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WORLD WIDE WORK - October 2005
This edition of the free bulletin, World Wide Work, is published by the American Labor Education Center, an independent nonprofit founded in 1979.

New and worth noting…
*Occupation: Dreamland
is a documentary that presents an intimate view of a U.S. army unit in Faluja. Instead of the heavy-handed Michael Moore propaganda style, these filmmakers intertwine footage of the soldiers’ daily experiences with thoughtful interviews about their sometimes conflicting feelings about their mission and their encounters with Iraqis in the streets. The result is a highly credible and moving film that quietly lets the soldiers themselves reveal the counterproductiveness of the military presence and shows how much common ground there could be between Americans and Iraqis if circumstances were different.
*Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price is a documentary scheduled for release during Wal-Mart Week of actions Nov. 13-19. For information see wakeupwalmart.com and walmartwatch.org
*Touch of Sound is an enchanting documentary about one of the world’s leading percussionists, Evelyn Glennie, who as a hearing impaired woman shares her distinct sensibility and relationship to sound. Includes stunning performance footage.
*The Last Trapper is a documentary with some scenes reenacted that portrays a couple who live year round in the Yukon wilderness.

*Rethinking Mathematics: Teaching Social Justice by the Numbers
(Rethinking Schools Press).  Some of the latest innovative experiences and ideas for using the teaching of math to promote critical thinking and civic participation. Also new: Rethinking *Globalization, an indepth compilation of material to help students examine issues raised by globalization. Both these guides are interesting reading even for non-teachers.
*Ordinary Wolves by Seth Kantner (Milkweed). An engrossing autobiographical novel about growing up in remote Alaska and then encountering modern urban life. Unusually authentic, detailed, and expressive writing.
*Shattering the Stereotypes: Muslim Women Speak Out edited by Fawzia Afzal-Khan (Olive Branch). A collection that gives post-9/11 voice to diverse attitudes on the part of Muslim women from seven countries and various ethnic backgrounds.
*Lucha Libre, The Man in the Silver Mask by Xavier Garza (Cinco Puntos). A bilingual children’s book that tells a story about the wrestling matches between good and evil that are beloved community events in Mexican culture.
*My So-Called Digital Life edited by Bob Pletka (Santa Monica Press). Two thousand California teenagers were given digital cameras to document their lives and communities. Three hundred of their photographs are printed with commentary they provided. Many reveal a world in which it is a real struggle to maintain hope.
*Enough Already! by Bruce O'Hara (New Star). Aimed at professionals in their 50s, this energetic and hopeful book argues against waiting until standard retirement age to begin new, long postponed pursuits and life changes. A key for many such people, O'Hara says, is to learn to live with less income in order to free up time.
*1491 by Charles C. Mann (Knopf). Collects recent research suggesting that before Columbus the peoples of North American were more numerous and in many ways more advanced than their European counterparts. Challenging images of “primitive” natives, Mann argues that the so-called “conquest” was made possible by the spreading of disease and not by superior culture or arms.
*Line Break by James Scully (Curbstone). Provocative essays that argue that all language is political. Critiques, for example, supposedly “left” poetry or other arts that celebrate the victimhood rather than empowerment of exploited people.
*Poor Workers’ Unions by Vanessa Tait (South End). A journalist and union activist looks at movements since the 1960s that were organized on issues affecting people of color and working women that the traditional labor movement failed to address. She reports that many of the most successful union organizing campaigns in the past two decades have used tactics similar to those poor people’s organizations, and argues that social justice unionism must be a key to any revitalization for labor.
*The Heart of Whiteness by Robert Jensen (City Lights). An essay in which a white professor grapples with his own experiences and feelings about race and challenges common rationalizations and responses such as diversity programs.
*Writing the World: On Globalization edited by David Rothenberg and Wandee J. Pryor (MIT). Essays, memoirs, poems, and stories that reflect a variety of cross-cultural personal experiences in an increasingly globalized world.
*Silenced edited by David Dadge (Prometheus). First-person reports from all over the world by journalists who faced repression for exposing wrongdoing.
*Loving Through Bars by Cynthia Martone (Santa Monica Press). A personal account by a school principal as she discovered the problems faced by her students who were among the 2.3 million children in the U.S. who have a parent in prison.
*Souls Alike
by Bonnie Raitt (Capitol). Raitt mixes in some new musical styles and more adventurous songwriters.
*Fiddler’s Green and Cornbread Nation by Tim O’Brien (Sugar Hill). Two brilliant new CDs that are probably categorized as bluegrass but stretch the limits of that genre in many different directions.
*Those Were the Days by Dolly Parton (Sugar Hill). Parton sings a dozen well known songs from the 1960s In combination with a mixture of other performers from that era and from today.
*Paradise Hotel by Eliza Gilkyson (Red House). While not as consistently original as her previous album, this one has some high points, including a song whose lyrics are based on letters an ancestor wrote during the Revolutionary War.
*My Better Self by Dar Williams (Razor & Tie). “Teens for God” highlights a collection of personal songs with social overtones.
and houseoflabor.tpmcafe.com are blogs that frequently post and provide opportunities for commentary on developments in the union movement.
ilr.cornell.edu/globalunionsconference has information about a Feb. 9-12, 2006 international conference in New York on global union strategies.
greenlabor.org is a site with news about cooperative initiatives by the Steelworkers, Sierra Club, and other labor and environmental groups.
ShopUnionMade.org is a site maintained by the AFL-CIO to provide information about consumer products and services that are union made.
classactionnet.org has resources and commentary about issues related to class in America.

Free tools for effective grassroots organizing and communication, as well as back issues of World Wide Work, are available at www.TheWorkSite.org
Contributions to the American Labor Education Center are welcome and may be sent to 1835 Kilbourne Place NW, Washington, DC 20010..  Thank you.

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