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The Best Activist Books Ever

Too many books, so little time!
Walking into a bookstore like Laughing Horse can be a bit daunting at times. As an activist, there are so many issues, authors, and branches of history worth investigating that it's often difficult to know where to begin. So in an effort to establish an essential list for the overwhelmed truth seeker, I am asking for your submissions to the unofficial Indymedia Best Activist Books Ever hit list. Please contribute your all time, essential, top 5 or so list of activist books below. Ooh, if you have any, you could do the same for must-see activist films too!

i don't know about all time best but, 30.Jan.2004 00:48

these have turned on some lights for me

"the activist handbook" by Randy Shaw, this is a obvious one, shows you how to be effective
"the emperor wears no clothes" by Jack Herer, not exactly a activists book but, could turn you into a hemp liberating maniac when you find out some truth about the plant.
"our media, not theirs" by Robert McChesney and John Nichols, media reform should be on all of our minds. without a valid media system we don't have a chance at reaching the masses, which is a must.
anything on media reform is good
"fast food nation" by Eric schlosser, this also comes to mind
i like Adous Huxley, once again not a activist thing but, i suggest everyone to read his stuff.
maybe we should just forget all this and burn our books
watching tv is easier

On the subject of basic rights, equality, and 30.Jan.2004 01:10

social structures

"Nickel and Dimed" by Barbara Ehrenheirt (sp)
The Price of Motherhood: Why the most important Job in the world is the least valued" by Anne Crittendon
"The Human Rights of Women" by Rachael something, who is from the UN
"Divorced by Justice: The abuse of women and children by family law judges and attorneys"
The Declaration of Independence
The United States Constitution
The Universal Declaration of the Rights of PEOPLES
"Disclosure" by Steven Greer

These books are all great places to start. They apply to anyone and everyone, challenge our most basic ways of thinking, and increase awareness. Anyone would be richer and better off reading them. I apologise for any errors in the titles and names.

My favorites 30.Jan.2004 01:46

Migratory Bird

1. (Fiction) The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, provides a historical perspective on modern day slaughter houses, mad cow and ecoli.
2. (Non Fiction) Fast Food Nation a modern day perspective that is earily reminscent of The Jungle.
3. (NF)Strike! by Jeremy Becher
4. (NF) In the Spirit Of Crazy Horse (about Leonard Peltier)
5. (NF)The Best Democracy Money Can Buy by Greg Palast Investigative Journalism on election Fraud, 9-11, etc. He is a writer for the Guardian
6. (NF)A Little Matter of Genocide: 1492- Present by Ward Churchill. (Genocide of the Native polulaces since Columbus.)
7. (F)The Almanac of the Dead by Leslie Marmon Silko. Excellent modern day fiction of Indian populaces in Arizona. Centers on the Yaqui tribe.
8. (NF)Fortunate Son. About George W. Bush and the imperialist family.
9. (NF) Pafifism as Pathology by Ward Churchill about pathifism undermining the movement and how it has crippled it's effectiveness.
10. Emily Dickinson's poetry explores depression during the civil war and diseases wiping out entire communities. She became a recluse.

what are you looking for? 30.Jan.2004 02:08

Charlie Parker

What are you looking for in an "activist book"? Are you trying to get outraged, inspired, informed, "thought-provoked," comforted, amused, etc? It all depends on what you're looking for. It's perhaps overbroad to ask for "activist books." But I'll try to lay out several categories, and then describe a few books in each category

In this category, we learn about how we got to where we are, which usually includes all manner of "hidden history" which gets buried by the powerful because knowing it could conflict with and make you less amenable to their current agendas.

_A People's History of the United States_ by Howard Zinn
this one is absolutely indispensable; an epic history of social struggles in the United States, little of which gets commonly taught in grade schools. It only scratches the surface, but it's a tantalizing scratch indeed

_The Wretched of the Earth_ by Frantz Fanon
indispensable for its insight into the colossal impact of Western imperialism on the modern world; the lives of more than half of humanity have been turned upside down in the space of a few short generations by the forces unleashed by European imperialism and capitalism; do you want to understand why "fanatics" commit "terrorism"? this would be a good place to start learning

_King Leopold's Ghost_ by Adam Hochschild
Hochschild recounts just one episode, but one of the more gruesome ones, in the history of modern imperialism: the murder of some ten million Africans at the beginning of the last century in the "Congo Free State" by King Leopold of Belgium and his mercenaries

_Whiteout_ by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair
sweeping, excruciatingly detailed history of the CIA's involvement in organized crime, drugs, money laundering, and bizarre, hare-brained, and demented criminal schemes for murdering or undermining its opponents. not an original, independent work of investigative journalism, but an excellent, wide ranging precis of an assortment of other excellent works in this field. a good place for starters. the bibliography has numerous leads if your appetite is whetted

In this category, we learn about the art of "manufacturing consent," in Chomsky's famous parlance, or how we are kept "where we are" whether we like it or not -- and convinced that we do, in fact, "like it"

_Rich Media, Poor Democracy_ by Robert W. McChesney
Superb introduction to all the crucial issues around media and its effects on our politics, and vice versa. Explains why we can never rely on profit-driven media to tell us the crucial truths we need to be informed participants in our own political and economic governance.

_Toxic Sludge is Good for You_ by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber
how do corporations like Enron, Union Carbide, Monsanto, and so many others, DO IT? how do they get away with SO MANY outrages and still come out "smelling like a rose"? how do they, time and time again, evade punishment for their criminal and antisocial activities? do you REALLY wanna know? read this book!

in this category, we learn about some of the more recent outrages that have been committed against us, the commonfolk, by the powerful

_Best Democracy Money Can Buy_ by Gregory Palast
This is not a single work, really, but a compendium of powerful, incredibly hard hitting exposes. Palast's work is too "hot" to appear in the American media; he has had to exile himself in Britain to produce his work, which appears in the Guardian newspaper and on his own BBC investigative news show, "News Night." Learn what REALLY happened in Florida in 2000 to allow the political featherweight, dyslexic son of a former president to get himself named "president."

In this category, we learn about how things COULD be, what is possible when people give a shit, and when they act on what they know is right.

_Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World_ by Alan Weisman
learn how a handful of dirt poor villagers, former smalltime drug dealers, egg head city slicker engineers, hippies, and Indians got together in the middle of a brutal, narcotrafficker infested civil war zone devastated by overgrazing, deforestation, and ecologic ruin, to build the most successful ecovillage in the world. learn how the rainforest is spontaneously growing back due to their efforts

_Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered_ by EF Schumacher
I read this book when I was 14 years old. it totally turned by head around. Schumacher's vision of a sane, humane economics, and society to go with it, remains utterly compelling and inspiring

films 30.Jan.2004 03:00

Charlie Parker

I don't have as extensive a list of films to recommend as I do books, but here are a few good ones, not all of them necessarily "activist" related per se, but all of them witty and politically insightful:

The Panama Deception (1993)
what really happened during the US invasion of Panama under Bush pappy. (Warning: some scenes in this film are not for the fainthearted.)

The President's Analyst (1967)
a lighthearted, amusing, but insightful look at the essential weirdness of politics and "parapolitics"

Doctor Strangelove; or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Peter Sellers' most brilliant, wickedly funny satire ever. A must see! (I'm always amazed at how many young 'uns haven't.)

The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980)
A South African film that pokes fun at the insanity, cruelty, and stupidity of the "sophisticated," "civilized," "white man." Some people have complained that its portrayal of indigenous peoples is patronizing, but I didn't think so. I really liked it.

Reds (1981)
Call me a shallow, hopeless romantic if you like, but there's something about Warren Beatty's portrayal of the dashing young John Reed, hometown Portland boy who in his twenties became the revolutionary journalist par excellence, reporting from the frontlines of the great events and upheavals of his era, recounting in near real time the exploits of Emiliano Zapata and Vladimir Lenin, that captivated me instantly. The movie really spends more time on John Reed's love life than his politics. Some would call it fluff. I guess I saw it at a young, impressionable age. It forever inspired me with the beauty and romance of fighting The Good Fight.

Lion of the Desert (1980)
The quintessential anti-imperialist film -- for a mass audience! Recounts the legendary struggle of Omar Mukhtar, the wise but humble Bedouin leader who leads his people in their struggle against Mussolini's brutal fascist plot against his country (modern Libya). Anthony Quinn is awesome as Omar

W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism (1971)
How to describe this one? A hilarious, wacky, totally off-beat, almost stream-of-consciousness satire about war, economics, capitalism, socialism, and sexuality, in the form of a quasi-biography of the life and work of Wilhelm Reich, the brilliant but eccentric psychologist who held that practically all human mental pathologies, especially wars, were caused by frustrated and suppressed sexual energy. Warning: this one's VERY hard to find!!

older activists: books by Dick Gregory and Bucky Fuller 30.Jan.2004 03:11


Critical Path -- R. Buckminster Fuller, long-term comprehensive book, the ultimate "activism" book
the author also known as Bucky Fuller, was 84 years old at the release of this book.
Fuller rewrites history and describes money/finance, mortgage "on death terms", interest and compound interest (a non-wealth producing venture), LAWCAP: lawyer-based capitalism and its predecessor: FINCAP: finance-based capitalism. Divide & Conquer to rule the people with the king as a figurehead stooge.
The $6 trillion transfer of people's money to govt. military and defense industries. Six trillion is sum total from WWII spent in the world on war-making in (1980?) dollars. The Cold War Game with U.S.S.R. & U.S. as the big players.

Instead of short-term projects including protests/demonstrations, Fuller advocated for the long-term and called himself a comprehensive anticipatory design scientist. Because Fuller projected so far into the future, he was not viewed as a threat to the powers and their money-making schemes, but worked to advance the idea that all humans can "make it" at a level only the "upper-class" can only dream of and that no one needs to live at the expense of another.

Some "Fullerisms" ----
Synergy -- in short, the total is greater than the sum of its parts, as witnessed in metal alloys, the dome having capabilties beyond its triangular parts The planet earth.
Obnoxico -- foolish inventions (including Corporate items) that are useless
Great Pirates --- the true rulers which may be applied to this day (as opposed to a "king")
Killingry -- killing people for money or power. The military, Cold War, etc.
there's many more but these are the ones I recall

Fuller was the inventor or designer of: the Geodesic Dome, the Dymaxion Map: a flat non-distortion world map, the Dymaxion Car: 1933 tear-drop shapred car with 40 mpg and 120 mph top-speed capabilties on a 1930s 90-horsepower V-8 engine, the Wichita House (Dymaxion Home), a 3-ton metal portable shelter
Fuller called the presidency of the U.S. the most apathetic job as he saw its submission to the true powers, a "king" in modern times. Fuller died in July 1983.


biography of an activist
Callus on My Soul A Memoir -- Dick Gregory 2000
One of America's most active activist. Dick Gregory may well have the largest FBI file of any living person.
Before becoming a Civil Rights activist, Gregory was a star college athlete running track, then became a comedian commanding thousands of dollars a week (back in the early 60s).
Gregory frequently used wit and publicity to upstage authority. Some of the issues Gregory has addressed:
assassinations of Medgar Evers, JFK, RFK, and names the killer of Martin Luther King, Jr.: Earl Clark, then a lieutenant with the Memphis police.
Health: fasting, vegetarian/fruitarian and talks on cancer, smoking, caffeine, A.I.D.S. and other diseases.
The book is only a glimpse as Gregory is a living legend with more chapters to be completed.


I would mention books on gardening & flowers but they don't inspire me that much --- though they form the foundation of the best produce we could ever raise File it under passive activism

Hiroshima, Mon Amour (1959) 30.Jan.2004 03:52

Charlie Parker

How could I forget this one? This is a moving, hauntingly beautiful film. A French woman visits postwar Hiroshima to make an antiwar film. She falls in love with a handsome young Japanese architect. But she has a secret that haunts her. Both have seen incredible suffering from war. This is not so much a film about politics, but about the human condition and the cruelties that war inflicts on the lives of ordinary people.

could recommend a couple of books a day for a year. 30.Jan.2004 04:30

but here's one that really got me going:

the algiers motel incident by john hersey.

about the police murder and torture of young blacks during the detroit riots of 1967 (1968?). this book will teach you most of all about racism. But it also shows, in the plain and simple language of participants, including cops, and victims, that the police do not serve the citizens but the people and organizations 'in charge'.

it was recommended to me by a friend years ago and it taught me a lot and really got me going in my resistance and activism.

also just about anything by studs terkel, especially 'working' and 'the good war' and 'race'.

Steal This Book 30.Jan.2004 08:37


Probably my all-time favorite is "Steal this Book", by Abbie Hoffman. Next on the list would be Thoreau's "Walden" and "Civil Disobedience".

more books 30.Jan.2004 09:37


the art of war, by sun tzu should be read by all revolutionaries.
revolution for the hell of it, by abbie hoffman, certainly has some good ideas for revolution kid-style
guerilla warfare by che guevera is also interesting.

as unpopular as it is, days of war, nights of love by the crimethInc ex-workers collective

read about permaculture, polyamory, and armed resistance.
pacifism as pathology, ward churchill

Don't forget the animals... 30.Jan.2004 11:47


Two Classics:
Peter Singer, Animal Liberation
Tom Regan, The Case for Animal Rights

And 30.Jan.2004 11:49


Ethics into Action by Peter Singer is a great activist book

re: saoirse 30.Jan.2004 11:54


"as unpopular as it is, days of war, nights..."

why is that book unpopular?

books 30.Jan.2004 12:12


Transforming a Rape Culture, Milkweed Editions
Intercourse, Andrea Dworkin
Staying Alive, Vandana Shiva
The Big Down (etcgroup.org report on nanotech)

More books 30.Jan.2004 13:31


In the Absence of the Sacred - Jerry Mander
Language Older than Words and Culture of Make Believe - Derrick Jensen
Culture Jam, the Uncooling of America - Kalle Lasn
Fast Food Nation, another recommendation
People's History - Zinn
Webs of Power - Starhawk
The Conquest of Paradise - Kirkpatrick Sale
War is a Force that Gives us Meaning - Chris Hedges

All excellent important books about the REAL history of the US , activism, & politics.

Find some funny stuff too, for some balance! Huffington, Moore, Hightower all write with lots of humor, which can get tedious, but it's nice for a break.

also 30.Jan.2004 13:36


Small Wonder by Barbara Kingsolver

Dr. Gonzo 30.Jan.2004 15:09


The Great Shark Hunt by Hunter S. Thompson, or pretty much anything he's written before 1990.
-provides a blueprint to take over a small towns election by using the "freak vote"
-the man has a wonderful hatred for nixon and some of Thompson's commentary on the nixon administration then is just as applicable to Bushco's adminstration now.

food for brain - mm mm good yummy 30.Jan.2004 15:26


Transforming a Rape Culture - Milkweed Editions
* Excellent writings from many different radical feminists about how rape is not an anomoly, but rather an inherent part of our society.

A Peoples' History of the United States - by Howard Zinn
* Indispensible history written from the perpspective of Indians, women, blacks, working class, and all those who did not "win" in histry's various struggles.

Saving Private Power - by Michael Zezima
* Fighting war demands that we deflate the blatant lie that WWII was a "good war", which has been used as a justification for many subsequent wars - this book deflates all the popular myths concerning that disgusting world war.

The Underground History of American Education - by John Taylor Gatto
Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling - by John Taylor Gatto
* Gatto does well at collecting all the openly stated onjectives of mandatory public school in the US, as told by the captains of industry themselves (who were architects of our education system) - which explains why US students are educated to be obedient, unwise, consumerist, scared, authoritarian, and uncritical thinkers.

Rich Media, Poor Democracy - by Robert McChesney
* Explains precisely the ways that corporate ownership has destroyed any kind of news/media system that could support real democracy.

The Monkeywrench Gang - by Edward Abbey
* 60s direct actioneer going wild with industrial sabotage. Fun fun fun.

Pacifism as Pathology - by Ward Churchill
* Taking on the myth that pacifism does anything other than support the most brutal, violent fascists through ineffective action.

The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education - by Grace Llewellyn
* An excellent resource for the young activist to escape the stutifying obedience schools of the US and get a REAL education - one that actually helps instead of hinders you.

The Emperor's New Clothes: Biological Theories of Race at the Millenium - by Joseph L. Graves, Jr.
* Graves does well at combatting biological determinism as applied to race.

Silent Night: The Story of the WWI Christmas Truce - by Stanley Weintraub
* A great book about when combatants forgot theor orders to slaughter and instead partied with the enemy, until, well... you'll just have to read it. Good stuff.

The Struggle for Palestine - edited by Lance Selfa
* An analysis of the fight against Zionism for Palestinian self-determination.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
* About Hugo Chavez and the coup in Venezuela - it's at Cinema 21 RIGHT NOW!

anything by Noam Chomsky
* his films do well at delineating our problems in a clear way.

Wag The Dog
* practically non-fiction

* I know I know; I always thought Warren Beatty was an idiot too, until this. He plays a US Senator who has a nervous breakdown and can subsequently only tell the truth. Just imagine, eh?

the best democracy money can buy 30.Jan.2004 15:34

greg palast

the best democracy money can buy, by greg palast.

hilarious, biting satire, great investigative journalism, fair and balanced, non-partisan, and totally right on. he goes after everyone, and shows how corrupt the world capitalist order is. and he has the documents and connections to prove it.

Theory and strategy? 30.Jan.2004 16:08

Nopey Duke

I don't see any of the classics of Marxism mentioned, maybe because "activism" gets into theory only as far as an investigation of tactics but leaves off where strategy begins. Maybe anarchism -- always present where activism occurs -- is best practiced without theory and without strategy. But if ANY discussion of theory is relevant, I highly recommend a book about updating Marxism into today's era of environmental disaster (only just begun) and which addresses strategies to avoid the end of it all:

From Joel Kovel's "The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World":

"[T]he internal logic of the present system translates 'growth' into increasing wealth for the few and increasing misery for the many. . . . If the world were a living organism, then any sensible observer would conclude that this 'growth' is a cancer that, if not somehow treated, means the destruction of human society, and even raises the question of the extinction of our species. . . . [W]e are doomed under the present social order, and . . . we had better change it as soon as possible if we are to survive. "

Also, along the same lines (but listed at $45) "Socialism or Barbarism" by Istvan Meszaros. I haven't read this myself, only heard about it, and the price reminds me of something I read recently, "Theory is, in short, a commodity, like everything else under capitalism." ( http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ecosocialism)†

If class analysis, an almost forgotten topic, is relevant to activists (as it was central to Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Mao, James P. Cannon, etc.), then look at Vijay Prashad's "Keeping Up With The Dow Joneses".

For less theoretical stuff: George Orwell, including seldom read "Down and Out In Paris and London" (usually packaged with essay "To Kill an Elephant"), and, for a spot of humor, "After Theory" by Terry Eagleton, and let's not forget Mark Twain. And, oh yeah, Dick Gregory writes books.

Top 5 30.Jan.2004 16:49

SAA kid

1. Imagination of the New Left
2. Strike!
3. Settlers (j. sakai)
4. Race traitor (go for them all)

A great book 30.Jan.2004 17:00


<b>On the Justice of Roosting Chickens</b> by Ward Churchill
"Most Peace-Loving of Nations" has been engaged in brutal military campaigns in every corner of the globe, unceasingly, since its inception. This book details them all. Ends the idea that American govt. can be reformed.<BR>

I'm suprised no one mentioned 30.Jan.2004 18:38

I like to read

"Manufacturing consent" Noam Chomsky
"1984" George Orwell
"animal farm" George Orwell
"Overruling Democracy : The Superem Court vs. The American People" Jamin B. Raskin

don't ferget this one.... 30.Jan.2004 18:47


...your story! Write it here, in the neighborhood newsletter, make a zine, write it on the bathroom wall, on the side of a freight train! Dear ones, misspelled words don't matter, good grammar don't matter, use the language you know best and the words closest to your heart and it will be the right write. Please start now-I'll be waiting-xxxoooo

read and read and write and write and act and act 30.Jan.2004 20:28

eric blair

Fateful Harvest - by Duff Wilson, a reporter from a Seattle paper, about how fertilizer companies have been "recycling" toxic waste products - heavy metals like lead and cadmium, as well as just about anything else carcinogenic that you could ever imagine. Industries, like mining companies for example, must pay large sums of money to dispose of toxic heavy metal wastes in landfills. So beginning sometime in the 1950's, fertilizer companies began to buy the wastes - "recycling" them - combining them with phosphorous and nitrogen and other elements which are usually included in plant fertilizer. And much of this fertilizer in labeled as organic fertilizer. Now, you don't spread fertilizer on fields that aren't going to be used to grow food for humans, or animals eaten by humans, to consume. And this is still going on unchecked as you read this, everywhere around this country, and many others.

The CNT in the Spanish Revolution - by Jose Peirats, will give you a good taste of what revolutionary Spain was about, based on enormous amounts of documents, historical artifacts.

Bitter Fruit - by Stephen Schlesinger and Stephen Kinzer - the classic story, repeated over and over again all over the world, of a CIA sponsored military coup, to take out a democratically elected socialistic leader, and replace him with a puppet regime. Sound familiar? And the book is really an interesting read - about all sorts of psychological warfare the CIA was using on the population of Guatemala including a pirate radio station inside the US embassy in Guatemala City, faked news reports, etc. Media war.

Assata - by Assata Shakur - Black Panther activist and political prisoner who escaped after many years of torture and confinement for multiple cointelpro frame-ups for ludicrous crimes. A beautiful autobiography about growing up in both the South and New York City as a black woman coming of age in the 1960's.

The Year 501 - by Noam Chomsky - it does for american foreign policy what Zinn's People's History does for american history

American Power & the New Mandarins - by Chomsky - his first book - the first essay is a classic work, studying the counter-revolutionary subordination of intellectuals. He looks at both the american military's genocidal war against the Vietnamese peasantry and scholarly accounts of the Spanish Revolution.

Panzram - by Carl Panzram and some others - this is a man's story of his life. Born in 1892 and hung in 1836, he lived in jails most of his life. Panzram hated humans, including himself. He thought that the only good human was a dead human, and that this world would be a lot better off without any humans at all.



No one mentioned DIE NIGGER DIE by H. Rap Brown, or revolution for the HELL of it by Abbie Hoffman. My other three would be mayor of castro stree, by Randy Shilts, Letters from attica by Sam Melville, and A lonely Rage by Bobby Seale. 5 films quicly are UNDERGROUND, TIMES OF HARVEY MILK, ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE, ATTICA, AND BREATHING TOGETHER REVOLUTION OF THE ELECTRIC FAMILY- all films are available for rent at laughing horse books

Starting places 31.Jan.2004 02:23


...Critical Thinking... ...Art of Reasoning... ...Argument... some first year philosophy text

Dee Brown
'How the West Was Won'
'Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee'

Kate Millett
'Sexual Politics'

Martha Nussbaum
'Women and Human Development'

Ursula LeGuin
Four Ways to Forgiveness

The Gospels (King James)
Dhammapada (Cleary)
Lao Tzu (LeGuin)


Iphegenia in Aulis

Dorothy Alison
Bastard out of Carolina

Joanna Russ
The Female Man

Sup Marcos
Carl Rogers
Abraham Maslow
Alice Miller
John Taylor Gatto
Theodor Adorno
Malcolm X ... be sure to look for some letters after Hajj
Dr King

The Fragility of Goodness

A Theory of Justice

Lots and lots and lots of poetry

...some books to add to the list... 31.Jan.2004 03:51


dee brown - bury my heart at wounded knee -- this was mentioned, but i just wanted to reiterate... amazing book!

the 'marx-engels reader' helped introduce me to the concepts of wage[slave]-labor, capital and private-property, and why it should all be abolish'd

mumia abu jamal - 'live from death row', and 'death blossoms: reflections from a prisoner of conscience'

huey p. newton - revolutionary suicide

some things by abbie hoffman and the yippies are good as well, this was mentioned above too

riane eisler - the chalice and the blade: our history, our future .. really liked this one as well - this book talks of times when societies were based on mutal-aid and equality between men and women, long long ago... i should pick this one back up, its been quite a while since i read it, but it was really good.

'an anarchist faq' - on-line at www.infoshop.org

glad to see people suggesting aldoux huxley - 'island' was a great read... even if it was fiction [same with another roadside attraction, and jitterbug perfume by tom robbins - more fiction --- oh, and farenheight 451 as well]

im glad this topic came up! i love seeing others' posts!

more 31.Jan.2004 08:46


Off the Map and My Name is Chellis. . . By Chellis Glendinning
Ishmael, etc By Daniel Quinn
Lies Across America by James Loewen
Green History of the World by Clive Ponting



Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, by William Shirer.

The most comprehensive history of the Holocaust. You will be a better person for having read it, all 1575 pages.

DRUG WAR by Dan Passel 31.Jan.2004 10:04


This book could be viewed as a "how to" manual for capturing and exploiting a whole planet of human beings. It's 600 pages of haunting, gut wrenching, well referenced material that resolves a lot of inconsistencies in the official version of truth and history.

More... 31.Jan.2004 14:27


I know ya'll are mostly vegan/vegetarian, so you might not like the large amount of talk about hunting.

A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There: With Other Essays on Conservation from Round River by Aldo Leopold
A lot of how bad off environmentaly we were in 1940, and how much more fucked we are now.

The Brave Cowboy, by Edward Abbey
Anarchist cowboy fights against the man.

Red Mars/Green Mars/Blue Mars, by Kim Stanley Robinson
The construction of a new civilization on Mars, contains revolution, alternative economics, conservation and terraforming.

Land and Freedom (movie)
It's about a communist from England in 1936 that goes to join the fight against facism in Spain, shows the infighting between the different factions.

Just a few more 31.Jan.2004 15:10


Keep and read a journal. You may be suprised at how quickly your passing thoughts turn into cohesive theory.

Society of the Spectacle - Guy Debord
Kind of tough to get into at first, but much worthwhile for it's chilling insight to commodification, communication, and the relationship between people, product, and perception.

Culture and Imperialism - Ed Said
Easy reading by Said standards and a brilliant description of the complexity of colonial psychology through the examination of literature.

Living my Life - Emma Goldman
This is activist biography number one! Spans Goldman's life from her early chilhood in Tzarist Russia to hell raising in the united states to hellraising in the USSR to her later years in western europe. Feminist, anarchist, labor agitator, international fugitive...fucking inspirational!

God and the State - Michael Bakunin
It's disjointed, but contains such timeless phrases as 'if god existed it would be neccessary to abolish him', and 'the urge to destroy is also a creative urge'. Perhaps the one historical figure I would most like to go on a several day bender with.

don't forget the luddites 31.Jan.2004 16:51

Neo Ned Ludd

"Rebels Against the Future" by John Kirkpatrick Sale (i think)

debunks a lot of misconceptions about the historical luddite movements of the early 1800s.

describes elements of revolutionary workers movement, direct action in defense of community,
the commons(community owned farming lands), and the institutionalized oppression of the industrial age....

MOVIE 31.Jan.2004 23:06

directed by Alain Tanner

Jonah, Who Will Be 25 In The Year 2000

(film originally released 1976)

book, movie 01.Feb.2004 02:44


days of war nights of love-crimethinc.
ishmael-daniel quinn

the revolution will not be televised!!

Drug Crazy 01.Feb.2004 07:36


Saying Yes by Jacob Sullum (A logical reasoned defense of drug use and a devastating critique of Drug War politics)

Commonsense Rebellion By Bruce J Levine (Subtitled: Debunking Psychiatry, Confronting Society)

Darkness at Noon 01.Feb.2004 09:05


so many good books listed here, i can only think of one to add; Darkness at Noon, by Arthur Koestler. basically tells of the worst kind of revolution possible, but makes you think of how to make a better one. one of the few books based on the soviet union that isnt creepy or anti-leftist.

um 01.Feb.2004 09:06

another one

Days of War, Nights of Love is a good one to read, if only so you know what types of things the powers at be want us to believe in order to be inneffective. For instance, until I read this book, I had never considered that we shouldn`t organize ourselves. Or that information is a bad thing, or that history is also a bad thing to study. Or that shoplifting is revolutionary, even though the stores have to buy the things you steal.

Some great current books 01.Feb.2004 15:04


High and Mighty
by Keith Bradsher
In addition to Bradsher's survey of how SUVs became so large and profitable, he's produced the most important look at motor vehicle safety since Nader's 1965 Unsafe at any speed.

When You Ride Alone You Ride with bin Laden
by Bill Maher
Bill Maher, host of Politically Incorrect, gives us a passionately sincere call to think about our lifestyle. He illustrates parallels to World War II posters, where Americans were called upon to make sacrifices for the better good.

Hubbard's Peak
by Kenneth S. Deffeyes
Global oil production will peak sometime between 2004 and 2008. This is an oilman and geologist's assessment of the future, grounded in cold mathematics. And it's frightening.

Stupid White Men ...and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation!
by Michael Moore
It's as fulminating and crammed with infuriating facts as any right-wing bestseller, as irreverent as The Onion, and as noisily entertaining as a wrestling smackdown.

Forward Drive : Race to Build Clean Cars for the Future
by Jim Motavalli
Jim Motavalli, who is both a syndicated auto columnist and an environmental reporter, chronicles the buildup and potential payoff of hydrogen-fuel-cell cars.

Breaking Gridlock: Moving Toward Transportation That Works
by Jim Motavalli
In the face of increasingly long and difficult commutes and rising gas prices, this book describes a range of viable options for transportation.

Culture Jam
by Kalle Lasn
Lasn shows how to organize resistance against brands by "uncooling" consumer items, by "de-marketing" fashions and celebrities, and by breaking the "media trance" of our TV-addicted age.

Asphalt Nation : How the Automobile Took Over America
by Jane Holtz Kay
Americans spend more than 8 billion hours each year stuck in traffic. This is just one of the horrifying statistics mentioned in Jane Holtz Kay's Asphalt Nation, an eye-opening look at the relationship between Americans and their cars.

Divorce Your Car: Ending the Love Affair with the Automobile
by Katharine T. Alvord
Our romance with cars, begun with enthusiasm more than 100 years ago, has in fact become a very troubled entanglement. Today's relationship with the automobile inflicts upon us pollution, noise, congestion, sprawl, big expenses, injury, and even death.

Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television
by Jerry Mander
This book will change the way you feel about TV. It puts the finger on and clarifies that nervous feeling you may have about watching too much of the tube.

Dreaming War
by Gore Vidal
Vidal, lauded as the last defender of the American republic, confronts the Cheney-Bush agenda in a series of devastating essays that demolish the lies of the Bush administration and its oil ambitions.

No Logo
by Naomi Klein
Considered by some to be the Bible of brand backlash. No Logo is a comprehensive account of what the global economy has wrought and the actions taking place to thwart it.

The Geography of Nowhere
by James Howard Kunstler
In elegant and often hilarious prose, Kunstler depicts our evolution from settlements to the auto suburb. He tallies up the economic, social, and spiritual costs that we are paying for our car-crazed lifestyle.

DC print project (Washington Spark) needs Book Reviewers / and B.R. Editors 01.Feb.2004 19:43

Mark Cimino SparkBookReviews@yahoo.com


email to:  SparkBookReviews@yahoo.com

This was/is a great conversation going on here. -- very exciting and I am sure there will be a spike in Portland (used) book sales. I would love for some of you to write out WHY some of your favorites are favorite, are important, or are revolutionary SO that others can be persuaded.

Of course the people on Indy and the people on Indy who saw this title don't need convincing. But we are developing a newspaper to get the MAINSTREAM interested in these kinds of ideas and so we need book reviewers and an editor or two who can pick which reviews will run each week and polish them up a bit via copy editing, citations, etc.

In Washington DC the Indy print group is developing a newspaper (The Washington Spark) with about 40 columns and one of them is a book review column. While many columns are DC related, Book Reviews is universal and can be shared among the 10-20 indymedia print publications across the country.

We are imagining two types of reviewsó

1) short & passionate (100-250 words on the power of a book, & how it affected you or changed you) and
2) critical & engaging & comparative (a deeper exploration that could go 800 - 1000 words written by a person working in the field that the book deals with)

If you'd like to try to write about one of your favorite revolutionary books or if you are interested in editing a book review column (we need copy editors & proof readers!!!) please email mark at


Weekly distribution of a 40 pager
Four-sections of about 10 pages each section
Sections: World / City / Neighborhoods / You
w/ nonprofit ads, socially responsible, or locally owned, locally operated biz ads
Initial circulation 10,000 copies in four quadrants of DC and 5 hubs each in MD and VA
40 content editors, each in charge of one column or element per week
Two alternating weekend shifts doing layout
Developing the workflow and ramping up online until we are ready to print


--investigate & expose injustice
--display original writing, arts, & criticism
--deliver stories by or about underrepresented groups
--depict avant gardes, undergrounds, & alternative lifestyles
--chart the struggles for social & economic justice
--feature strategic analysis, dissenting opinions, DIY articles
--and ways to connect & transform

Quinn 01.Feb.2004 23:34


Ishmael by Daniel Quinn

and My Ishmael, by same.

Most excellent.

suggested readings and movies 03.Feb.2004 22:15

red fred

There are several good movies that I would like to add to the list as well as give a second recomendation of.


The Quiet American, about early intrigues and American involvement in Vietnam

Indocine, about early colonialism in Sout East Asia

Black and White in color, about French and German colonialism in Africa during WW I , and the bankruptcy of the second International.

Matewan, about the early days of organizing coal miners in Harlan country or somewhere thereabouts

Harlan country USA, a documentary of a coal strike in the 1960's. A very powerful documentary.

Land and Freedom, the civil war in Spain and the betrayals of the Starlinists


The Communist Manifesto, the basic ideas of Marx and Engels, read it a few times, it is the basis for understanding society as it changes, that is from a scientific viewpoint

The Revolution Betrayed, Trotsky, What happened in the Soviet Union and why it went wrong.

Labors Giant Step, Art Pries, The story of the rise of the Congress of Industrial Unions as opposed to the business unionism of the American Federation of Labor, Unfortunately the merged AFL-CIO is now as reactionary as the American Federation of Labor was.

Autobiography of Mother Jones, an easy read about an astonishing woman

Biography of Big Bill Haywood, one of the leaders of the International Workers of the World, IWW.

The Haymarket Tradegy, Averich, The anarchist martyrs of the first International and the fight for the 8 hour day,

Darwin, Adrian Desmond and James Moore, a lengthy read that explains how the vocation of scientists developed. It's much more than survival of the the most fit.

Wind that swept Mexico, Brenner, an easy read with lots of pictures about the Mexican revolution. A pretty clear portrayal about the "unfinished revolution"

Teamster Power, Teamster Rebellion, and Teamster Bureacracy, all by Farrel Dobbs, a companion book would be American City, by Charles Walker, all about the Minnapiolis Teamster strikes in the 1930's and the beginnings of the teamsters union as major industrial union. How the radicals dealt with the politicians and the bureaucrats.

Any of the books written by Bruce Catton on the American Civil War, The coming Fury, the Army of the Potomac, Stillness at Appomatics, to mention just a few

Historical Fiction Books that you can learn a lot from:

The American, by Howard Fast, about the life of Peter Atgeld, the governor that pardoned the remaining prisoners of the Haymarket Riot

The Jungle, Upton Sinclair, outrage from the book that led to the creation Food and Drug Administration, not that it did that much good, but it was important at the time.

Any of the James Mischner Novels, Tehy are very long but give you a great incite about how things have changed from the ancient times to the present: Poland, Texas, Cheasapeak,Hawaii, Alkaska, just to mention a few. They are typically over 1000 pages.

two more. 12.Feb.2004 00:48

Danny (san diego) xfaithlessx@yahoo.com

Reffer madness - same author as fast food nation, deals with marajwana, migrant workers and pronograph in the united states blackmarket.

Lies, and the lying liars who tell them. by Al Franken

Lies My Teacher Told Me. by James W. Loewen

Media control - chomsky.