Distro Top Ten — May 2010
1. Firebrands: Portraits from the Americas
edited by Shaun Slifer and Bec Young
The Justseeds Artists’ Collective and Microcosm have collaborated to produce a collection of illustrious portraits accompanied by short biographies of radical activist, artist, and social justice thinkers from all over the Americas. Seventy-eight firebrands graces these pages with tales of their endless struggle for justice in the face of fascism, tyranny, censorship, and hatred. Pick this book up to learn more about Chico Mendes, C.L.R James, Frida Kahlo, Arlen Siu, Sitting Bull, Helen Keller, Simon Bolivar, Dorothy Day, Gloria Anzaldula, Yuri Kochiyama, Tupac Shakur, Henry Morgentaler, and , well, the list goes on…but I don’t want to ruin all the surprises. This books is better than an Advent Calendar. Yeah, I said it. Again, Justseeds has broken the mold and found delightfully creative ways of depicting staples of inspiration in radical and leftist communities. Hot off the press, come and get it!
Remember when racism ended in America? Ah, c’mon, how could you forget? It happened when Blacks and Whites were allowed to share water fountains after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Or was it when the U.S. returned minuscule pieces of land to Native Americans in exchange for isolation, deprivation, and environmental abuse. No, wait , it totally happened when the U.S. shut down the last Japanese internment camp. I’m completely, off. Racism in the U.S. ended when Barak Obama was elected President…right? While I brush up on my history lessons you should check out this new book by Tim Wise outlining an escalation in blatant racist policies and political practices in the name of a colorblind United States of America. Oh! I remember now, racism ended when Arizona decided being Latino, Mexican or Chicano is probable cause and warrants police harassment.
Raise your hand if you thought Creed was a Christian band. It’s ok, common misunderstanding. Please redirect your attention to this new book put out by Soft Skull Press. In it you can learn about the multi-billion dollar industry of Christian pop culture, including raves, rock bands, theme parks, romance novels, and, yes, wrestling. Daniel Radosh examines eighteen towns over the U.S. and their involvement in changing monies in the sacred temple of…I mean, the Christian Pop Industry.
If you enjoy good folklore and great comic books then eat this shit for breakfast! This book contains more than twenty graphic adaptations of Native American stories of the Trickster. All cultures have tales of the trickster—a crafty creature or being who uses cunning to get food, steal precious possessions, or simply cause mischief. In Native American traditions, the trickster takes many forms, from coyote or rabbit to raccoon or raven. The first graphic anthology of Native American trickster tales, Trickster brings together Native American folklore and the world of comics.
So, at this point, we all know what a terrorist looks like, correct? And we all know to be afraid, right? Because they’re all insane, brainwashed, suicidal murderers who at any moment could go “Speed” on our asses. Well, if you’re done watching Fox News and listening to Glenn Beck go ahead and try reading this new book by Nasser Abufarha. In The Making of a Human Bomb, Nasser Abufarha, a Palestinian anthropologist, explains the cultural logic underlying Palestinian martyrdom operations (suicide attacks) launched against Israel during the Al-Aqsa Intifada (2000-06). In so doing, he sheds much-needed light on how Palestinians have experienced and perceived the broader conflict.
6. Politics is Not a Banana
The Journal of Vulgar Discourse
Open this book and the first thing you will see : “What are you doing after the orgy or the insurrection or whatever?” I’m going to have to quote Lorna on this one. I am at a bit of a loss as to how to describe this (though i could read you some funny passages), so I will quote the Institute for Experimental Freedom: “The book is a collection of texts, images, and design sensibilities which combine insurrectional theory, critical theory, and post-structuralist inquiries about power and subjectivization with experimental fiction, flarf poetry, Brechtian pornography, and Swiss-influenced post-ironic typographic design.” Why would I choose a book I’m not really sure about for my top ten? Because I think I slept with a woman who slept with the a man who sent it to us. Just kidding, in reality this book has a lot to offer, I just haven’t finished reading it.
Diving into the political strategies of post-Civil Rights Movement African American activists in Detroit Now Is the Time! traces the complicated legacy of community activism to illuminate what is required for grassroots activists to be effective in demanding public accountability to poor and marginalized citizens. This book is relatively cheap for a University Press so pick it up, pick it up now! Before you head out for the US Social Forum or Allied Media Conference. Know something about a city before you descend upon it I say!
8. World-Systems Analysis: An Introduction
If you’re into understanding the “larger picture” of how our societies not only came to function but are inherently dysfunctional this is your jam. Immanuel Wallerstein provides a concise and accessible introduction to the comprehensive approach for understanding the history and development of the modern world by explaining the defining characteristics of world-systems analysis.
9. Introduction to Civil War
Semiotext(e) is on a roll! And AK Press is keeping up. In addition to The Violence of Financial Capitalism, A Thousand Machines, The Coming Insurrection, The Screwball Asses, you can now order Introduction to Civil War from our website. From the back of the book: “Society no longer exists, at least in the sense of a differentiated whole. There is only a tangle of norms and mechanisms through which they hold together the scattered tatters of the global biopolitical fabric, through which they prevent its violent disintegration. Empire is the administrator of this desolation, the supreme manager of a process of listless implosion.” Oh yeah, that theory turn you on? Me too.
This land is your land, this land is my land from California to…Oh, apologies. I thought I was somewhere else for a moment. Right, well, on a completely unrelated note the University of California Press just released this book making a powerful case for understanding the complex, often paradoxical history of immigration restriction as we work through the issues that inform, and often distort, the debate over who can become a citizen, who decides, and on what basis. UC Berkeley might want to apply some theories from the insightful books they publish to their practices as a University. Don’t jail students for standing up to high tuition costs….T!