This edition of the free bulletin, World Wide Work, is published by the
American Labor Education Center, an independent nonprofit founded in
WORLD WIDE WORK
New and worth noting…
*An Unreasonable Woman by Diane Wilson (Chelsea Green). A true
autobiographical story that is as engaging as a good novel. Written by a
fourth-generation commercial fisherwoman in Texas who gradually got drawn
into leading a fight against a multinational polluter and regulators who
turned a blind eye. The writing style is stunningly original, full of
humor and irony, authentic dialogue, and rich images and similes.
*Patrols by Walter Dean Myers (HarperCollins). A most unusual
children’s book about war. Focuses on a U.S. soldier in Vietnam and his
fears and feelings about the opposing army. Compelling graphics.
*Crossing Bok Chitto by Tim Tingle (Cinco Puntos). A beautifully
illustrated children’s story about Choctaws in Mississippi who helped
nearby slaves escape to freedom.
*Saving Troy by William B. Patrick (Hudson Whitman). The author
spent a year with firefighters in Troy, New York, and provides an
insider, non-sugarcoated account of the psychological as well as physical
stresses they face. A rare up-close-and-personal window into a
*Hokum edited by Paul Beatty (Bloomsbury). While this substantial
collection is billed as an “anthology of African-American humor,” many of
the items have intensely serious overtones. Includes poetry, jokes, short
stories, rap lyrics, and much more by dozens of the best known black
writers and public figures throughout American history.
*Re-Inventing the People by Shelton Stromquist (Univ. of
Illinois). An academic study that argues that the failure of much of
modern liberalism to embrace class issues has its roots in the same blind
spot in the Progressive movement more than a hundred years ago.
*Letters from Young Activists edited by Berger, Boudin, and Farrow
(Nation Books). Thoughts from an impressively diverse group of nearly 50
young activists about issues they face in their work and within the
progressive movement. A few examples: Sarah Stillman argues that the
self-described Third Wave of the women’s movement must become as
concerned with economic and class issues at home and abroad as with
personal and cultural freedom. Nell Hirschmann-Levy asks whether
requiring gay and lesbian union organizers to hide their identities is
the best way to build a strong and inclusive movement.
*A Right to Housing edited by Rachel Bratt, Michael Stone, Chester
Hartman (Temple University). A comprehensive examination of the housing
crisis in America, why past responses have failed, and what should be
*Inside Toyland by Christine L. Williams (Univ. of Calif.) A Texas
sociologist worked for about six weeks each at two different toy stores,
getting an inside view of class, race, and gender issues in the
large-scale retail industry.
*Strikes, Picketing, and Inside Campaigns: A Legal Guide for Unions
by Robert M. Schwartz (Work Rights Press). A practical and readable
step-by-step guide to the legal aspects of setting up, conducting, and
concluding a strike.
*Solidarity for Sale by Robert Fitch (Public Affairs). An attack
on virtually everyone in the union movement, from Teamsters for a
Democratic Union to the officials they have opposed, from John Sweeney to
Andy Stern to union leaders who don’t like either one of them. The
concluding chapter on what should be done features proposals from the
Karl Rove/Grover Norquist/U.S. Chamber of Commerce wish list, including
prohibiting union contracts that require workers who benefit to
contribute their fair share in dues, eliminating legal certification for
unions that have majority support at a workplace so those workers could
be divided among multiple unions, and so on.
*Turning Life Into Fiction by Robin Hemley (Graywolf). A guide for
the many aspiring fiction writers who aren’t sure where to get authentic
material. Talks about how to keep a journal, write down one’s dreams,
build on stories told by elders, and other techniques. Includes
*Trust and Betrayal in the Workplace by Dennis Reina and Michelle
Reina ((Berrett-Koehler). Practical advice with lots of examples.
*Sundown Towns by James Loewen (New Press). Beginning in the 1890s
thousands of communities in the Midwest and West began to drive African
Americans out of their towns through violence, laws, and other tactics.
Communities that today seem to have always been “naturally” all white
were, in many cases, made that way through conscious policies.
*Forgotten Families by Jody Heymann (Oxford University). An
account of how changing conditions of work in the global economy affect
children and families around the world.
*A Blessing and a Curse by Drive-By Truckers (New West). These
working class southern rockers have made their most musical album yet,
filled with lyrics that dwell on people living and, in some cases,
overcoming the hard life.
*After Innocence is a powerful documentary about men who have served
up to 25 years in prison for crimes they did not commit – and who are now
being released because of DNA testing or other new developments in their
cases. One of the men was originally jailed after a rape victim picked
him out of a line-up, only to be released years later when the actual
rapist confessed. The woman who was raped now tours the country giving
talks about the weaknesses of eyewitness testimony. Another subject
points out how lucky he is that he was jailed in a state that does not
have capital punishment; otherwise, he would have been executed before
his innocence was finally proven.
*Kissed by Winter is an exceptionally moving and beautifully acted
feature film about redemption that focuses on a Swedish woman who leaves
her medical practice in Stockholm to be a country doctor in a small town
in Norway after her young son dies in an accident she believes to be her
*Shipping Out is an hour-long documentary about women who make
their living as ship captains or crew.
www.walmartworkersrights.org Has a short, clever, and funny video
drawing attention to the decision by singer Garth Brooks to front for
Wal-Mart. Features a take-off on his old hit, “Friends in Low Places,”
that is transformed into “Friends with Low Wages.” Take a look, and then
email your friends with the link.
Poster artist Doug Minkler makes available some of his images for free
www.ironweedfilms.com A new effort to promote progressive,
independent films and encourage people to organize house parties to watch
Correction: The title of A People’s History of Science
by Clifford D. Conner (Nation Books) was rendered incorrectly in our last
edition. We regret the error.
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