Changing the Guard (Robb Johnson)
    •    Execution & War
    •    The Terror
    •    The Age of Reason
    •    Stand Up for Judas (Leon Rosselson)
    •    Applause & Abuse
    •    The Life of a Libeller
    •    Red & Green (Robb Johnson) / The World turned Upside Down (Leon Rosselson)

All songs written as noted; the other cuts are spoken Paine quotes or from sundry other source, though some tracks are mixes of song and spoken word, with musical and chirographic authorship uncredited.
Edited by: David N. Pyles


Buy CD now  | Back to Robb Johnson's Page | Back to Leon Rosselson's Page




Sober Living on Trust Fanzine

Sober Living for the Revolution – Hardcore Punk, Straight Edge and Radical Politics – Gabriel Kuhn
Trust Fanzine
Posted in bücher by Dolf
August 2010

I’m sure this will not be the last book about “Straight Edge” – but at least this one is broaden its horizont… not only about SxE but also about Hardcore Punk and Radical Politics. Lets see. It is seperated in 5 chapters: Bands, Scenes, Manifestos, Reflections and Perspectives. The “Timeline” given is helpful to understand when it all started and how it developed. The introduction by the author makes also sense.

The first interview is with Ian MacKaye, not sure why other had to follow, but they do… some of them are interesting. I kinda like the Refused interview, because he (Dennis) gets away with what he is doing (or not) cuz none of the “wrong” questions have been asked. Other bands featured ManLiftingBanner, Point of No Return and New Winds. Featured scenes are Israel, Sweden, Poland, Usa – talks to several people about how strong the movement is/was and such. The “Manifestos” are more interesting as one can tell from the titles alone: “Antifa Straight Edge”, “Anarchy and Alcohol”, “Sobriety and Anarchist Struggle”, on with the “Reflections” from Nick Riotfag, Jenni Ramme (Emancypunx), Kelly (xsisterhood) and Andy Hurley on Anarcho-Primitivism and the Collapse and some more “Perspectives” by some people where Mark Andersen should be mentioned. I could comment almost all of these authors/activists, some of them have very good and true things to say and it is good that all the bad aspcets of Straight Edge (wrong reasons, macho/jock attitude, conservative, etc.) are also mentioned.

But I will not use up too much space/time… so all you get to hear is that Nick Riotfag is hilarious in his thinking and his demands (sober spaces for anarchist queers – if he gets them, he complains they are too boring), that Jonathan Pollack is not afraid of saying things some people will call anti-zionist. And Andy Hurley (Fall Out Boy) should not appear in MTVs Cribs and show off his house, cars, golden records, etc. when he thinks about radical politics, less thinking and more action could help ( I have to mention that he did also say he is vegan and showed some processed vegan food – yeah right….). Otherwise you hear all about hardline and christian edge and all that other blablabla one can talk or think about.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against people who stay sober and healty but a lot of times that alone is not enough, or does not necessarly have something to do with “radical politics” nor are “radical politics” in general good – or bad. People can talk about all these subjects forever, if they like, I would people much rather see and stick to their words. It does not matter so much what you think, do, write, sing about – what matters is what one DOES.
 Some good reading, if you are into this and/or want some brainfood, go for it. 352 pages, paperback.

 

Buy book now | Download e-Book now | Back to Gabriel Kuhn's Page




An FMLN Woman’s Story of Courage and Conviction, 20 Years Later

By: Lynn Stephen
nacla.org
September 20, 2010

In June 2009, Mauricio Funes took office as El Salvador’s first leftist president. With more than 51% of the popular vote, Funes won the election as the candidate of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), the political party that was once a federation of guerrilla armies that fought the Salvadoran state to a bitter stalemate in the 1980s. María’s Story, a documentary filmed 20 years before Funes’s historic election, records a nationwide military and political offensive undertaken by the FMLN in late 1988 and 1989. This “final offensive” was a crucial step on the path to the peace accords signed in January 1992, ending the Salvadoran civil war. While many have heard the war’s gruesome statistics—which include more than 70,000 people killed, most of them by the Salvadoran military—few have had the opportunity to see what the war was like up close and personal. The power of María’s Story, now available on DVD on the occasion of its 20th anniversary, comes from the particular story of FMLN guerrilla leader María Serrano and her family, as well as the film’s innovative techniques.

The filmmakers spent two months in a provisional FMLN camp, capturing the day-to-day experience of the war as María and other guerrilla soldiers went from town to town. Under fire from bullets and mortars, the filmmakers used solar-powered, small-format video cameras to document the everyday struggles, violence, hope, and courage of FMLN fighters.

María’s Story, is a valuable documentary and teaching tool that will inspire audiences to discuss U.S. foreign policy, the reality of war, gender politics, and shared values of what constitutes justice and basic human rights. I have shown it about a dozen times to undergraduates, usually as a part of a general class on race, class, gender, and politics in Latin America. I often pair the film with María Teresa Tula’s book, Here My Testimony: María Teresa Tula, Human Rights Activist of El Salvador (South End Press, 1994).

Both are compelling and moving testaments of the passion with which FMLN-aligned women struggled politically, militarily, and personally in the Salvadoran civil war and the atrocious strategies of repression that multiple Salvadoran governments used between 1975 and 1992 to remain in power.

A family story—that of María, her husband, José, and their two living daughters—provides the film with a conventional lens, bringing out the experiences of love, family intimacy and loss, struggle, and survival that are a part of the war. The film is carried by the incredibly charismatic persona of María, a practical and inspiring thinker who motivates not only her own family to get involved in the struggle, but many others as well. The family story is somewhat romanticized with the happy reunion of María, José, and their two daughters in San José de las Flores for the first time in three years. But María’s retelling of the death of Ceci, her middle daughter killed in an army ambush in 1987, returns viewers to the horror of the war, which has affected every family. After retelling how Ceci was killed, María adds that soldiers split open her body. She doesn’t blame them for killing her daughter “because we are making a war,” but “these are things that no one can be prepared for,” she says, referring to her daughter’s mutilation.

The film begins in a guerrilla camp catching up with 39-year-old María, who explains that they are planning a military offensive in order to “defeat the enemy militarily, politically, and diplomatically” in order to build a new society built on “food, schools, and health” for all. Shortly thereafter we meet 13-year-old Minita, María and José’s youngest daughter, who tells us that she likes being close to her mother.“ If we had stayed in our house,” she explains, “they would come and kill us.” This matter-of-fact statement underlines the fact that she has been on the move since she was three years old. We then meet José, Maria’s husband, who works in supplies. They have been married for 21 years.

The next scene leads us across the Sumpul River, the site of various massacres, including a notorious one in 1980, when the Salvadoran military massacred more than 300 non-combatants in 1980 as they tried to flee into Honduras. We follow María, José, and Minita into their hometown of Alcatao, where they visit José’s father. A town originally of 10,000, only 1,000 people remain. Here, María takes us to the house where she arrived as a newlywed, gave birth to her children, and worked as a rural housewife and for a campesino union.

While in her hometown of Alcatao, María takes viewers on a tour of the old National Guard headquarters, which is not far from her former home. In 1979, Alcatao was taken over by the military, which detained and tortured people in the headquarters. María and her family left in 1979 and, as they explain in the film, have not lived there since then. María explains that she joined the FMLN in 1987. Many people who fled Alcatao were living in the mountains of Chalatenango, where guerrillas with the Peoples Forces of Liberation (FPL)—the largest of the five FMLN guerrilla groups—were also operating. Since they shared daily necessities in the same place, María explains, it just made sense to join up.

From there the film moves to an improvised guerrilla camp where there is strong anticipation of Christmas celebrations. An FMLN soldier who looks about 13 years old at most can be heard talking excitedly about the milk, bread, and tamales that will be given out on Christmas Eve. But a surprise mortar attack ends the anticipated festivities. “Open your mouths when the mortals fall,” María tells the filmmakers, since the pressure can cause eardrums to burst. On the run again, María’s guerrilla unit finally sleeps and then walks into San José de las Flores, a repopulated FPL community that has managed to construct houses, plant and harvest corn, and begin to plan things like schools and health clinics. Sister cities with Cambridge, Massachusetts, San José was an important focus of solidarity work, receiving support from U.S. and European committees that were crucial in helping it to rebuild and resist further military incursions. There, María gives a short inspirational speech and meets up with her husband and eldest daughter, Morena, who tells us how she went into health work when she was 13 with a strong push from María. The last portion of the film provides an upbeat assessment of the final offensive the FMLN was preparing in 1989.

What might be billed as almost a music video within the film features shots of guerrillas preparing bullets, bombs, Molotov cocktails, and other weapons to the tune of a catchy ballad about insurrection and revolution. María provides a stirring narrative that compares “the insurrectional moment” to “giving birth to a baby.” The next shot moves us into an intimate look at one small piece of this plan as María’s guerrilla group moves into a town and attempts to hold it overnight after running out a group of government soldiers after an intense firefight. We witness a young girl related to one of the guerrilla soldiers in María’s unit getting hurt in the effort. The army retreats, and the evening is marked by an inspiring display of FMLN troops who shout slogans like “Revolution or Death” and “Chalatenango Heroico.” The parting shots of the film pan over nature scenes as María reads a poem she wrote about her rebirth through the revolutionary movement and its relationship to the changing seasons.

Viewing the film 20 years after it was made offers an interesting optic on where El Salvador is now and where it has been since the peace accords. A series of right-wing presidents who endorsed a neoliberal political and economic agenda have left El Salvador with ongoing inflation, increasing problems with violence linked to the expanding activities of Mexican drug cartels and gangs vying for control of trafficking routes, and a large portion of the country’s 6.2 million people of living outside of the country (estimates range from 14% to 40% of the population).

The new DVD version marks the passage of time by providing viewers with short updates on the film’s main characters. María ran for and won a congressional seat in 1997. After serving one three-year term, she got fed up with national politics and went to school. In 2002, she got her bachelor’s degree in social studies and since 2005 has worked as an elementary school teacher and education advocate. José returned to their home in Alcatao to work their small farm while Minita, the youngest daughter, finished a degree in 2006 to be a nurse practitioner. Morena is a teacher in Chalatenango. Now a grandmother, María has a granddaughter, Carmen Aída, who finished a bachelor’s degree at the University of El Salvador. Thus all of the women and girls featured in this documentary have completed higher education degrees and become professionals—a remarkable achievement for people who survived 10 years of fighting on the civil war’s front lines.

While María and her daughters are pursuing traditional paths for women—in teaching and nursing—their legacy is to help people on a daily basis in concrete ways that can change their personal situations. As such, the update provides us with hope that many more young women will be able to make such choices and others without the decade of pain this family went through. At a larger level, the update puts the film back into a space of hopefulness and anticipation with the first FMLN president taking office. Let us hope that he can help to make María’s dream of food, health, and education for all a reality in El Salvador.

Lynn Stephen teaches anthropology and ethnic studies at the University of Oregon, where she directs the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies. Her most recent book is Transborder Lives: Indigenous Oaxacans in Mexico, California, and Oregon (Duke University Press, 2007).

This article originally appeared in the September/October 2010 edition of NACLA Report on the Americas.

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Angry Brigade in the (UK) Guardian

Et cetera: Steven Poole's non-fiction choice:

The Angry Brigade, by Gordon Carr
by Steven Poole
The Guardian
September 18th, 2010

The Angry Brigade, by Gordon Carr (PM Press, £17.99)

This fascinating history of "Britain's first urban guerrilla group" (who fought for the people while stealing their chequebooks) begins with the 1971 bombing of the house of the employment minister, Robert Carr, and then works back to the évènements of May 1968, and forwards through the complex police investigation by the newly formed "Bomb Squad", and then the lengthy and sensational 1972 trial of the "Stoke Newington 8", in whose flat had been found explosives, guns and the equipment used to issue the brigade's sub-Debordian public statements. Gordon Carr's narrative is scrupulous and suspenseful.

We also hear from one of the convicted, John Barker, proud of recent demonstrations against arms dealers ("[we] had the nous to do it without the melodrama of dynamite"; exactly what tune dynamite normally plays is left unclear), and one of the acquitted, Stuart Christie ("to engage in remote violence without taking full personal responsibility is reminiscent of the state itself"). A policeman offers a sober opinion about the inspirational power of French theory: "I didn't think Situationism was the driving force behind the Angry Brigade. It was a style that helped Barker write communiqués."
 

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The Busy Reader’s Guide to the Financial Meltdown

inandoutby Daniel Tucker
In These Times
September 11th, 2010 

During the years of the Bush administration and the anti-globalization movement, I tried to simply explain the term “neoliberalism” to classes, friends and fellow activists. I would say something like: “Neoliberalism is characterized by privatization, deregulation of labor and trade and the commodification of more intimate and complex aspects of life than previous eras of capitalism had produced.”

But then there was the hassle of explaining the “neo” part, the confused definitions of “liberal” popularly used in the United States, and the difference between its theory and its practice, which has often involved a much deeper and more integral role for government than my simple summary could capture.

Then came the “Great Recession,”aka the financial crisis of 2007-2010. Everything changed. It is no longer difficult to plainly see the contradictions of the neoliberal policies of the last 30 years, especially the role of the United States government in facilitating the maintenance and consolidation of industrial and financial power despite rhetoric of “deregulation and privatization.” The bailout plan alone makes it hard to deny and easy to understand that the U.S. government is integral and necessary to the recovery and perpetuation of our global financial system.

In their latest book In and Out of Crisis: The Global Financial Meltdown and Left Alternatives, published by PM Press/Spectre Imprint (which is coordinated by Sasha Lilley of the wonderfully insightful podcast Against the Grain), Canadian political economists Leo Panitch, Sam Gindin and Greg Albo explain this in wonderfully clear terms.

In and Out of Crisis compiles several essays, many of which were developed for or inspired by the work of the Socialist Project, an independent socialist network based in Ontario. It is easy to tell that all three authors are educators (they all teach at York University in Toronto) because of their methodical approach. Key passages from the book are broken down in the final chapter as “Ten Thesis on the Crisis” which reviews and simplifies the history and analysis presented in chapters like “Surveying the Crisis: Is Neoliberalism Over?”; “Crisis Management from Bush to Obama”; and “Labor’s Impasse and the Left,” to name a few. The book was written as an educational and organizing tool.

 What makes In and Out of Crisis stand out, besides it’s post-crisis analysis of neoliberalism, is its belief in the renewal of the Left and its deep connection to actually existing social movements.

So many Marxist historians and philosophers write as if there is no social movement worth engaging. If there is a shout-out to an organizing effort, it reads as if it was pulled from a hat. These authors have put time and energy through the years in supporting organized labor throughout North America, particularly with the Canadian Auto Workers Union, where Gindin was research director.

The book presents the clearest explanation of the “defeat of labor” that has occurred in recent decades, going beyond simplistic descriptions of de-industrialization to elaborate on the interconnectedness between off-shoring, automation, free-trade policies like NAFTA, stagnant wages, and the integration of workers into the financial sector through pensions and real-estate investments. The trio’s focus is not limited to an exclusively union way forward, and they repeatedly call for the need to connect organized labor to other social movements to renew working-class culture and politics as a step towards creating Left political alternatives to capitalism.

 Only 129 pages long, In and Out of Crisis is a useful tool for busy organizers and activists who don’t have the time to dig into anything else. Its clearly articulated descriptions of the crisis and possible ways forward make it the most useful book to come out of the current crisis. I hope its used to its fullest potential.

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Resistance Against Empire on Political Media Review

CDby Simon Czerwinskyj
Political Media Review
July 21, 2010

Derrick Jensen just won’t quit, that’s for sure. The word “prolific” doesn’t really do Jensen’s output justice; this guy is like an anarcho-primitivist version of Stephen King. And much like Stephen King, he’s constantly finding new ways to evoke a feeling of terror in his readers. While King is constantly giving his readers the willies by way of fictional monsters and horrifying situations, Jensen shocks his readers by asking them to look in the mirror and examine how their lifestyles effect the Earth. And the conclusion is always the same: industrial civilization is killing the planet. Scary.

In recent years, Jensen has begun soliciting other socially conscious individuals for their opinions and testimony on where we’re headed as a species. Resistance Against Empire is his third collection of interviews with a broad range of activists, teachers, organizers, and advocates. While most of these talks are almost ten years old, the content is still extremely relevant. Jensen’s interviewees tackle modern slavery, US food aid to foreign nations, consumerism, privacy issues, military spending, nuclear proliferation, the US prison industrial complex, and much of what exists in between these issues.

The book begins with economist J.W. Smith. Smith talks about the economic exploitation of other countries by the US: for labor, for resources, and for the general buoyancy of our culture of convenience. Jensen’s style of interview is effective in that he lets his subjects talk; his questions are simple, his comments are concise, and he plays the soft-pedaling devil’s advocate to explore each side of the issue, eliciting answers to the well-worn “Well, isn’t it good for their economy?” arguments and other old mainstream media chestnuts. J.W. Smith lays out our strategy for US land monopolization in other countries: “At first by conquest, and then by inequality continually being restructured into law.” This theme runs through the book; by dispossessing people of their land, and thus their ability to grow their own food and be self-sufficient, they are left with few choices but the ones we provide them.

Anuradha Mittal claims “Destroying local agricultural infrastructures is a central function of food aid”. International loan sharks such as the IMF and WTO effectively undercut local farmers in foreign nations in order to foist our cheap, imported food product on the population, who are then beholden to the economic will of these organizations. Author of The Politics of Heroin Alfred McCoy details the CIA’s role in enabling and supporting local warlords in Southeast Asia; the consequence of this support was the nurturing and expansion of the international drug trade by way of warlords turned drug lords. Subsequently, political power and gainful employment became entirely dependent on drug production and trafficking (again, the land and its people are co-opted by the “needs” of industrialized European and western nations). In essence, the drug war creates new, circuitous markets; as the myopic, media-savvy authorities stamp out one large drug trade for publicity’s sake, they’re blind to all the other resourceful drug lords springing up in the periphery. Prohibition increases production.

Modern slavery also thrives and depends on the needs and machinations of industrialized nations.  Countries with higher international debts have higher incidence of slavery, as gutted local economies are rife with desperate unemployed. The exploited are put in impossible situations, saddled with a debt they will never be able to pay (their work is merely collateral, and does not go towards lessening the initial debt), laboring in perpetuity under debts as small as $50 US dollars. Contract slaves sign a piece of paper they many times cannot read, which forgoes their rights and traps them in endless “jobs” (such as prostitution). According to Kevin Bales, due to a population explosion and economic and social vulnerability, 27 million slaves exist globally as of the year 2000. And currently, slaves are a lot cheaper: a slave in the 1850s was typically $50,000, while a slave today ranges from $50-60.

Privacy advocate Katherine Abrecht asks “How does our society get us to replace acute, healthy outrage with a chronic, there’s-nothing-we-can-do-about-it, soul-killing ache?” Resistance Against Empire  makes an attempt to enrage its readers into action through education, and will embolden sympathetic readers, while it probably will not change your average CEO’s mind (I wonder if Jensen has ever considering infiltrating CEO book clubs? Do CEOs read books? Or are they too busy eating babies?). However, there is a surfeit of viable solutions to alleviate the overwhelming amount of grim details, with each interview ending with a mere morsel of potential future progress. That said, Jensen has compiled an ambitious compendium of truly important issues, and the book is an eye-opening and educational read.

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Red Army Faction on dotrad.com

By Ernesto Aguilar
www.dotrag.com
July 29, 2010

Though it has been out a few months, I find myself regularly going back to a fantastic book I want to recommend to students of progressive/radical history, and to those who might have seen the Academy Award- and Golden Globe-nominated Baader-Meinhof Complex earlier this year and wanted to know more about the story behind it.

When old friend Ramsey Kanaan forwarded me a copy of one of his recent projects from his new publishing outfit, PM Press, I was intrigued. Kanaan is known to virtually everyone in the publishing world as the guy who founded AK Press and was its heart and soul for many years. When he left to start PM, with a broader vision but the same irascibile approach, a daring publisher was born. PM’s collection on the Red Army Faction is one example of such.

The book is entitled The Red Army Faction, A Documentary History, Volume 1: Projectiles For The People and it tells the story of the entangled German left and far left that gave rise to the Red Army Faction, an ultraleft guerrilla formation mostly associated with Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof. Ron Jacobs, author of The Way the Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground, did a thorough review of this collection from the RAF’s heyday during which it committed sensational bombings aimed at challenging U.S. imperialism. But no review adequately can convey how important this book is to the progressive/radical history canon. Within English-language publishing, there are few works about the RAF, which alone makes this one the best book available.

Those who remember AK Press’ foray into RAF mythology, Tom Vague’s 1994 book, Televisionaries: The Red Army Faction Story, will be thrilled to find less storytelling and more history. The new PM Press collection, in fact, presents virtually almost every RAF communique and theoretical pamphlet from 1970 to 1977, its first period (the RAF would later be led by many others as leaders were killed or imprisoned). Over the course of 700 pages, readers get a sense of how intensely the RAF believed the left had sold out and hos Germany was again wedded to fascism. Its bombings, kidnappings, killings and street battles with police were conducted in this context. A second volume, expected to pick up from here until the RAF’s mysterious dissolution in 1998, is forthcoming from PM Press, though no date is set for its release.

However, this collection is truly a wonder and is well worth picking up.

By the way, Upping the Anti has a good review of the book in its latest issue. You can still land a free copy of the last two Upping the Anti issues.

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