Kersplebedeb | Kersplebedeb: New Classes for a New Class Politics (Gabriel Kuhn)

I spent the past weekend writing a German review of the new Kersplebedeb edition of David Gilbert’s Looking at the U.S. White Working Class Historically, originally published in 1984. While the original piece mainly consisted of reviews of three relevant publications – Ted Allen’s pamphlet White Supremacy in the U.S./Slavery and the Origins of Racism, W.E.B. DuBois ...

mark a rayner: Roundup of more great reviews of The Fatness

Reviews continue to get posted about my new book. If you haven’t already checked out Joe Mahoney’s funny video review of The Fatness, you definitely should. There’s also a new review up on IndieReader.com: IR VERDICT: Easy to devour in one sitting, this tongue-and-cheek account of a BMI-obsessed society is both laughable and cringe-inducing. Unfolding in ...

mark a rayner: Assorted Nonsense Reviews The Fatness

My buddy and fellow-writer, Joe Mahoney, has done a charming and funny video reviewing The Fatness. In addition to having wonderful taste, Joe writes fiction himself. You can check out his debut novel, A Time and a Place, here on Goodreads. Oh, and I’m sure he’d appreciate it if you purchased a copy of both ...

Canadian Dimension: Hué Back When: the Bloodbath in Vietnam Was Us

Hue 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam Mark Bowden Atlantic Monthly Press, 2017 For Mark Bowden, author of Hué 1968, the pivotal battle of the War in Vietnam did not follow the script most Americans were used to scanning in their newspapers or visualizing on the evening news. The war Americans ...

Canadian Dimension: Force of Evil: Abraham Polonsky and Anti-Capitalist Noir

Force of Evil Abraham Polonsky The Enterprise Studios, 1948 Years ago I worked in the law office of attorney Leon Despres, former Alderman for Chicago’s Fifth Ward, which comprehends Hyde Park and the University of Chicago. Despres was a Chicago legend, famous for his opposition to the regime of Richard J. Daley and for his ...

Kersplebedeb | Kersplebedeb: Escaping the Prism – Fade into Black, by Jalil Muntaqim: Book Review by Phyllis Taub Greenleaf

This book is a powerful tapestry of Scholarship, Activism and Poetry. The Personal with the Political gives this book balance and magnetism! During the time when key leaders of the Black Panther Party were assassinated by FBI operatives while asleep in their beds, Jalil Muntaqim, a new member of the BPP, was arrested just before ...

Canadian Dimension: Wormwood and a Shocking Secret of War: How Errol Morris Vindicated My Father, Wilfred Burchett

Wormwood Errol Morris Fourth Floor Productions, 2017 We see a wall with murky brown floral wallpaper and a door with a peephole and the number 1018A. A man is talking on the phone. He says: “See you tomorrow. I love you, Alice.” The camera pans out and reveals another man, sitting on the twin bed ...

mark a rayner: IndiePicks Magazine Loves The Fatness

Great review in the January 2018 edition of IndiePicks Magazine! Keelan Cavanaugh has been sentenced to a very different kind of prison. Uncomfortably installed at the Calorie Reduction Centre (CRC) — also known as the Fatness, or the Girth Gulag — he will lose weight, whether he wants to or not. In Rayner’s newest work ...

Canadian Dimension: Alexander Payne’s take on climate change, overpopulation, social inequality, and more

Downsizing Alexander Payne Paramount Pictures, 2017 Alexander Payne’s new film Downsizing, is an uneven, but engaging science-fiction satire that proposes to solve the earth’s ecological and other problems by “downsizing,” or physically shrinking, human beings. The creator of such noteworthy films as Election (1999), About Schmidt (2002) and Nebraska (2013), Payne employs, in Downsizing, a ...

Canadian Dimension: Roman J. Israel, Esq.: Rebel with a cause

Roman J. Israel, Esq. Directed by Dan Gilroy Sony Pictures, 2017 Dan Gilroy, writer-director of Nightcrawler (2014)—about a ruthless, amoral crime photographer—and now the legal drama Roman J. Israel, Esq., has something to say about contemporary society: “[We] have entered a time of hyper-capitalism, and for me it’s sort of the law of the jungle. ...

Canadian Dimension: A wake-up call for radical communities

Confronting Injustice: Social Activism in the Age of Individualism Umair Muhammed Haymarket, 2014 Drawing on his years of activism and academic research, Umair Muhammed delivers a compelling case for change within activist communities in his book, Confronting Injustice. The book is a quick read and constructed cleverly; it unites political anecdotes, historical facts, quotes from ...

Canadian Dimension: It’s the economy, stupid!

Washington’s Long War on Syria Stephen Gowans Baraka Books, 2017 The impression of a region teeming with internecine enmities along bewilderingly archaic ethnic and religious lines hampers understanding of the Middle East. Stephen Gowans’s book on Syria contests this impression powerfully. It focuses on the origins, motivations and interactions of four key actors: U.S. imperialism, ...

Canadian Dimension: Nawrocki’s Displaced/Misplaced exposes plight of migrant workers

Displaced/Misplaced Norman Nawrocki Les Pages Noires, 2017 Norman Nawroki, long a stunningly creative voice from out of Montréal’s anarchist community, combines spoken word with guitar, drum, piano and some very haunting violin in this compilation to benefit the city’s Immigrant Workers centre and Solidarity Across Borders. There were other instruments I couldn’t even recognize. Nawrocki’s ...

Canadian Dimension: Historical foundations of Aboriginal rights

Aboriginal Rights Claims and the Making and Remaking of History Arthur J. Ray McGill Queen’s University Press, 2016 Having long ago established himself as a foremost scholarly interlocutor of Canadian Indigenous history, Arthur Ray, with a career that spans those ’70s books on my shelf (two magisterial studies: Indians in the Fur Trade and with ...

Canadian Dimension: Addiction among the middle class

Opium Eater: The New Confessions Carolyn Zwarenstein Nonvella Publishing, 2016 In recent years, my newsfeed has played host to a steady trickle of articles documenting the alarming rise of opioid addiction rates in North America. Described by political pundits as a “quiet epidemic,” the explosion in the use and abuse of pharmaceutical opioids — substances ...

Canadian Dimension: Exploring settler-colonial culture

Settler: Identity and Colonialism in 21st Century Canada Emma Battell Lowman & Adam J. Barker Fernwood Publishing, 2015 Lowman and Barker’s Settler really dwells on the dominant culture in Canada as a settler-colonial culture. Hence it is not “about” Indigenous peoples per se, but rather the bad faith of a culture constructed on ongoing colonial ...

Canadian Dimension: First choice for a younger generation

Indigenous Nationhood: Empowering Grassroots Citizen Pamela Palmater Fernwood Publishing, 2015 No doubt for a younger generation of activists, Palmater’s Indigenous Nationhood will be a first choice. Her cadences — and anger — capture the mood of an emerging generation of social justice, broadly Left-oriented, ground level activists. When she writes that one of her goals ...

Canadian Dimension: Criminal law ejects Indigenous peoples from the frontiers

Fragile Settlements: Aboriginal Peoples, Law, and Resistance in South-West Australia and Prairie Canada Amanda Nettelbeck, Russel Smandych, Louis A. Knafla and Robert Foster UBC Press, 2016 A legal system designed to settle new territories and eject the resident population. A security apparatus installed to monitor the movements of dissenters. Collective punishment meted out with cruel ...

Canadian Dimension: One girl’s trauma exposes plight of nations

The Break Katherena Vermette House of Anansi Press, 2016 I received Indigenous author Katherena Vermette’s debut novel, The Break, as a gift over the holiday season. Having heard nothing of it, little did I know, upon turning its opening pages, that I would be carried from the comforts of my Winnipeg south-end suburban home into ...

Canadian Dimension: Mothers of colour challenge white feminism

Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines Edited by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, China Martens and Mai’a Williams Between the Lines and PM Press, 2016 This is an extraordinary book. Its dedication to all the revolutionary mothers expands Malcolm X’s call for freedom, justice, equality “by any means necessary”: “mothering is love by any means necessary.” ...

Art Threat: How Do you Spell Colonialism? A Review of Hot Docs’s 2017 Opening Film Bee Nation

The article below also appears at POV Magazine, which is providing comprehensive coverage of the Hot Docs festival, including an alternative take on the film reviewed below (by Judy Wolf). The notion that an Indigenous spelling bee competition could serve as the cohesive force to unite disparate First Nations children across Canada under one nation, ...

Canadian Dimension: Review: I Am Not Your Negro

I Am Not Your Negro Raoul Peck Velvet Films, 2016 Now and then, and despite its capitalist and racial biases, our culture throws up something that can speak quite eloquently and uniquely about the times we’re living through. In this case, I’m referring to an amazing documentary film that has been released recently, I Am ...

Canadian Dimension: Essays on Indigenous struggles offer both insight and oversight

Blockades or Breakthroughs? Aboriginal Peoples Confront the Canadian State Yale Belange & Whitney Lackenbauer McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015 Canada has a long history of Indigenous resistance to colonialism. A geography of Indigenous struggle with the state is invoked by the names Oka, Ipperwash, Gustafsen Lake and Caldeonia. Blockades or Breakthroughs, a new collection edited by ...

Canadian Dimension: ‘People’s history’ brought to life with voices from vibrant era

A Future Without Hate or Need: The Promise of the Jewish Left in Canada Ester Reiter Between the Lines, 2016 This is a wonderfully dense, rich, descriptive and analytical volume, certain to be unique in the appreciation and understanding of the Canadian Left. Emerita professor Ester Reiter deploys an amazing number of old photos, posters ...

Canadian Dimension: Reopen Bethlehem!

Open Bethlehem Leila Sansour Iambic Dream, 2015 He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’ Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder If I could put a notion in his head: ‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it Where there are cows? But here there are no cows. Before I built a ...