Books (and More) by Friends: December 2021

Family and friends,

I hope that there is a book or other creative work listed here that you can enjoy over the holiday break, or find useful for the tough political battles that we will face in 2022. Maybe you will find the perfect gift for last minute shopping too:  

First is the latest from Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz: Not ‘A Nation of Immigrants’: Settler Colonialism, White Supremacy, and a History of Erasure and Exclusion: “meticulously researched and written with eloquence and passion… a powerful indictment of settler colonialism and white nationalism that is a must read for our troubling present.” -Barbara Ransby

Testimony is a political thriller with humor and a big heart in which a team of regular people take on a system a cynicism and greed. Co-author Peter Lazare passed away in 2018 leaving a first draft of the novel; his daughter Sarah edited and completed it. “The world needs more books exactly like this”-Rick Perlstein

Voices of Milwaukee Bronzeville is a gift to my hometown and beyond. Dr. Sandra Jones has gathered interviews with residents of the now-vanished neighborhood and reimagined Bronzeville not just as a place, but as a spirit engendered by a people determined to make a way out of no way.

One Fair Wage: Ending Subminimum Pay in America, by Co-founder of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United Saru Jayaraman, details the conditions faced by the more than six million people who earn their living as tipped workers in the service industry. “… shines a bright light on the complex and cruel web of systematic wage inequity in America – while also outlining the straightforward, concrete solutions necessary to overcome this crisis.” -Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal

Power Despite Precarity: Strategies for the Contingent Faculty Movement in Higher Education, by Joe Berry and Helena Worthen, illuminates both the severe exploitation and the potential power of precariously employed “contingents” who keep higher education functioning in the US. The book is part history, part handbook, and a wholly indispensable resource for the conflicts now raging at colleges and universities across the country. Also check out the blog associated with the book:

In 21st Century Revolution: Through Higher Love, Racial Justice and Democratic Cooperation, Ted Glick invites readers to consider the relationship between socialism, religion and spirituality from new angles. “… weaves together existential questions such as ‘does God exist?’ with practical issues such as how to center working people and people of color in our organizations…. references a mind-boggling array of historical figures – Marx, Lenin, Gandhi, Ella Baker, Che Guevara, Paolo Freire in a powerful package.” -Medea Benjamin

Michael Albert’s latest is No Bosses, A New Economy for a Better World, offering the author’s vision for a participatory economy.  “…makes a compelling case [for an economy that is] self-managing, equitable, sustainable, participatory, with a rich artistic and intellectual culture as well.”-Noam Chomsky

Here’s another valuable volume from Rethinking Schools: Teacher Unions and Social Justice, edited by Michael Charney, Jesse Hagopian, and Bob Peterson. The anthology includes more than 60 articles documenting the history and the how-tos of social justice unionism. Together, they describe the growing movement to forge multiracial alliances to defend and transform public education.

We Demand the Full Disclosure and Digitization of All Slavery Era Records,, by Bob Brown, documents two decades of work and calls for the empowerment of a new generation of digital researchers, scholars, activists, and organizers, worldwide.

Milt Tambor’s memoir, A Democratic Socialist’s Fifty Year Adventure, is now available. “…immersing himself in social movements beginning in the 60s, Milt documents the accounts of a legendary freedom fighter, and what it may take to build a truly democratic society.” -Helen Butler, executive director, Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda

The poems in Witness: 2017-2020, by Hilton Obenzinger, “call for reader participation. In stunning ways, offer a surrealist take on the news, and invite readers to make some news of their own. They’re also a kind of incantation meant to exorcise the unholy ghost of Donald Trump and to usher in a new era where all lives matter, where we all age with dignity, and we all go into the future, no matter what it might bring.” -Jonah Raskin

Ed Werstein’s newest book of poetry is Communique: Poems from the Headlines. An earlier collection of his, Benediction and Baseball, win the 2021 Best Poetry Chapbook award from . You can find all the work from this peace advocate, labor activist, and retired union member here.

Robert Gumpert’s book Division Street is a story of lives lived on hard streets, amid staggering wealth and empty promises, told through photographs, found text, and first person narratives; it will be released in the US in March. You can get an advance peak and pre-order at Robert’s new website here.

Watch also for Standing Up: Tales of Struggle, by Ellen Bravo and Larry Miller, coming in February from Hard Ball Press, is available for pre-order now. “So much fiction is about escape and fantasy, but these powerful Tales of Struggle will enrich our real and daily lives” -Gloria Steinem.

Closing out this installment is the latest film on which Nate Kamiya served as an executive producer: Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road. Take an intimate journey with the Beach Boy’s Brian Wilson through his legendary career as he reminisces with Rolling Stone editor and longtime friend, Jason Fine. Featuring interviews with Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Nick Jonas, Linda Perry, Jim James, Gustavo Dudamel, and Al Jardine.