Friday September 27
6:30PM: Medea Benjamin, Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control
Drone Warfare is the first comprehensive analysis of one of the fastest growing—and most secretive—fronts in global conflict: the rise of robot warfare. In 2000, the Pentagon had fewer than fifty aerial drones; ten years later, it had a fleet of nearly 7,500, and the US Air Force now trains more drone “pilots”; than bomber and fighter pilots combined. Drones are already a $5 billion business in the US alone. The human cost? Drone strikes have killed more than 200 children alone in Pakistan and Yemen.
Medea Benjamin is a cofounder of both CODEPINK and the international human rights organization Global Exchange. Her book, Drone Warfare, is the first comprehensive analysis of one of the fastest growing—and most secretive—fronts in global conflict: the rise of robot warfare. The US Air Force now trains more drone “pilots”; than bomber and fighter pilots combined. Drones are already a $5 billion business in the US alone. The human cost? Drone strikes have killed more than 200 children alone in Pakistan and Yemen.
Saturday September 28
12pm: Jorell Melendez, Voces libertarias: Los orígenes históricos del anarquismo en Puerto Rico
Voces Libertarias recorre la historia del ascendiente movimiento obrero puertorriqueño durante las primeras dos décadas del siglo XX en aras de analizar los orígenes y la influencia de las ideas anarquistas en la isla. Fruto de una rígida investigación histórica, el trabajo pretende abrir una brecha dentro de la historiografía puertorriqueña para el estudio y análisis del pasado de una perspectiva crítica.
In order to analyze the origins and influence of anarchism on the island of Puerto Rico, Voces Libertarias traverses through the history of the emergent labor movement during the first two decades of the twentieth century. Product of a rigid research, the book hopes to open a breach inside Puerto Rican historiography for the study of past from a critical perspective.
Jorell A. Meléndez is a member of the Colectivo Autónomo C.C.C. He has presented on the topic of Puerto Rican anarchism in local and international forums including the United States, Canada, and England. He possesses a Masters in History of the Americas from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico. He’s been a member of the local punk community for more than a decade and is also a teacher by trade. He is now working towards a PhD at the University of Connecticut.
1pm: New Views of Civil Rights: Andor Skotnes, Jeanne Theoharis, Akinyele Umoja
In A New Deal for All?, Andor Skotnes examines the interrelationships between the Black freedom and workers’ movements in Baltimore during the Great Depression and the second world war. Jeanne Theoharis’s definitive political biography, The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks, challenges perceptions of her as an accidental actor in the civil rights movement. Akinyele Umoja’s We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement refutes the notion that the civil rights movement in the southern United States was a strictly nonviolent movement, documenting the key role of armed self-defense in that era.
3PM: Chris Crass, Towards Collective Liberation
Chris Crass, longtime organizer and activist, offers a firsthand look at the challenges and the opportunities of antiracist work in white communities, feminist work with men, and bringing women of color feminism into the heart of social movements. Drawing on two decades of personal activist experience and case studies within these areas, Crass’s newest book, Toward Collective Liberation: Anti-Racist Organizing, Feminist Praxis, and Movement Building Strategy explores ways of transforming divisions of race, class, and gender into catalysts for powerful vision, strategy, and building movements in the United States today.
4PM: Editors and Contributors of Stay Solid: A Radical Handbook for Youth
This scrapbook-style collection of essays, excerpts, explanations, and images pushes back against a culture that relentlessly demands that kids give up their best ideals, abandon their hopes, forget their ethical objections to dominant life, soothe their rage, and accept their fates. From dealing with the cops to dealing with your peers, from school and community to drugs and sex, from race and class to money and mental health, Stay Solid! provides essential support for radically inclined teens who believe that it’s possible for all of us to hang on to our values and build a life we believe in.
5PM: Juliana “Jewels” Smith, (H)afrocentric : the Comic
(H)afrocentric stars a posse of disgruntled undergrads of color as they navigate their way through Ronald Reagan University. Follow the self proclaimed radical Black feminist, Naima Pepper (who has a White mama), as she deals with the contradictions of her own life in various ways—lashing out in Tourette Syndrome-like rants about gentrification, white supremacy, and apathy. Both she and her twin brother, Miles Pepper, grew up in a mostly White and Asian neighborhood. Miles Pepper reflects a popular culture aesthetic and mindset. As they navigate through the world with their best friends, Renee Aanjay Brown and El Ramirez, their identities and neighborhood start to change in front of their eyes.
Juliana “Jewels” Smith is a cultural worker and an aspiring revolutionary. She earned her B.A. in Sociology from UC Riverside and M.A. in Ethnic Studies at UC San Diego. She created (H)afrocentric : the Comic first as catharsis and then as a way to present issues of race, class, gender and sexuality through dialogue. She says, “I write what I like, like Steve Biko. Only I have a lot more pictures accompanying me when I do…”
6PM: The Radical Bookfair Pavilion presents MK Asante, Buck: A Memoir (Literary Salon Stage)
Buck is a powerful memoir of how a precocious kid educated himself through the most unconventional teachers—outlaws and eccentrics, rappers and mystic strangers, ghetto philosophers and strippers, and, eventually, an alternative school that transformed his life with a single blank sheet of paper. It’s a one-of-a-kind story about finding your purpose in life, and an inspiring tribute to the power of education, art, and love to heal and redeem us.
MK Asante is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, hip-hop artist, and professor of creative writing and film at Morgan State University.
6PM: George Ciccariello-Maher, We Created Chavez: A People’s History of the Venezuelan Revolution
Since being elected president in 1998, Hugo Chávez has become the face of contemporary Venezuela and, more broadly, anticapitalist revolution. George Ciccariello-Maher contends that this focus on Chávez has obscured the inner dynamics and historical development of the country’s Bolivarian Revolution. In We Created Chávez, by examining social movements and revolutionary groups active before and during the Chávez era, Ciccariello-Maher provides a broader, more nuanced account of Chávez’s rise to power and the years of activism that preceded it.
Based on interviews with grassroots organizers, former guerrillas, members of neighborhood militias, and government officials, Ciccariello-Maher presents a new history of Venezuelan political activism, one told from below. Led by leftist guerrillas, women, Afro-Venezuelans, indigenous people, and students, the social movements he discusses have been struggling against corruption and repression since 1958. Ciccariello-Maher pays particular attention to the dynamic interplay between the Chávez government, revolutionary social movements, and the Venezuelan people, recasting the Bolivarian Revolution as a long-term and multifaceted process of political transformation.
George Ciccariello-Maher is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Drexel University.
Sunday September 29
12PM: Anabel Hernández, Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords And Their Godfathers
Anabel Hernández is one of Mexico’s leading investigative journalists. She has worked on national dailies including Reforma, Milenio, El Universal and its investigative supplement La Revista (now emeequis). She currently contributes to the online news site Reporte Indigo. Her previous books include La familia presidencial, Fin de fiesta en los pinos, and Los cómplices del presidente.
1PM: Eric Larson, Jobs With Justice
Through a series of interviews and essays, this compendium gives voice to the community, labor, immigrant, student, and faith activists that have built Jobs with Justice (JwJ). The book speaks on both the core principles of the organization for workers’ rights and the experiences since its founding in 1987. Though the discussion reflects on the last 25 years of the JwJ coalition, it also looks openly and optimistically at the next 25. It includes the perspectives of longtime national leaders, like founder Larry Cohen, newcomers like Ai-Jen Poo of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and the locally based, working-class men and women who have built JwJ from the ground up.
Eric Larson is a lecturer of history and literature at Harvard University. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
2pm The Radical Bookfair Pavilion presents Gar Alperovitz in conversation with Lester Spence and Jamie Raskin, What Then Must We Do? Moderated by Marc Steiner (Literary Salon Stage)
Never before have so many Americans been more frustrated with our economic system, more fearful that it is failing, or more open to fresh ideas about a new one. The seeds of a new economy—and, if we act upon it, a new system—are forming.
What is that next system? It’s not corporate capitalism, not state socialism, but something else—something entirely American.
In What Then Must We Do?, Gar Alperovitz speaks directly to the reader about why the time is right for a revolutionary new economy movement, what it means to democratize the ownership of wealth, what it will take to build a new system to replace the decaying one—and how to strengthen our communities through cooperatives, worker-owned companies, neighborhood corporations, small and medium-size independent businesses, and publicly owned enterprises.
For the growing group of Americans pacing at the edge of confidence in the old system, or already among its detractors, What Then Must We Do? offers an evolutionary, common-sense solution for moving from despair and anger to strategy and action.
Gar Alperovitz, Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland, is cofounder of The Democracy Collaborative. He is a former fellow of the Institute of Politics at Harvard and of King’s College at Cambridge University, where he received his PhD in political economy. He has served as a legislative director in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and as a special assistant in the Department of State.
2PM: Michelle Antoinette Nelson (aka LOVE the Poet), Black Marks on White Paper
Black Marks on White Paper seamlessly binds the readers’ life experiences with the author’s as each page is turned. Separated into three distinct sections Michelle takes the reader on a journey through the lives and circumstances of others with heart racing narrative pieces; while ferociously attacking her personal demons, and fearlessly revealing her own struggle with provocative and moving confessional poems. Black Marks on White Paper is not just about the words you see but the words you don’t, the erasures, revisions, and conversations; the past, the present, and the future; the Griot, the Woman, and the Warrior.
Michelle Antoinette Nelson, also known as LOVE the Poet, is a prominent indie artist/author/teacher on the national performance and literary art scenes, and in the field of creative writing education. She has appeared on CNN as a speaker at the Jena 6 rally in Washington, D.C., is the recipient of the 2011 Baker b-grant award, released multiple spoken word CDs, and has performed at the Smithsonian & college campuses nationwide. Michelle is also a guitarist, a Punany Poet (as seen on HBO), an active member of the Maryland Speaker’s Bureau, a member of Artist U, the creator of Live Lyrics! Creative writing workshops, co-creator of ‘Red Flags’, founder/host of BE FREE Fridays (monthly open mic series), and an active member of Poetry for the People Baltimore.
3PM: Marisela Gomez, Race, Class, Power, and Organizing in East Baltimore
Several years in the making, Marisela Gomez’s Race, Class, Power, and Organizing in East Baltimore draws on her long history as an anti-displacement activist in East Baltimore, working with communities to resist gentrification and displacement. Gomez offers a narrative history of development in East Baltimore, highlighting the key themes of race, class, and power, and examining their intersections. She also offers a wealth of strategies for resisting displacement and pinpoints key changes that could make development in Baltimore a community-driven, beneficial, participatory process for neighborhood change.
4PM: Russell Maroon Shoatz presented by Theresa Shoatz and Quincy Saul, Maroon the Implacable: The Collected Writings of Russell Maroon Shoatz
Russell Maroon Shoatz is a political prisoner who has been held unjustly for over thirty years, including two decades in solitary confinement. He was active as a leader in the Black Liberation Movement in Philadelphia, both above and underground. His successful escapes from maximum-security prisons earned him the title “Maroon.” This is the first published collection of his accumulated written works, and also includes new essays written expressly for this volume.
Russell Maroon Shoatz is a dedicated community activist, founding member of the Black Unity Council, former member of the Black Panther Party, and soldier in the Black Liberation Army. He is serving multiple life sentences as a U.S.-held prisoner of war.
5PM: Jen Marlowe and Kimberly Davis, I Am Troy Davis
On September 21, 2011, Troy Anthony Davis was put to death by the State of Georgia. Davis’s execution was protested by hundreds of thousands across the globe. How did one man capture the world’s imagination and become the iconic face for the campaign to end the death penalty? I Am Troy Davis, coauthored by Jen Marlowe and Davis’s late sister Martina Davis-Correia, tells the intimate story of an ordinary man caught up in an inexorable tragedy. From his childhood in racially charged Savannah; to the confused events that led to the 1989 murder of a police officer; to Davis’s sudden arrest, conviction, and two-decade fight to prove his innocence; I Am Troy Davis takes us inside a broken legal system where life and death hang in the balance. It is also an inspiring testament to the unbreakable bond of family, to the resilience of love, and to how even when you reach the end of justice, voices from across the world will rise together in chorus and proclaim, “I am Troy Davis,” I stand with you.