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…
*Outside the Box: Corporate Media, Globalization, and the UPS Strike
by Deepa Kumar (University of Illinois). On the 10th
anniversary of the UPS strike that was the most successful national
worker action in a generation, a communications professor analyzes the
methods used by the union to build public support, the failure of the
company to respond effectively, and the frames the news media put on the
story as the campaign progressed.
*Heat by George Monbiot (South End). As it has become harder for
corporate interests to argue that global warming does not exist, a
fallback message has been that doing anything about it will cause too
much disruption in lifestyles that depend on energy use. Monbiot puts
forward a concrete plan to cut emissions and discusses frankly what will
and will not have to change.
*The Education of Ronald Reagan by Thomas Evans (Columbia
University). Ronald Reagan as the hired voice of corporate America was
the creation of Lemuel Boulware, GE's labor relations strategist, who
paid the actor to spearhead a carefully designed campaign to win the
hearts and minds of American workers. This history, told by a
conservative Republican admirer, is thought provoking for progressives
trying to rebuild a political majority after decades of being on the
*Understories by Jake Kosek (Duke University). A readable
discussion of how race and class underlie environmental issues, focused
on battles over the forests of northern New Mexico.
*Workers and the Wild by Lawrence M. Lipin (Univ. of Illinois).
Using the Oregon union movement as a case study, the author examines how
labor’s unconditional support for development to create jobs began to
change in the early 1900s as working men and women came to value outdoor
recreation and the conservation of public lands.
*River of Renewal by Stephen Most (Oregon Historical Society
Press). An historical account of the interaction between native peoples,
white settlers, and the environment, brought up to date with a profile of
recent organized efforts to help native people, ranchers, and commercial
fishing interests find common ground.
*The Father of All Things by Tom Bissell (Pantheon). A journalist
who was born after the war in Vietnam travels to that country with his
father who fought there. The book chronicles the debates they have and
their interactions with Vietnamese of both generations.
*The Bee Tree by Stephen Buchmann and Diana Cohn (Cinco Puntos). A
beautifully illustrated children’s book about a boy in Malaysia who
undergoes a rite of passage to adulthood by climbing a tall tree by
moonlight as part of a honey-gathering ritual.
*Los Angeles Noir and New Orleans Noir (Akashic). Two more
in the series of noir anthologies based in a particular city.
*No Child Left Behind and the Public Schools by Scott Franklin
Abernathy (University of Michigan). Analyzes the impact of the Bush
education policy and the difficulty of measuring effective education
through standardized tests.
*Labor, Free and Slave by Bernard Mandel (University of Illinois).
Reissue of a 1955 study of the relationship between abolitionists and the
emerging white labor movement before the Civil War.
*Hear and Now. One of the best documentaries of recent years features
a deaf couple in their 60s who decide to get implants so they can hear.
Their story provides an in-depth look at what hearing impaired people
face every day and a poignant view of aging, marriage, and family.
*Prison Town. Rural communities across America have become
company towns similar to those created in the heyday of coal mining and
steel making, but now prisons are the industry that dominates the
economy, politics, and culture. By following a laid-off mill worker and
dairy worker who are reluctantly entering training to be guards, this
film gives a unique perspective on the social damage the prison-based
economy is causing..
*Mardi Gras: Made in China and China Blue. Two
documentaries that introduce U.S. consumers to the young women in China
who produce, respectively, blue jeans and Mardi Gras beads for sale in
America. The director of China Blue spent years working on the film and
as a result has terrific inside footage. Mardi Gras adds a dimension by
juxtaposing happily unaware partygoers in New Orleans with the Chinese
workers who supply traditional props for the celebration.
*The Boss of It All. The top executive at a Danish software
development company invents a mysterious “boss of it all” who supposedly
lives in America and is responsible for all the tough decisions employees
just have to live with. When he decides to sell the company out from
under the hard-working staff, he needs a signature from the made-up boss
on legal documents. He hires an unemployed actor to play the part, and
that’s when the film turns both hilarious and revealing about corporate
culture in today’s world.
*Store Wars. Shows events over a one-year period as a small town
in Virginia decides whether to accept a Wal-Mart store.
*The Drugs I Need by Austin Lounge Lizards (Blue Corn). Political
satire that ranges from the clever to the obvious. Examples of song
titles: One True God, We’ve Been through Some Crappy Times Before, Buenos
Dias Budweiser, Xmas Time for Visa.
*Greatest Hits by Billy Joe Shaver (Compadre). The songwriter
singing his own songs that other artists have made famous. The best: Old
Chunk of Coal (“but I’m going to be a diamond someday”).
*Tangled in Our Dreams by Healy and Juravich (Finnegan Music). Old
folk music style with songs about peace, friendship, rivers, and
*The Last Suit You Wear by Larry Sparks (McCoury). Traditional
bluegrass sound with songs such as Lazarus and the Rich Man, Casualty of
War, and The Old Coal Mine.
*The Phenomenal Ruthie Foster by Ruthie Foster (Blue Corn). If
you’re in the mood for the blues.
*Detalles y Emociones by Los Tigres del Norte (Fonovisa). A new
collection from the troubadours of the Latino immigrant experience.
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well as back issues of World Wide Work, are available at
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