Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged activism

Egypt: We're Watching You

A window into a world unavailable to most, Egypt: We're Watching You, is as much a depiction of a nation in jeopardy as one of a people actively pursuing progressive change. Documenting the 2005 Egyptian Parliamentary elections, the viewer gets a glimpse of the torrid corruption through the eyes of the people and the activists of Shayfeen.com. Shayfeen.com is dedicated to sharing the true story of what is happening in the streets of Egypt to the Egyptian people and the outside world.

A New Type of Womanhood: Discursive Politics and Social Change in Antebellum America

Kraus has done an amazing job of researching and organizing this work, which compiles so much information about American antebellum women’s rights. As I read it, I was continuously blown away by the tightness of the presentation.

Letters From Black America

While it would help to appreciate and admire the historical importance of preserved letters, you don’t have to be history buff or correspondence enthusiast to delight in Letters From Black America. In a time of quickly typed emails and SMS, tangible letters hold weight for many who value thoughtful, deliberate communication.

The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities

The Revolution Starts At Home is not your usual zine. At 111 pages, it qualifies as a book, and I’m excited to say the editors are looking for a publisher. Pending publication*, it will soon be available on the INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence website. Don’t be turned off by the bulk; this is an important zine that needs to be read by all activists of any sort. Contributors include Alexis Pauline Gumbs of UBUNTU, collective members of Communities Against Rape and Abuse (CARA), Vanessa Huang, Gina de Vries, and a collection of women from the Mango Tribe.

Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds about Animals and Food

Among radicals and vegan activists, farm sanctuaries are well known as safe havens for animals escaping the cruelties of factory farms and slaughterhouses. Having previously volunteered at a small farm sanctuary in Massachusetts, I am convinced that face time with our four-legged friends is the single most effective way to inform other humans about the individual personalities of animals and convince people of our responsibility to overcome the habits of our speciesist culture.

Red State Rebels: Tales of Grassroots Resistance in the Heartland

As we enter the final countdown to the 2008 U.S. Presidential election, we will hear political pundits talk in red- and blue-state terms. The shorthand goes like this: blue states are progressive and urban, while red states are conservative and rural. And those purple states? Well, forget about those states; they're the bisexuals of electoral politics. We just don't know what to do with them. (wink) As someone who has spent most of her life participating in radical social movements in the red states I call home, I was hoping Joshua Frank and Jeffrey St.

Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa

Wangari’s Trees of Peace is a beautifully imagined account, designed for young readers, of the life and career of Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan scholar, activist, and environmentalist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her leadership of the Green Belt Movement and her resistance to deforestation. Often, “message books” like these underestimate kids’ level of sophistication and come across as preachy or cloying.

Digital Media and Democracy: Tactics In Hard Times

Brittany: I came to this collection with a lot of skepticism, mostly because I’ve grown quickly weary of the narrative about cyberactivism as a fun, accessible substitute for real-time work. I didn’t grow up with a particular activist model, but working as a communication and media scholar in recent years, my response to technology has been lukewarm at best, particularly when it is touted as a surrogate for working with people.

How the Religious Right Shaped Lesbian and Gay Activism

While leftists and gay rights activists occasionally discuss the notion that left wing battles, and particularly GLBTQ struggles, are too influenced by the religious right, the complaint is always frustrated and dismissive, never a serious consideration. Tina Fetner approaches the notion differently, addressing how the influence of religious right was, in fact, invaluable in shaping, and in rendering more powerful, the lesbian and gay movement.

Margaret Cho’s Beautiful Tour

Margaret Cho’s Beautiful Tour, which began in February 2008, is still scheduled to visit a number of lucky locations throughout the United States. As usual, Cho’s brand of feminist, LGBTQ, activist, and politicized humor was hilarious, raunchy, and thought-provoking. Unlike so much of the comedy gracing television screens lately, Cho continues to infuse her comedy with cutting edge analysis of race, gender, body image, and sexuality.


The state of mainstream hip-hop is pretty damn depressing. The entire genre has been declared dead a number of times, and the best of a generation make reality shows instead of change. Similarly, the city of Detroit has been ridiculed as economically depressed and full of unprosecuted crime in the shadow of police scandals that have come to prominence again this year. Some might say these are symptoms of a dying city, if it not a dead one. Of the respective states of Detroit and hip-hop, it is also sometimes said that one death begets the other.

In Black and White: An Interpretation of the South

From 1888 to 1925, Lily Hardy Hammond accurately predicted the future. In that time period, the prominent activist said and wrote just about everything that progressives and left-leaning people are saying across the United States now. This is simultaneously inspiring and deeply upsetting to read as a young radical in 2008. In Black and White traces Hardy Hammond’s political writings and presentations over the course of her lifetime.

Reclaiming Feminist Motherhood

In 2003, _The New York Times Magazine _published “The Opt-Out Revolution,” by Lisa Belkin, a now nearly infamous contribution to the never-ending “mommy wars” collection of work. The cover story asserted that the nation’s most educated career women were “opting out” of their professional lives to become full-time stay-at-home moms.

My Brain Hurts: Volume One

Liz Baillie’s character Kate Callahan is everything that I wish I had been in school, as well as everything that I’m glad I wasn’t: a punk dyke; Mohawk-wearing, patches held on with safety pins-styling, multiple girlfriends-loving activist; and all-around New York City street-roamer. Think Diane DiMassa’s _Hothead Paisan _before she turned homicidal and got a cat.

The Lesbian and Gay Movements: Assimilation or Liberation?

The Lesbian and Gay Movements: Assimilation or Liberation? is a history of post-Stonewall GLBTQ activism as seen through three focused battles: the AIDS crisis, the ban on gays in the military, and the conflict over gay marriage. Craig Rimmerman presents a detailed breakdown of each, assembling them into a supposed study of the differences and relative importance of assimilationist and liberationist strategies.

Southeastern Women’s Studies Association Conference 2008: Frontiers of Feminism at Home and Abroad (4/3-4/5/08)

Since its first meeting in Atlanta in 1977, the Southeastern Women’s Studies Association (SEWSA) has consistently been the most active of the regional organizations of the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) and has served academics, activists, community leaders, and students as a source of professional inspiration, mutual support, a network of shared information and experience, and a connection to the emergence of global feminism.

Flying Close to the Sun: My Life and Times as a Weatherman

Despite the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan no one mistakes the rallying cry of today's Starbucks-toting, Hot Topic sporting protesters with the mobilized and systematic protests of the 1960s and 1970s. With not a small touch of nostalgia, those who were there for Vietnam, Civil Rights and Cambodia lament the laziness of present-day youth to fully posit themselves in the movement (as if that responsibility belongs solely to folks without many responsibilities), while young people today tune-out the nagging and lectures of their middle-class, once hippie parents.

American Furies: Crime, Punishment, and Vengeance in the Age of Mass Imprisonment

"When the annals of our era are written, the United States will… come to be defined as a prison state." Not to spoil the ending, but this is the last, haunting sentence of American Furies, Sasha Abramsky's scathing indictment of the U.S. prison system. If you still believe that America is a just democracy where everyone is treated equal, then you really have to read this book.

Shake Yourself Awake

When the first song of rock band Ms. Led’s new album, Shake Yourself Awake, blasted on my stereo I became an instant fan. As a 35 year old woman who came of age in the ‘80s, I felt like I was taking a stroll down musical memory lane as I listened. Ms. Led’s music, fronted by lead singer Lesli Wood, is punk with a dash of ‘80s new wave.

Latina Activists Across Borders: Women's Grassroots Organizing in Mexico and Texas

Milagros Pena’s book, Latina Activists Across Borders, is a significant attempt at recording the oral histories of women responsible for developing and running NGOs (non governmental organizations) in Mexico and the border cities of El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez.

How Nonviolence Protects the State

Do anti-war protests really stop the United States from invading another country? Do pro-choice marches affect legislation on abortion? Did sit-ins during the Civil Rights movement help to end racism? These are the questions that Peter Gelderloos asks in his new book How Nonviolence Protects the State.

Live Earth (7/7/2007)

Live Earth, Al Gore’s spectacular series of concerts for the environment Earth, has been a magnet for mainstream media cynics, who point to amplifiers, lights and garbage as evidence that the whole thing was one big festival of hypocrisy. But for a member of the throng at Giants Stadium, at least, the atmosphere felt as political and optimistic as any show in memory.

Bam Bam and Celeste

Antithetical to the laugh-so-hard-you’ll-cry theory is comedian and activist Margaret Cho, who will have you crying, hard, before making you laugh like you’ve never laughed before. In her stand-up shows, she tells achingly raw stories about the torment of growing up “different” and does so in a way that makes her the only comedian who can respond to racial slurs with “fuck you” and pull it off like the most brilliant one-liner ever.

Belva Lockwood, The Woman Who Would Be President

In a moment of autobiographical reflection, Belva Lockwood once stated that while her work as an equal rights activist had failed to raise the dead, it had “awakened the living.” Jill Norgren’s biography of Lockwood, a little known but extremely important historical figure should and could awaken all of us to live a life of conviction and activism. At 232 pages long, Norgren eloquently and succinctly educates the reader on the story of the first woman to ever

Maquilapolis: City of Factories

Who made that pen you’re using? Who put your television together? Who sewed your pants? And what does any of this have to do with women in Mexico? Well, thanks to the initiation of NAFTA in 1994, big US corporations can make maximum profit off of the cheap labor of women in other countries.

NACLA Report on the Americas (Mar/Apr 2007)

Free thinkers must support the independent, alternative publications in this country as a protest against mainstream media’s skewed priorities. Inevitably, news is slanted. With an independent publication, the chance of reading the unvarnished truth is enhanced. If you wish to embrace diversity and heighten your understanding of our neighbors “South of the border,” read the NACLA Report on the Americas.

The Ten Minute Activist

The Ten Minute Activist provides a dense, insightful education into what one individual can do, or not do, to live in a more environmentally conscious manner. It is not written in a preachy or condescending manner; instead, its authors, five individuals jointly known as The Mission Collective, have written a witty and approachable text. What, you ask, are some of the issues that are discussed in The Ten Minute Activist?

Sex in Revolution: Gender, Politics, and Power in Modern Mexico

Mary Kay Vaughn, in her introduction to Sex in Revolution: Gender, Politics, and Power in Modern Mexico, asserts that while paternalism, Catholicism, Victorian morals and patriarchy experienced a fierce health before, during and after the Mexican Revolution, the women’s movement, while slow, was undeniable and, ultimately, irreversible.

Remembering Tomorrow: From SDS to Life After Capitalism

The past is not dead. In fact, it’s not even past. –William Faulkner Michael Albert writes an in-depth political memoir, offering a formidable defense of the project to change global inequality. Albert is a veteran anti-capitalist and visionary leftist thinker. In his memoir, he retells his past of devotion, commitment and the struggle to bring forth social change, however difficult the journey, a small step at a time. Albert separates his memoir into five intriguing parts. He begins with his college years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

An Unreasonable Woman: A True Story of Shrimpers Politicos Polluters and The Fight For Seadrift, Texas

Diane Wilson may hail from Texas, but An Unreasonable Woman, which takes the reader from the Gulf Coast to Taiwan and back, is no tall tale. In 1989, Wilson, a shrimper and mother of five, read a newspaper article reporting that her native Calhoun County (pop. 15,000) was the most polluted county in the nation. When she started inquiring about the chemicals being dumped into her beloved San Antonio Bay, getting the cold shoulder from government officials and the polluters only made Wilson more determined.