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World Wide Work - July 2008
Source Matt Witt
Date 08/07/16/22:14

This edition of the free bulletin, World Wide Work, is published by the
American Labor Education Center, an independent nonprofit founded in


There was hardly a dry eye in the hall when a nurse from Pennsylvania,
Deb Bonn, spoke at the recent SEIU convention in favor of a
resolution delegates later adopted to strengthen the unions efforts to
bring U.S. troops home from Iraq and provide them the health care and
other services they need.

New and worth noting

*Traces of the Trade
( is a fascinating film made by a descendant
of the largest slave trader in U.S. history. Together with nine other
relatives, she visits key sites from the New England town whose economy
depended on her familys business to a fort in Africa where slaves where
held in a dungeon before they were loaded on ships to a plantation in
Cuba where the Africans were brought to produce sugar cane that was then
used to make rum. The journey forces the family members to confront their
whiteness in new ways and to commit to action. The film and an
accompanying book called Inheriting the Trade by Thomas Norman
DeWolf make a clear case for reparations and puncture the myth that
slavery was simply a southern phenomenon.
( is an alarming 80-minute documentary that
in factual, credible terms exposes methods systematically used in 2004
and 2006 to suppress voting by working people and poor communities and to
undercount the votes that were cast.
*Passion and Power
( explores female sexuality through a
history of the vibrator, the sale of which is still illegal in some
*This is War
( follows an Oregon National Guard unit that
was sent to Iraq. Their sole focus becomes their own survival as they
appear to show little interest in the wars larger context.
*Larger Than Life
( is a video of a benefit concert to celebrate the life of the late songwriter, Steve Goodman. His songs are performed in the film by Arlo
Guthrie, Iris Dement, Todd Snider, Lyle Lovett, Emmylou Harris, Jackson
Browne, and John Prine.

*Bitter Chocolate
by Carol Off (The New Press). A Canadian journalist
looks at where chocolate comes from, how it is produced, who profits from
it, and who is exploited and impoverished in the process.
*Dying to Live by Joseph Nevins (City Lights). A well-researched
account uses the death of a man crossing the border from Mexico to be
reunited with his family as a jumping off point to tell the larger story
of the history and current reality of immigration.
*Illegal People by David Bacon (Beacon). A former union organizer
shows how current immigration laws are used to exploit immigrant workers
and their families.
*Tell Me Another Morning by Zdena Berger (Paris Press). The author
was 14 when she was taken to a Nazi concentration camp during World War
II. Her memoir, recently reissued, is written from her point of view at
the time, making the experience come painfully alive for the reader.
*When the Prisoners Ran Walpole by Jamie Bissonette (South End).
At a time when U.S. prison growth is out of control, this true story
about a past experiment sheds light on what could be done. For a brief
time in the early 1970s, radical reforms improved conditions in a state
prison in Massachusetts and reintegrated more prisoners into
*Why America Lost the War on Poverty and How to Win It by Frank
Stricker (University of North Carolina). Tracing more than 50 years of
history, from the War on Poverty through workfare to Bill Clintons vow
to end welfare as we know it, Stricker argues that any serious
anti-poverty program must be rooted in good jobs with pay and benefits
that support a family.
*Solidarity Divided by Bill Fletcher, Jr., and Fernando Gapasin
(University of California). The union movement should not settle for
winning gains for workers within the capitalist system but should promote
a global vision of an alternative to that system, according to this book,
part essay and part memoir, that contains a wide variety of criticisms of
SEIU, Change to Win, and the AFL-CIO.
*Race Against Liberalism by David M. Lewis-Colman (University of
Illinois). Chronicles historic tension between white liberal leaders of
the UAW and independent black movements in the auto industry.
*The Carbon-Free Home by Stephen & Rebekah Hren (Chelsea
Green). Detailed, practical ideas for modifications that can be made in
traditional homes to reduce fossil fuel use that contributes to climate
*The Political Economy of Media by Robert W. McChesney (Monthly
Review Press). Collected writings of a leading voice for radical reform
of the news media.

provides a free directory to resources for nonprofit organizations on
a wide range of topics.
instantly calculates the cost to your local area of the Iraq war, the
Bush tax cuts for the rich, or other misguided expenditures and
translates that into what the same funding could have provided locally in
terms of people covered for health care, homes converted to renewable
energy, or other socially useful purposes.
is the web site of the Maquiladora Health and Safety Support Network which
provides assistance to labor rights groups in Mexico and China.

by Kathy Mattea ( is a collection of many of the best
known songs of the eastern coalfields.
*Peace, Love and Anarchy by Todd Snider ( combines for his
ardent fans some of his lesser known songs with previously unreleased versions
of tunes from his other CDs.
*Hallowed Ground by I See Hawks in L.A. (www.iseehawks) is a reminder of the
groups musical talent but the lyrics on their previous CDs such as Grapevine
provide a better introduction to the bands work.

Free tools for effective grassroots organizing and communication, as well
as back issues of World Wide Work, are available at
Tax-deductible contributions to the American Labor Education Center are welcome and may be sent to 2721 Quail Run Rd., Talent, OR 97540. Thank you.

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