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“The stakes have never been higher for America’s largest city to transition to renewable energy.” — Ashley Dawson, author of EXTINCTION on Blasio's energy plan for The Guardian

May 20, 2019
Ashley Dawson, author of EXTINCTION, discusses his thoughts on Bill de Blasio's energy plan in an article for The Guardian.
Mayor Bill de Blasio just announced an energy plan that would potentially move New York City a big step in the wrong direction. In a little-discussed provision of the city’s latest OneNYC sustainability plan, Mayor de Blasio commits to powering 100% of City government operations with “clean” hydroelectric power from Canadian state company Hydro-Québec. According to the mayor, this would help the city move away from coal and gas, in the process cutting emissions by 40% over the next decade. What’s not to like? The mayor’s proposal calls for construction of a 330-mile-long underground high-voltage transmission cable, called the Champlain-Hudson Power Express (CHPE), to bring power from Canada down to NYC. The project, which is slated to cost nearly $20bn, would lock NYC into dependence on Canadian hydropower long-term, while diminishing the ability for local offshore wind, solar and other renewable industries to thrive. Furthermore, there is nothing “clean” about hydropower. Building the CHPE would require excavating a trench down the spine of the Hudson Valley, a costly and environmentally disruptive enterprise. Construction could potentially stir up long-buried carcinogenic PCBs in the Hudson River, the nation’s largest superfund site, threatening a recovery process championed by advocates for decades. And the dams that would generate power for NYC have flooded hundreds of miles of boreal forest, annihilating watershed ecosystems and agricultural potential across the north-eastern US.

Read the full article here.

“The real sort of fear, and the real danger, isn't that we can't win, it's that we're not ready to win.” — Christine Berry and Joe Guinan in PEOPLE GET READY!, featured in Tribune

May 16, 2019
An excerpt from People Get Ready! featured in Tribune.
We are living through an “Age of Anger”. It is a time of “machine-breaking” politically, of boiling resentment amongst citizens and voters at an out-of-touch political class and an economic system they know is rotten to the core. Those who fixate on how to protect a rhetorical “centre ground” from the bogey of populism are asking the wrong question. The old centre ground is already gone, having disappeared with the cratering of the economic model on which it rested. The real question is how to redirect the new mass popular anger into a force for change, for better or worse: who will break the machines of neoliberal extraction, and with what will they seek to replace them? Already, across the world, terrifying answers to this question are being offered. A resurgent far right is everywhere on the march, from Poland to India, Italy to Brazil. In Germany, neo-Nazis once again rally openly in the streets. In the United States, the President orders immigrant children taken from their parents to be locked in cages. In the UK, racist attacks are on the rise. The emerging neo-fascist politics is even playing out on breakfast television: one day, millions of viewers can witness Piers Morgan shouting down a Muslim woman for being anti-Trump, the next they can watch a soft-pedal interview with Steve Bannon. Meanwhile, with the Conservative Party tearing itself apart, a new hard right shock doctrine is emerging that seeks to shape a Brexit that would clamp down ruthlessly on workers’ rights and put immigrants and people of colour in real physical danger—a renewal of what Naomi Klein calls “disaster capitalism”. In the face of such popular anger, leafing through the centrist playbook to cycle in some new empty suit with a soundbite simply will not work. Clinging to the status quo for fear of something worse is a guaranteed losing strategy. After Brexit, after Trump, this much at least should be obvious.

Read the full excerpt, and find a code for 20% off People Get Ready! here.

“The black-and-white images somehow feel more resonant today than ever before” —The New York Times on Fred W. McDarrah's PRIDE

May 16, 2019
The New York Times featured an article on a collection of modern LGBTQ, including PRIDE, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion.
The black-and-white images somehow feel more resonant today than ever before . . . McDarrah was one of the only photographers to capture the immediate aftermath of that now legendary weekend, from the smashed jukeboxes and graffiti-scrawled windows to the slightly stunned and celebratory crowd . . . McDarrah continued to document New York’s often-overlooked L.G.B.T.Q. community until the 1990s, and his full body of work is interspersed throughout the book with poignant quotes from the subjects pictured.

Read the full article here.

“The real sort of fear, and the real danger, isn't that we can't win, it's that we're not ready to win.” — Christine Berry, author of PEOPLE GET READY! during an interview for Politics Theory Other

May 16, 2019
Alex Doherty of Politics Theory Other interviews Christine Berry, discussing her upcoming book People Get Ready!
ALEX DOHERTY: So, before we sort of go into more detail, could you say a bit about what you see as the sort of key issues that we should be thinking about, in terms of making a success of a labor government- and perhaps even what that means? CHRISTINE BERRY: I think the genesis of the book really came from exactly the same kind of sentiment you've just outlined, right? That, a lot of the debate was focused on the question of whether labor could win an election, whether labor could form a government, and how to mobilize to make that happen. And our anxiety was much more the same as yours: that we had quite a lot of hope that it was possible that we could have a radical labor government before too much longer, but, the real sort of fear, and the real danger, isn't that we can't win, it's that we're not ready to win. If labor takes power before it's ready to take power, and for whatever reason it isn't able to [uphold] its program, that would be far more damaging. A setback for the hopes of the left, you know, possibly for another generation, then us not being able to win the next general election. Which isn't to underestimate the importance of the urgency of mobilizing to win the next election, you know, particularly with the severity of some of the challenges we face, from climate change to the rise of the far right- you know obviously. We need to make sure that we have radical labor government [?] in the election. The real question for us is what happens after that, and that's kind of the beginning, rather than the end of the job that needs to be done.

Listen to the full interview here.

“Valley's 2017 anthology - aptly named Disapora Boy: Comics On Crisis In America and Israel - is...a deep dive into the Jewish-American subconscious. The book is a collection of some of his best (and most brutal) work since around 2008.” — Azad Essa for Middle East Eye on ELI VALLEY, author of DIASPORA BOY

May 14, 2019
Postcards from Dystopia: The Jewish-American Cartoonist Hitting Back at Zionism. Eli Valley on Israel, Trump, and white supremacy from Middle East Eye
I recognise Eli Valley as he walks into a cafe in the East Village. He is tall, sports rectangular specs and seems a little dishevelled, like all good artists should. He apologises for being tardy. “I am sorry. I haven’t slept much. I was up all night working on a new comic about Trump.” “Hope you don’t mind if I grab a bite while we chat?” he says as he removes his jacket. I don’t mind. I’ve just arrived myself. I am also giddy at the prospect of checking out a new comic featuring Trump. Since I began following this notorious Jewish-American cartoonist’s work, every new iteration of Trump seems only more vicious than the last. His latest doesn’t disappoint. Trump, resembling something between a fattened gargoyle and a fermented lamprey, hovers over a group of sycophants, serenading him with anti-Semitic hate while donning Trump-branded kippahs. The analogy is brutal.

Read the full interview here.

“Human activity is causing the disappearance and deterioration of wildlife at a rate that could represent an existential threat to humanity within our lifetimes.” —Democracy Now during a segment featuring ASHLEY DAWSON, author of EXTINCTION

May 9, 2019
A segment of Democracy Now discussing the recent U.N. report featured Ashley Dawson, author of EXTINCTION: A RADICAL HISTORY, as a guest.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Ashley, you've written an entire book on the radical history of extinction- your response to this report? ASHLEY DAWSON: Well, the report, I think, is really a landmark report, and it shows that the crisis we face isn't just one of climate change. In some ways, it's comparable to the IPCC report from last October, which really sounded a really important alarm about the system that we face and its potential collapse. But, what this shows is [that] it's a crisis of multiple different dimensions, and that it's driven by an economic system, which is fundamentally destroying the terrestrial systems that we all depend on. ... SHAIKH: So, scientists warn that melting sea ice in the arctic due to climate change will have catastrophic [effects] on coastal cities, biodiversity, and the global economy. President Trump, of course, has called climate change a "Chinese hoax." So Ashley, your response to what Pompeo said- just hours after this U.N. report was released, DAWSON: I think it typifies the kind of "extractivist" attitude, which, as I said, is destroying the planet. I mean, to give one concrete instance, we have been exploiting land so much, and degrading land, that we only have about 60 harvests left, right- 60 agricultural harvests left. SHAIKH: What does that mean? DAWSON: It means about only 60 more years of food, potentially. So, we're not only talking about the kind of crash of biodiversity and potential extinction for a lot of species out there; we're talking about a kind of fundamental crisis of humanity, its relationship to the natural world, and our relations to one another.

Watch the whole segment here.

“The poems collected in Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism pack a serious punch. Which is fitting for a project designed to hit back against U.S. President Donald Trump and the blows his government has dealt to women....” —Herizons

May 9, 2019
"The poems collected in Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism pack a serious punch. Which is fitting for a project designed to hit back against U.S. President Donald Trump and the blows his government has dealt to women....Edited by Danielle Barnhart and Iris Mahan, the collection brings together 50 diverse feminist poets and activists in a fierce, exuberant, tender, gorgeous choir of voices."

The full review will be online soon. Check out the magazine here.

“You know, there are reasons to be angry. You know, if you're not angry, you're not, you're not awake right now.” —ELI VALLEY, author of DIASPORA BOY to Bob Garfield for On the Media

May 8, 2019
Bob Garfield and Eli Valley, author of DIASPORA BOY, discuss antisemitism in media and modern society during an interview for On the Media
BOB GARFIELD: And the other thing about you is that you're really, really an angry dude. ELI VALLEY: I'm increasingly angry because, well, I mean just look outside. You know, there are reasons to be angry. You know, if you're not angry, you're not, you're not awake right now. GARFIELD: So as this anti-Semitism flame war has unfolded since the Pittsburgh shooting last year, you've been drawing cartoons caricaturing various political commentators–maybe chief among them Meghan McCain of "The View". And haha, can you describe your first depiction of Meghan McCain because it's equally horrifying and hilarious. VALLEY: Thank you. It's just Meghan McCain. It's a satire of her appropriation of Jewish kitsch and Jewish trauma when she said on "The View" and then repeated elsewhere.

Read or listen to the full interview here.

“You can't do a keystroke on your computer, or make a call on your cell phone, or even go to the doctor without the government knowing exactly what you're doing.” —MICHAEL STEVEN SMITH, author of LAWYERS FOR THE LEFT during an interview for Economic Update

May 7, 2019
Richard D. Wolff interviews Michael Steven Smith on his upcoming title, LAWYERS FOR THE LEFT for Economic Update
RICHARD D. WOLFF: Tell us a little bit; what makes a lawyer a "lawyer for the left?" What is it that he or she does or how they proceed or what their issues are that would make you find them appropriate for such a book? MICHAEL STEVEN SMITH: Well, one of the propositions that a number of the lawyers in my book talk about is how, increasingly, democratic rights and the rule of law are not compatible with capitalism or imperialism– and we saw that happen right after 9/11. The first thing they did was pass the 340-page Patriot Act, which allowed for spying on everybody. You can't do a keystroke on your computer, or make a call on your cell phone, or even go to the doctor without the government knowing exactly what you're doing. I was at the cardiologist with my wife last week, and we drove home through the Battery Park Tunnel, and there's a face recognition gadget when you go through the tunnel; so they knew who she was, they knew what cardiologist she went to, and they knew what her EKG was even before we even got home! That's the kind of society we live in. So Michael and I thought, "This is not good," and then, they passed the National Defense Authorization Act, and that act allows for the government to pick up and detain– kidnap– and detain forever even American citizens. So Chris Hedges and Noam Chomsky brought a lawsuit in lower Manhattan in federal court 2 years ago, and they won the lawsuit. Judge Catherine Forest, a good constitutional upholder, decided in their favor. The government appealed that afternoon. So Chris and Noam went down to D.C. and they met with Nancy Pelosi, or their lawyers met with Nancy Pelosi, and they said, "Pelosi, if you take the provision out of this law that you've passed that allows the indefinite kidnapping of American citizens, we'll drop the appeal," and Pelosi said "No," and Chris Hedges said, "You know why? Because they know what's coming." So it was draconian laws like that that got Michael and I thinking, and that's why we started the radio show, and out of that came this book Lawyers for the Left.

Watch the full interview here.

“For NYT, Israel Is Always Nearing ‘Apartheid,’ but Never Quite Gets There” —GREG SHUPAK, author of THE WRONG STORY for Fair

May 3, 2019
GREG SHUPAK discussing the NYT's coverage of apartheid in Israel
Setting aside the troubling assertion that Israelis and Palestinians living as equals would be not only a “disaster,” but as bad a “disaster” as apartheid, Friedman ignored the fact that just two months earlier, the Knesset had passed the Nation State Law that defined Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people. The law asserted that “the realization of the right to national self-determination in Israel is unique to the Jewish people,” even though 20 percent of the population living inside Israel is not Jewish; encouraged “the development of Jewish settlement” and vowed that the state will “promote its establishment and consolidation.” It declared that “the state’s language is Hebrew,” deprecating Arabic, the first language of roughly half the people under that state’s control. The Nation State Law demonstrates that the bad faith, future tense descriptions of Israeli apartheid are overly narrow, in that they focus exclusively on the Palestinian territories that Israel has occupied since 1967. Yet on the Israeli-held side of the Green Line, Palestinians are systematically discriminated against. It’s not only the occupation that make Israel/Palestine apartheid. It’s the Israeli state’s foundational principles and actions: driving two-thirds of the indigenous Palestinian population from their homes at its birth, subsequently making more than 2 million of them refugees, and then denying their right to return, despite its being mandated under international law. Meanwhile, Jewish people anywhere on Earth are given the right to immigrate, because Israeli leaders want to maintain a demographic advantage. They pursue this goal—with decisive help from their sponsors in Washington—through their longstanding operational policy mantra: maximum land, minimum Arabs.

Read the full article here.

“These women must now decide between their faith and their families.” —CATHY OTTEN, author of WITH ASH ON THEIR FACES: YEZIDI WOMEN AND THE ISLAMIC STATE for Foreign Policy

May 2, 2019
CATHY OTTEN examines Iraq’s Yazidis struggle with the future of the children of rape by Islamic State fighters.
For Iraq’s Yazidi minority, the defeat of the Islamic State has magnified an existing theological split, with painful real-world consequences. The group’s Spiritual Council, their highest religious authority, announced on Saturday that children born to women and girls who were raped by Islamic State fighters won’t be accepted back by the community, leaving dozens of Yazidi women and their children stranded in eastern Syria. These women must now decide between their faith and their families.

Read the full article here.

“ I doubt there’s another journalist quite like her. Even the valiant Marie Colvin had a fixed address in London. Not only that, but Fernández’s prose is so incisive, pithy, powerful, and often funny, I feel like an interloper when trying to convey her words using my own.”—Counterpunch on BELÉN FERNÁNDEZ's EXILE

April 26, 2019
“I doubt there’s another journalist quite like her. Even the valiant Marie Colvin had a fixed address in London. Not only that, but Fernández’s prose is so incisive, pithy, powerful, and often funny, I feel like an interloper when trying to convey her words using my own. ...This is the grandeur of Fernández’s book: the humanity of others and (not that she would say it) her own..... Belén Fernández travels and writes but she isn’t a travel writer...She finds the injustice and provides the context that explains it. Which means that, thanks to her 'grotesque' passport and what her sharp eye lights upon, although she escaped from her homeland she’s constantly lugging its baggage.”

Read the full review here.

“ Tackling contentious questions about rock and pop music, forcing us to look deeper into our relationship with music; how we shape it, and how it shapes us.” —Showcase on SETH KAUFMAN's METAPHYSICAL GRAFFITI

April 24, 2019
An interview with Seth Kaufman about his title METAPHYSICAL GRAFFITI for Showcase
SHOWCASE: But as I understand from the book, you're an avid supporter of air guitars, and I wonder why that is. Can you please tell us what is there to like about air guitars at all? KAUFMAN: Yeah, well, air guitar, like singing, like clapping, like dancing, is a way in which people have come to react to music. But it's a funny way to react to music. It makes you look foolish, often. It's silly. But what I like about air guitar is the idea that we know guitars are real, but air guitar is not real, and yet, we all know what air guitar is. So on a philosophical level, it both is and isn't, and there are many things that don't have a physical, ya know... Thoughts; that are abstractions, and air guitar is one of those. But I like to ask people when they're playing air guitar, what kind of air guitar are they playing, and no one ever thinks about this.

Watch the full interview here.

“ You’ll find yourself plunged into the contradictions and swirling through the vortex where that question—what is the law?—is on everyone’s mind all the time.” —Portside on MICHAEL STEVEN SMITH's LAWYERS FOR THE LEFT

April 19, 2019
Bill Ayers on Michael Steven Smith's new title LAWYERS FOR THE LEFT in Portside
Their analysis of the law as an instrument serving the status quo becomes a vital and clarifying lens in every case they pursue. Anatole France observed ironically that “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread.” Exactly: we are equal under the law, and neither Bill Gates nor Jeff Bezos nor the homeless woman outside the coffee shop is allowed to loiter or ask for spare change. Because these advocates recognize that we live under a system of racial capitalism, they fight every case and each battle with an eye to the inherent injustices spawned by that reality. Frederick Douglass famously said, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.” These movement lawyers have had those words inscribed on their hearts as they’ve fought for voting rights, Puerto Rican independence, an end to Jim Crow, women’s freedom, LBGTQ plus justice, and more. The country would look dramatically different today if it weren’t for the good work of Arthur Kinoy and Bill Kunster, Lynne Stewart and Haywood Burns, Jan Susler and Bruce Wright.

Read the full review here.

“This is hardcore, down-dirty travel and travel writing. A personal  Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism. A new and powerful form of nonfiction, a primer.” —The Eurasia Review on BELÉN FERNÁNDEZ' EXILE

April 18, 2019
“This is not a travel book for the faint-hearted, or even a guidebook for where to go, what to do. This is hardcore, down-dirty travel and travel writing. A personal Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism. A new and powerful form of nonfiction, a primer....Belén is one of a new breed of travel writers, documenting the crumbling of empire in all its savagery, and our struggle against it.”

Read the full article here.

“Like a con man who can lift a wallet in the middle of a melee, Trump thrived amid the chaos” —MATT TAIBBI, author of HATE INC. on Russiagate and Trump's weaponizing of disarrayed media in Rolling Stone

April 5, 2019
MATT TAIBBI discusses how inadequate and inappropriate media coverage lead to Trump's election, a primary subject in his upcoming book Hate Inc.
If Trump insulted an innocent person like Times reporter Serge Kovaleski, who is disabled, his goal wasn’t to try to win a popularity contest. He was after the thing that always came next: the endless “scornful rebukes” from press and celebrities. These rituals always went on just a bit too long, to the point where it was clear both Trump and the media were milking the incidents for publicity. Trump would push right up until he caught the press having too much fun with something outrageous he’d done (the Washington Post running “Donald Trump’s ‘Schlonged’: A linguistic investigation” was an infamous example), at which point he’d declare victory and move on to the next outrage. The subtext was always:I may be crude, but these people are phonies, pretending to be upset when they’re making money off my bullshit. I thought this was all nuts and couldn’t believe it was happening in a real presidential campaign. But, a job is a job.

Read the full article here.

“...shaking up the status quo by challenging power relations and prosecuting those with total impunity is undeniably a first step towards justice.” —Fiorella Lecoutteux on WOLFGANG KALECK'S new book, LAW VS. POWER in Peace News

April 2, 2019
Fiorella Lecoutteux calls LAW VS. POWER “a manifesto for international law and how it can be used to change the status quo”
How can we hold dictators to account? The list of those who have enjoyed complete impunity is long. Lawyer Wolfgang Kaleck has spent his whole life fighting to reverse this state of affairs: using the law to challenge Latin American ex-dictators, representing the families of US drone-attack victims in Yemen, and filing criminal complaints against the likes of ex-US secretary of defence Donald Rumsfeld. Kaleck’s latest book is a manifesto for international law and how it can be used to change the status quo. As Edward Snowden writes in the foreword: ‘when the history of our era is written not by the torturers and their apologists, but by those who never gave up on the promise of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights… Wolfgang Kaleck will be one of the primary authors.’ A compelling read, Law Versus Power offers much more than the dry rhetoric of a seasoned lawyer. Kaleck’s writing is personal, passionate and self-questioning. The narrative thread provides a chronological and reflective account of the cases that he and his partners have researched and submitted over several decades. Ranging from the first conversations with the victims to the first tentative results (or disappointments) emerging years later, his writing skilfully draws us into the complexities of each case and what’s at stake.

Read the full review here.

“I'll believe that a corporation is a person the day it gets a colonoscopy.” —MICHAEL STEVEN SMITH, author of LAWYERS FOR THE LEFT on radio show Leonard Lopate at Large

March 29, 2019
Michael Steven Smith, author of Lawyers for the Left: In the Courts, In the Streets, and On the Air on what he describes to be our current "constitutional crisis" on the radio show Leonard Lopate at Large
LEONARD LOPATE: Michael, you write that America is in a constitutional crisis? MICHAEL STEVEN SMITH: Well I think—and increasingly after 9/11—there's been a huge agglomeration of power in the hands of the executive branch, irrespective of the creature that holds office today. After 9/11, the congress passed the Patriot Act, as you know, which is a horrible surveillance apparatus, and then the authorization to use military force, and then the National Defense Authorization Act. That act allows for the executive to both kidnap and hold—really, forever—anybody, including American citizens. That was challenged by Chris Hedges and Noam Chomsky in federal court; they lost. And it also allows for, and we challenged it at the Center for Constitutional Rights with Al-Aulaqi case, it allows for the United States government to assassinate an American citizen. You can't get any worse than that, so that's why I [said] what I did. LOPATE: Your book collects profiles and interview with lawyers, many of whom that began their careers as progressives in the 1960's. Do you see a parallel between that era and today? SMITH: Yes. The book profiles twenty-three different lawyers. Lawyers my age, I'm in my mid-seventies, and then lawyers my parents' age, who would be in their hundreds now, but they're not here. And the parallel, I think, is the fight, increasingly difficult, to keep the rule of law and the democratic rights.

Hear the full interview here.

"Now, the feisty New York-based imprint OR Books has released HOW TO READ DONALD DUCK in America." —Ben Terrall reviews HOW TO READ DONALD DUCK in January Magazine

March 25, 2019
Of Imperialists, Bigots and Cartoon Waterfowl
When How to Read Donald Duck: Imperialist Ideology in the Disney Comic was first published in Chile in 1971, the book’s authors, Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart, were leftist academics committed to supporting Salvador Allende’s project of advancing democratic socialism in Chile. After Allende won a free and fair election to Chile’s presidency, the country’s military and other right-wing elements stepped up their assault on the new government with key backing from the Unites States. The Nixon administration exulted when Allende’s Popular Unity government was overthrown in a military coup on September 11, 1973.

While in hiding from the military, Dorfman watched on television as copies of How to Read Donald Duck were burned in bonfires along with hundreds of other allegedly subversive volumes. The Chilean Navy dumped the entire third printing into the ocean. The book had been a target of the Chilean right-wing since its release: Dorfman had been attacked by an anti-Semitic mob, and a deranged motorist shouted “Viva el Pato Donald!” while trying to run him down.

Unlike many of their comrades, Dorfman and Mattelart (a Belgian sociologist who had been living in Chile) made it out of General Augusto Pinochet’s Chile alive, and Dorfman eventually settled in the States, becoming an American citizen in 2004.

How to Read Donald Duck didn’t fare so well stateside, either. An entire consignment of 4,000 copies was seized by U.S. customs agents acting at the behest of lawyers for the Walt Disney Company. And no U.S. publisher would touch the book, given the Disney empire’s notoriously litigious ways. But away from the grip of Disney, the book sold more than a million copies worldwide and was translated into 17 languages.

Now, the feisty New York-based imprint OR Books has released How to Read Donald Duck in America. The book is a bit of a time capsule, written as it was when Third World leftist hopes were high for movements and governments that could throw off the yoke of U.S. cultural and political hegemony. In a 2008 interview, Arnold Mattelart explained that the book’s title refers to Marxist philosopher Louis Althusser’s Reading Capital(1965), and said that How to Read Donald Duck can be read as an extension of Roland Barthes’ Mythologies (1957).

Dorman and Mattelart examined 100 Disney comics featuring Donald and his fine-feathered family, from which they display panels throughout the book (Donald has nephews and an uncle, but no parents, which in the view of the authors enhances the sexlessness of the comics). Dorfman later commented, “We had intended to roast Disney and the Duck.”

Dorfman and Mattelart did a good job of following through on that intention. They argue that “The world of Disney is a nineteenth century orphanage … The mere fact of being older or richer or more beautiful in this world confers authority. The less fortunate regard their subjection as natural. They spend all day complaining about the slavemaster, but they would rather obey his craziest order than challenge him.” Women play the roles of “humble servant or constantly courted beauty queen; in either case, constantly subservient to the male.” The exceptions to those prescribed female roles are the occasional witches.

How to Read Donald Duck still has useful things to say about life in the United States. In 2017, Dorfman wrote:

Certainly, many of the values we impaled in that book – greed, ultra-competitiveness, the subjection of the darker races, a deep-seated suspicion of foreigners (Mexicans, Arabs, Asians), all enwreathed in a credo of unattainable happiness – animate Trump’s enthusiasts (and not merely them). But such targets are now the obvious ones. Perhaps more crucial today is the cardinal, still largely unexamined, all-American sin at the heart of those Disney comics: a belief in an essential American innocence, in the utter exceptionality, the ethical singularity and manifest destiny of the United States.

Read the full article here

“Punching the Nazi in the face was the only way that Améry could resist being reduced to a mere body, a passive object, a thing. ” —ERIC ANTHAMATTEN revisiting philosopher Jean Améry's case for violent resistance, featured in #CHAROLOTTESVILE: WHITE SUPREMACY, POPULISM, AND RESISTANCE from TANK Magazine

March 22, 2019
Punching Nazis in the face: a philosopher makes the case for violent resistance
As white supremacist Richard Spencer was being interviewed on camera, a masked protester punched him square in the jaw. Many conservatives looked at this as evidence of cry-baby liberalism: when unable to handle alternative points of view, leftists resort to violence to stifle free speech. Fifty years ago, philosopher Jean Améry made a sustained argument for punching Nazis in the face, not only as an acceptable action, but one that might be required. A victim of torture by the Gestapo and a survivor of the Holocaust, Améry described his disturbing experience of torture at the hands of fascism, and defended, contra Nietzsche, the role of resentment (ressentiment) as an essential element of human identity, dignity, will, and freedom, including its manifestation in violence, as in the time he punched a Nazi in the face. Punching the Nazi in the face was the only way that Améry could resist being reduced to a mere body, a passive object, a thing. He had to punch to restore the boundary between his personhood and the intrusion of the torture, the fascist, the racist: the boundaries of my body are also the boundaries of myself. My skin surface shields me against the external world. If I am to have trust, I must feel on it only what I want to feel. Améry’s argument for Nazy face-punching isn’t a version of the argument for defence, however. Crucially, he acknowledges that his punch was not only futile, but would lead to even more pain being inflicted upon him, perhaps even death. In this way, Améry’s argument cannot be seen as a mere act of self-preservation, but as something that was demanded of him, as a human being, to preserve the integrity of the human world. His reasoning for Nazi-punching moves beyond ethical discourse into an ontological justification: what is at stake is not his individual body, but all of our bodies, and, perhaps, our world itself.
ERIC ANTHAMATTEN's essay from #CHARLOTTESVILLE is featured in TANK Magazine

Read ERIC ANTHAMMATEN's essay featured in TANK Magazine here.

#CHARLOTTESVILLE: WHITE SUPREMACY, POPULISM, AND RESISTANCE is available for purchase. Order your copy here.