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 - June 2005
New and worth noting...
Sir! No Sir! -- a new documentary film by David Zeiger. Many people
today think of the "anti-war movement" during Vietnam as something that
happened only on college campuses. This film tells the timely story of the
courageous opposition to the war that grew within the ranks of the military
itself. (World premiere in L.A., Sunday, June 19, 7 pm, Directors Guild
Theater, 7920 Sunset Blvd. Tickets at
www.lafilmfest.com. Second screening Thursday,
June 23, 5 pm.).
Class Matters: Cross-Class Alliance Building for Middle-Class Activists
by Betsy Leondar-Wright (New Society). This guide to how organizations and
individuals can take class into account in building effective and united
movements should be required reading before middle-class activists make
unnecessary mistakes and miss opportunities. Built mainly on a series of
short first-person anecdotes from dozens of activists that illustrate basic
issues and principles, the book is packed with practical and honest
discussion and light on rhetoric.
Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching by Poverty & Race
Research Action Council and Teaching for Change (order via
teachingforchange.org). This admirable 576-page resource guide for teachers
and community groups provides practical tools for teaching more about the
civil rights movement than that Martin Luther King was a great speaker or
that Rosa Parks sat down in a bus. It provides lesson plans, tips from
teachers, readings, and other materials, and connects the African-American
movement to the struggles of other groups. It was prepared by experienced
educators and is already in use in many schools. The book makes
illuminating reading even for those who are not teachers but are interested
in the history of the movement for progressive social change.
Music of the Mill by Luis J. Rodriguez (Rayo). This book might cause
heartburn for literary experts because of it is a quirky mixture of novel,
nonfiction, autobiography, and the author's musings about spirituality, the
good life, and many other topics. But because it draws so heavily from his
own experiences as an L.A. steelworker and cultural and community activist,
it is informative and authentic - like spending a few hours talking to a
thoughtful person and storyteller who has seen and done a lot in his day.
(See the author's bio at
Much of what's in the bio is in the book in one form or another.) Rare in
its depiction of industrial work and union politics among Latino, African
American, and white workers.
On the Border by Michel Warshawski (South End). A Jewish activist in
Israel who has fought for peace and justice for both Jews and Palestinians
argues that Israelis must find a way to live as part of the Middle East and
not in what he calls their own new ghetto.
California Uncovered edited by Divakaruni, Justice, and Quay (Heyday). A
diverse, high quality collection of short stories, excerpts from novels,
poems, and interviews. It is sponsored by the California Council for the
Humanities, which intends the book to be a tool in a state-wide campaign of
exhibits, events, and school projects. The excerpts from novels in
particular provide a good sampler for further reading.
The Other Side of the Postcard edited by devorah major (City Lights).
When the editor was named San Francisco's poet laureate, she used her new
position to stimulate and collect poems by school children, homeless
people, workers, and other voices that need to be heard.
Labor, Loyalty, and Rebellion by Carl R. Weinberg (Southern Illinois
University). Explores the complicated world of Illinois coal miners who
went on strike during World War I, defying their government and their union
leaders, but then were stirred to such patriotic feelings that they lynched
a German-American miner accused of disloyal statements about the U.S.
Directo al Corazon by Los Tigres del Norte (Fonovisa). Songs that draw on
poignant experiences of immigrants along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Exploration by Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion (New West). Arlo
Guthrie's daughter and her husband are continuing the family musical
tradition with this debut collaboration. A few tracks, notably "Swing of
Things," give a glimpse of what they'll be able to achieve as their
www.TheWorkSite.org has, among many other
features, practical tips on how to conduct better meetings, organize
rallies that inspire, work effectively with committees, and much more. See
the "Organizing Nuts and Bolts" folder in the site's Tools section.
www.LaborArts.org is a web museum of labor art
Free tools for effective grassroots organizing and communication, as well
as back issues of World Wide Work, are available at
Contributions to the American Labor Education Center are welcome and may
be sent to 1835 Kilbourne Place NW, Washington, DC 20010.. Thank you.