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 - January 2005
*UniteToWin.org. All progressives, as well as all working people, have a huge stake in the raging debate going on in the labor movement over how to build new strength for working people. More unions are expected to give their views as the AFL-CIO Executive Committee meets Jan. 10 to take up labor's future. The debate took off right after the November elections when SEIU put forward a controversial plan to radically change labor's strategies, culture, and structure, and got a big boost when the Teamsters issued a proposal based on many of the same principles. The Communications Workers, Teachers, and Firefighters are among other unions that have weighed in. To keep up or comment on the latest developments, see UniteToWin.org.
*Dillinger in Hollywood by John Sayles (Nation Books). A brilliant collection of ten short stories that feature a wide range of working class people and draw on the film maker's imagination and talent for painting engaging characters.
*Whitewashed Adobe by William Deverell (Univ of Calif.) A fascinating and surprising collection of essays about six little known events or developments that together provide a rich understanding of the gradual Anglo takeover of Los Angeles from its Mexican population. The chapters cover a wide range from culture to labor to public health.
*The Next Los Angeles by Gottlieb, Vallianatos, Freer, and Dreier (Univ. of Calif.) A concise and useful introduction to the 20th century political history of L.A. from a left perspective, plus a proposal for a program progressives should unite behind now. There should be a guide like this to the history of every city.
*Labor Rights Are Civil Rights: Mexican American Workers in 20thCentury America by Zaragosa Vargas (Princeton University). At a time when unions are still divided over whether to embrace and empower immigrant workers, Vargas describes immigrant struggles for labor rights in the years before and after World War II that helped set the stage for the civil rights movement.
*Sickness and Wealth: The Corporate Assault on Global Health by Fort, Mercer, and Gish (South End). A comprehensive look at how policies of global corporations, governments, and institutions like the World Bank and World Trade Organization are undermining health in poor countries.
*Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice by Silliman, Fried, Ross, and Gutierrez (South End). Uses case studies to show the race, ethnicity, and class issues that go beyond the media's portrayal of a "choice" movement led by white women.
*Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate by George Lakoff (Chelsea Green). Lakoff has received a great deal of publicity for arguing that Democrats ought to pay attention to framing issues and choosing vocabulary in a way that connects with an electoral majority. This call for more deliberate strategy is sometimes more useful than his particular prescriptions for implementation.
*The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions by Dr. David Ray Griffin (Interlink). The author of "The New Pearl Harbor" went through the 9/11 Commission report and concludes that it was more designed to bring "closure" to the event than to investigate the administration's actions leading up to it.
*Hijacking Catastrophe by Sut Jhally and Jeremy Earp (Olive Branch). Interviews with many of the left's leading commentators on how Bush and the right used fear after 9/11 to implement their longstanding political agenda.
*Lifeline by Iris DeMent (Flariella). If you want to hear some truly spiritual music that brings to life what religious feeling was before it was hijacked by political hacks and masters of right-wing fundraising, try this masterpiece.
*Steve Earle: Live from Austin (New West). This newly reissued 1986 live performance from the Austin City Limits series is a classic expression of Earle's raw honesty, directness, and storytelling power.
*Legacy by Guy Davis (Red House). An easygoing collection of new and classic blues.
Free tools for effective grassroots organizing and communication, as well as back issues of World Wide Work, are available at TheWorkSite.org.
Contributions to the American Labor Education Center are welcome and may be sent to 1869 Mintwood Pl. NW, Suite 43, Washington, DC 20009. Thank you.