We end this project just before May 1st, a day whose history is tied to the more than 300,000 workers that walked off their jobs on May 1, 1886. Police then reacted the way police now react—with violence and brutality. A few days later, a public meeting was called in Haymarket Square in Chicago to discuss police brutality, and unsurprisingly, the gathering ended with police firing into a crowd and killing civilians. Eight anarchists were arrested and convicted of murder, and four of them were hung. The Haymarket affair is just one example of the gross injustices that occur in the United States of America.
This final list is longer (and still lacking) and some of the texts more dense than I would usually recommend, but each one has in some way expanded my understanding of the mechanization that trap us and offer insight into the systems we live in.
I was 12 years old when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed in 1994, and 18 years old when the Seattle World Trade Organization protests happened in 1999. My whole life has been witness to the rise of globalization and those organizing against it. As the world and climate changes rapidly because of policies, corporations, and governments - artists, workers, abolitionists, and communities continue to intervene and disrupt the state and its attempts at subjugation and destruction.
We find ourselves amid a global pandemic that has forced us to reckon with capitalism’s thirst. However, we do not have to exist under the conditions that exploit workers, that incarcerates Black and Brown people in prison or in detention facilities, that allows houseless populations to sleep in parking lots, that targets Black and Indigenous communities because of racism and white supremacy.
In a speech given by Lilia Watson, she presents an idea credited to the 1970’s Aboriginal activist movement: “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” On this May Day, in the year 2020, in all of this calamity and uncertainty, I offer my final words to you: come and let us work together.
- mónica teresa ortiz
Gore Capitalism by Sayak Valencia
In a lucid and transgressive voice, Valencia unravels the workings of the politics of death in the context of contemporary networks of hyper-consumption, the ups and downs of capital markets, drug trafficking, narcopower, and the impunity of the neoliberal state.She offers a trenchant critique of masculinity and gender constructions in Mexico, linking their misogynist force to the booming trade in violence. This book is essential reading for anyone seeking to analyze the new landscapes of war. It provides novel categories that allow us to deconstruct what is happening, while proposing vital epistemological tools developed in the convulsive Third World border space of Tijuana.
Carceral Capitalism by Jackie Wang
In this collection of essays in Semiotext(e)'s Intervention series, Jackie Wang examines the contemporary incarceration techniques that have emerged since the 1990s. The essays illustrate various aspects of the carceral continuum, including the biopolitics of juvenile delinquency, predatory policing, the political economy of fees and fines, cybernetic governance, and algorithmic policing.
Antigona Gonzalez by Sara Uribe
"As the families of so many disappeared throughout Mexico, Sara Uribe's ANTIGONA GONZALEZ roams a convulsed land looking for the body of Tadeo, her brother. As urgent as it is delicate, ANTIGONA GONZALEZ summons the dead and brings them to our tables, for the day we cease sharing memory and language with them, we ourselves will become loss, vanished sign, oblivion."
—Cristina Rivera- Garza
Works of Paulo Freire
Paulo Reglus Neves Freire (1921–1997) was a Brazilian educator, philosopher and leading advocate of critical pedagogy. His revolutionary pedagogical theory influenced educational and social movements throughout the world. You can get many of his books through Bookshop.org, and a good one to start with would be his highly influential Pedagogy of the Oppressed.
The Psalms and Struggle and Liberation by Ernesto Cardenal
These poems encapsulate Cardenal’s rewriting of the biblical psalms of David, and his condemnation modern-day evils. These poems express the tension between Cardenal's revolutionary political fervor and his religious faith. The book culminates in an apocalyptic view of the world, a theme that becomes an obsession in later works.
The Violence of Love by Oscar A. Romero
These selections from the sermons and writings of Archbishop Oscar Romero share the message of a great holy prophet of modern times. Three short years transformed Romero, archbishop of San Salvador, from a conservative defender of the status quo into one of the churchs most outspoken voices of the oppressed. Though silenced by an assassins bullet, his spiritand the challenge of his life lives on.
Labor, Global Supply Chains, and the Garment Industry in South Asia edited by Sanchita Banerjee Saxena
This book argues that larger flaws in the global supply chain must first be addressed to change the way business is conducted to prevent factory owners from taking deadly risks to meet clients’ demands in the garment industry in Bangladesh. A much-needed review and evaluation of the many initiatives that have been set up in Bangladesh in the wake of Rana Plaza, this book is a valuable addition to academics in the fields of development studies, gender and women’s studies, human rights, poverty and practice, political science, economics, sociology, anthropology, and South Asian studies.
Are Prisons Obsolete? by Dr. Angela Davis
With her characteristic brilliance, grace and radical audacity, Angela Y. Davis has put the case for the latest abolition movement in American life: the abolition of the prison. As she quite correctly notes, American life is replete with abolition movements, and when they were engaged in these struggles, their chances of success seemed almost unthinkable. In Are Prisons Obsolete?, Professor Davis seeks to illustrate that the time for the prison is approaching an end. She argues forthrightly for "decarceration", and argues for the transformation of the society as a whole.
Lucy Parsons: Freedom, Equality & Solidarity edited by Gale Ahrens
"More dangerous than a thousand rioters!" That's what the Chicago police called Lucy Parsons--America's most defiant and persistent anarchist agitator, whose cross-country speaking tours inspired hundreds of thousands of working people. Here for the first time is a hefty selection of her powerful writings and speeches: on anarchism, women, race matters, class war, the IWW, and the U.S. injustice system.
Medical Apartheid by Harriet A. Washington
From the era of slavery to the present day, the first full history of black America's shocking mistreatment as unwilling and unwitting experimental subjects at the hands of the medical establishment. No one concerned with issues of public health and racial justice can afford not to read Medical Apartheid, a masterful book that will stir up both controversy and long-needed debate.
Discourse on Colonialism by Aimé Césaire
Aimé Césaire eloquently describes the brutal impact of capitalism and colonialism on both the colonizer and colonized, exposing the contradictions and hypocrisy implicit in western notions of 'progress' and 'civilization' upon encountering the 'savage,' 'uncultured,' or 'primitive.' Here, Césaire reaffirms African values, identity, and culture, and their relevance, reminding us that "the relationship between consciousness and reality are extremely complex. . . . It is equally necessary to decolonize our minds, our inner life, at the same time that we decolonize society."
On the Post Colony by Achille Mbembe
Achille Mbembe is one of the most brilliant theorists of postcolonial studies writing today. In On the Postcolony he profoundly renews our understanding of power and subjectivity in Africa. In a series of provocative essays, Mbembe contests diehard Africanist and nativist perspectives as well as some of the key assumptions of postcolonial theory.
Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color by Kimberlé Crenshaw
Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw is an American lawyer, civil rights advocate, philosopher, and a leading scholar of critical race theory who developed the theory of intersectionality. In this academic paper, Crenshaw is known for introducing and developing intersectionality, the theory of how overlapping or intersecting social identities, particularly minority identities, relate to systems and structures of oppression, domination, or discrimination. This article is free and available to everyone online, and it is a must read.
Decolonising the Mind by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
A collection of essays about language and its constructive role in national culture, history, and identity. The book, which advocates linguistic decolonization, is one of Ngũgĩ's best-known and most-cited non-fiction publications, helping to cement him as a preeminent voice theorizing the "language debate" in post-colonial studies. Ngũgĩ dedicated Decolonising the Mind "to all those who write in African languages, and to all those who over the years have maintained the dignity of the literature, culture, philosophy, and other treasures carried by African languages."
Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times by Jasbir K. Puar
In this pathbreaking work, Jasbir K. Puar argues that configurations of sexuality, race, gender, nation, class, and ethnicity are realigning in relation to contemporary forces of securitization, counterterrorism, and nationalism. She examines how liberal politics incorporate certain queer subjects into the fold of the nation-state, through developments including the legal recognition inherent in the overturning of anti-sodomy laws and the proliferation of more mainstream representation.