This Month’s Book Recommendations
Against Charity, by Julie Wark and Daniel Raventos
AK Press (January 9th 2018)
Charity is not a gift. Gift-giving implies reciprocity, an ongoing relationship. When requital is impossible, the act of giving remains outside mutual ties and charity becomes yet another manifestation of class structure, a sterile one-way act upholding the status quo.
Vacuuming up all the profits thanks to a weak labor movement, lower taxes, and tax havens (thanks, lobbyists and loathsome politicians!), the global elite then turn around and remake the world in their own image with charitable donations that speak more of mean-spiritedness than generosity. Postmodern versions of nineteenth-century charity aim to keep wealth and power in a few hands, mocking our desire for greater income equality.
Daniel Raventós and Julie Wark argue for an unconditional universal basic income above the poverty line and paid for by progressive taxation to both eradicate poverty and empower recipients—the result being the human right of material existence. The burning issue is not charity but justice. More
The Big Heat: Earth on the Brink by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank
Published by AK Press (January 4th 2019)
The world as we know it is undergoing a sudden and violent transformation, unlike anything the planet has experienced since the Cretaceous Extinction. The evidence is all around us: vast droughts that last decades, super-storms and floods that destroy cities, dwindling aquifers, vanishing glaciers, toxic water supplies, raging wildfires, obscure new diseases, vanishing species and indigenous communities. Our planet is changing faster than evolution can keep up. The forces driving this radical transformation are not natural. The earth has been brought to the brink by a greed-based predatory economic system that chews up anything in its path and spits it out to the bitter end. Environmental journalists Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank take you on a sobering field trip through the danger zones; from the strip mines of Appalachia to last refuge of the grizzly, from the dirty fracking fields to the world’s most dangerous place, the Hanford Nuclear Site in the Pacific Northwest. The Big Heat charts the battle lines for the future of the planet, from corporate villains to corrupt politicians and the fearless environmentalists who are standing up against the pillaging. This is an unflinching chronicle of the last fight that really matters. More