World Wide Work - Aug.2007
This edition of the free bulletin, World Wide Work, is published by the American
Labor Education Center, an independent nonprofit founded in 1979.
WORLD WIDE WORK
New and worth noting…
Morristown. An excellent tool for provoking discussion about immigration, this
hour-long documentary gives voice to native-born workers in a small town in
Tennessee who have lost their jobs as big corporations moved their operations to
Mexico, and also to Mexicans who have come to Morristown to work in fields and
factories. During the film the Tennessee workers take a trip to Mexico to see
conditions for themselves, while Mexican workers in Tennessee win a union
organizing drive with backing from local unions.
Nalini by Day, Nancy by Night. This 27-minute documentary interviews young
people in India who have obtained coveted jobs as telemarketers for many of the
largest American corporations.
The Ax. A noir feature film set in France and made by Costa-Gavras from an
American novel about a paper company executive who loses his job as a result of
corporate “restructuring” and comes to see others who are in the same boat as
enemies rather than potential allies.
Mirrors of Privilege. White people talk about their struggles to overcome
their own racism.
The Gospel Truth by Susan Werner (Sleeve Dog Records). An exceptional set of
songs that are original, meaningful, and catchy all at the same time. Werner
grew up with and still has strong religious feelings but feels much of the
organized church has strayed from its spiritual purpose. Her songs ask
fundamentalists, “If God is great and God is good, why is your heaven so small?”
She prays to God, “Deliver us from those who think they’re You.” And she sings
about being her brother’s and sister’s keeper: “I got a roof over my head, what
do I do? Go out and help somebody get a roof over their head too.”
My Name is Buddy by Ry Cooder (Nonesuch). A surprising collection of labor
songs, most of them recently written by Cooder but in traditional style.
Strikes, sundown towns, and repression by the government are just a few of the
themes. One song, “Three Chords and the Truth,” is a tribute to Joe Hill, Paul
Robeson, and Pete Seeger, who plays banjo on one of the other songs on the album.
Cimarron Manifesto byJimmy LaFave (Red House). A strong album of socially
conscious but artful songs with a beat, highlighted by a cover of Joe South’s
Walk a Mile in My Shoes.
Little Mo’ McCoury by Ronnie McCoury and the Del McCoury Band (McCoury
Music). A children’s album by one of the top bluegrass bands blends old
favorites and unconventional choices.
Closed for Repairs by Nancy Alonso (Curbstone). Eleven short vignettes of
Cuban life today that use equal-opportunity irony to show how working people
there cope with the effects of the American embargo as well as the Cuban
Oracle Bones by Peter Hessler (HarperCollins). A journalist's encounters with
a wide variety of Chinese citizens pictures life in a rapidly changing country
where an ancient culture still bubbles to the surface.
Cheap Motels and a Hot Plate by Michael D. Yates (Monthly Review). A left
economist and his wife travel around the U.S., stopping to work along the way.
The book is an interesting combination of travel guide and reporting on the
state of the country.
The Revolution Will Not Be Funded edited by Incite (South End Press). Poses
the question of whether foundation funded, nonprofit 501(c)(3) groups by their
nature do more to limit or stimulate self-sustaining grassroots movements for
Thanks for the Memories by Jane Mersky Leder (Praeger).The role of women in
the workforce and support units for the military during World War II had a
lasting effect on cultural patterns involving love and sex, according to this
account that profiles a variety of women and men who lived through that era.
Ludlow by David Mason (Red Hen). A historical novel about the massacre of 18
men, women, and children of coal mining families at a mine owned by the
Rockefellers in Colorado in 1914. Written in free verse, adding a poetic quality
to the prose.
Latina Activists Across Borders by Milagros Pena (Duke University). Profiles
women’s non-governmental organizations in El Paso/Ciudad Juarez and in
Understanding Youth by Michael J. Nakkula and Eric Toshalis (Harvard
Education Press). A discussion of the developmental issues faced by adolescents,
aimed at educators, social workers, and others who work with them.
Collateral Damage by Sharon L. Nichols and David C. Berliner (Harvard
Education Press). An analysis of how high-stakes testing hurts rather than helps
the nation’s school children.
A Young People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn (Seven Stories). Two volumes that provide a radical perspective for students on American history.
Uses left vocabulary that a teacher would have to help interpret. Some adults
will find this account to be a useful summary.
Sin Patron by Lavaca (Haymarket). Stories about and interviews with workers
in Argentina who took over their factories rather than let them close. A
companion to the documentary film, /The Take/.
/Free tools for effective grassroots organizing and communication, as well as
back issues of World Wide Work, are available at www.TheWorkSite.org
Tax-deductible contributions to the American Labor Education Center are welcome
and may be sent to 2721 Quail Run Rd., Talent, OR 97540. Thank you./
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