WORLD WIDE WORK - October 2005
This edition of the free bulletin, World Wide Work, is published by the
American Labor Education Center, an independent nonprofit founded in
New and worth noting…
*Occupation: Dreamland is a documentary that presents an intimate
view of a U.S. army unit in Faluja. Instead of the heavy-handed Michael
Moore propaganda style, these filmmakers intertwine footage of the
soldiers’ daily experiences with thoughtful interviews about their
sometimes conflicting feelings about their mission and their encounters
with Iraqis in the streets. The result is a highly credible and moving
film that quietly lets the soldiers themselves reveal the
counterproductiveness of the military presence and shows how much common
ground there could be between Americans and Iraqis if circumstances were
*Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price is a documentary scheduled
for release during Wal-Mart Week of actions Nov. 13-19. For information
see wakeupwalmart.com and walmartwatch.org
*Touch of Sound is an enchanting documentary about one of the
world’s leading percussionists, Evelyn Glennie, who as a hearing impaired
woman shares her distinct sensibility and relationship to sound. Includes
stunning performance footage.
*The Last Trapper is a documentary with some scenes reenacted that
portrays a couple who live year round in the Yukon wilderness.
*Rethinking Mathematics: Teaching Social Justice by the Numbers
(Rethinking Schools Press). Some of the latest innovative
experiences and ideas for using the teaching of math to promote critical
thinking and civic participation. Also new: Rethinking *Globalization,
an indepth compilation of material to help students examine issues
raised by globalization. Both these guides are interesting reading even
*Ordinary Wolves by Seth Kantner (Milkweed). An engrossing
autobiographical novel about growing up in remote Alaska and then
encountering modern urban life. Unusually authentic, detailed, and
*Shattering the Stereotypes: Muslim Women Speak Out edited by
Fawzia Afzal-Khan (Olive Branch). A collection that gives post-9/11 voice
to diverse attitudes on the part of Muslim women from seven countries and
various ethnic backgrounds.
*Lucha Libre, The Man in the Silver Mask by Xavier Garza (Cinco
Puntos). A bilingual children’s book that tells a story about the
wrestling matches between good and evil that are beloved community events
in Mexican culture.
*My So-Called Digital Life edited by Bob Pletka (Santa Monica
Press). Two thousand California teenagers were given digital cameras to
document their lives and communities. Three hundred of their photographs
are printed with commentary they provided. Many reveal a world in which
it is a real struggle to maintain hope.
*Enough Already! by Bruce O'Hara (New Star). Aimed at
professionals in their 50s, this energetic and hopeful book argues
against waiting until standard retirement age to begin new, long
postponed pursuits and life changes. A key for many such people, O'Hara
says, is to learn to live with less income in order to free up time.
*1491 by Charles C. Mann (Knopf). Collects recent research
suggesting that before Columbus the peoples of North American were more
numerous and in many ways more advanced than their European counterparts.
Challenging images of “primitive” natives, Mann argues that the so-called
“conquest” was made possible by the spreading of disease and not by
superior culture or arms.
*Line Break by James Scully (Curbstone). Provocative essays that
argue that all language is political. Critiques, for example, supposedly
“left” poetry or other arts that celebrate the victimhood rather than
empowerment of exploited people.
*Poor Workers’ Unions by Vanessa Tait (South End). A journalist
and union activist looks at movements since the 1960s that were organized
on issues affecting people of color and working women that the
traditional labor movement failed to address. She reports that many of
the most successful union organizing campaigns in the past two decades
have used tactics similar to those poor people’s organizations, and
argues that social justice unionism must be a key to any revitalization
*The Heart of Whiteness by Robert Jensen (City Lights). An essay
in which a white professor grapples with his own experiences and feelings
about race and challenges common rationalizations and responses such as
*Writing the World: On Globalization edited by David Rothenberg
and Wandee J. Pryor (MIT). Essays, memoirs, poems, and stories that
reflect a variety of cross-cultural personal experiences in an
increasingly globalized world.
*Silenced edited by David Dadge (Prometheus). First-person reports
from all over the world by journalists who faced repression for exposing
*Loving Through Bars by Cynthia Martone (Santa Monica Press). A
personal account by a school principal as she discovered the problems
faced by her students who were among the 2.3 million children in the U.S.
who have a parent in prison.
*Souls Alike by Bonnie Raitt (Capitol). Raitt mixes in some new
musical styles and more adventurous songwriters.
*Fiddler’s Green and Cornbread Nation by Tim O’Brien (Sugar
Hill). Two brilliant new CDs that are probably categorized as bluegrass
but stretch the limits of that genre in many different directions.
*Those Were the Days by Dolly Parton (Sugar Hill). Parton sings a
dozen well known songs from the 1960s In combination with a mixture of
other performers from that era and from today.
*Paradise Hotel by Eliza Gilkyson (Red House). While not as
consistently original as her previous album, this one has some high
points, including a song whose lyrics are based on letters an ancestor
wrote during the Revolutionary War.
*My Better Self by Dar Williams (Razor & Tie). “Teens for God”
highlights a collection of personal songs with social overtones.
workinglife.typepad.com and houseoflabor.tpmcafe.com are blogs
that frequently post and provide opportunities for commentary on
developments in the union movement.
ilr.cornell.edu/globalunionsconference has information about
a Feb. 9-12, 2006 international conference in New York on global
is a site with news about cooperative initiatives by the
Steelworkers, Sierra Club, and other labor and environmental groups.
is a site maintained by the AFL-CIO to provide information about
consumer products and services that are union made.
has resources and commentary about issues related to class in
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..