Saturday November 29th, 2014, 2:24 am (EST)

Scott Borchert

"Path-breaking ... Their story is our story, and thanks to Horne, we can now study its flow in a single, and profound, narrative."
—Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Read an Excerpt from Race to Revolution: The U.S. and Cuba during Slavery and Jim Crow

The Africans were apprehensive—with good reason. It was early in 1862 and the nation in which they resided, the United States, was embroiled in a bloody civil war. As such, the Washington authorities sought to send hundreds of them to Key West to work on fortifications, as this small town was well behind the lines of the so-called Confederate States of America—which dominated most of Florida—and had sought secession precisely on the grounds of continuation of enslavement of Africans. But the Africans asked to take on this important task balked, assuming this might be a prelude to selling them into slavery in Cuba, just across the Florida Straits. Their nervousness was understandable, since, for the longest period, there had been a robust slave trade—licit and otherwise—between the republic and the Spanish colony. … | more |

"Compelling and often spell-binding. This is surely one of the most important contributions to the social justice literature exposing farmworker injustice at all levels."
—Dr. Ann López, Executive Director, Center for Farmworker Families

Lettuce Wars author Bruce Neuburger interviewed on Flashpoints

Bruce Neuburger is the author of Lettuce Wars: Ten Years of Work and Struggle in the Fields of California, a memoir of the decade he spent as a farmworker and radical organizer. He was interviewed on Flashpoints, the investigative news program broadcast by KPFA, about the conditions of farmworkers today. … | more |

Unearthing Woody Guthrie’s Lost Novel

In 1937 Woody Guthrie wrote a letter to his friend, the actor Eddie Albert, asking for a loan. He needed cash for a special project—around $300 for building materials. Guthrie had lately become fixated on the idea of building an adobe house. He had just read U.S. Department of Agriculture Bulletin No. 1720, The Use of Adobe or Sun-Dried Brick for Farm Building, by T.A.H. Miller, and he was inspired.… It is not clear if Albert ever came through with the loan, but Guthrie never built the house.… [However] Guthrie never got over those adobe houses. A decade after leaving Pampa he completed House of Earth, a novel that celebrates adobe and relates it to a broader vision of solidarity and struggle.… | more |

Thoughts on the Tea Party: Interview with Anthony DiMaggio

Thoughts on the Tea Party: Interview with Anthony DiMaggio

The problem with the Tea Party “movement” is that its members’ anger gets manipulated by a small group of partisan and media elites who are essentially Republican Party operatives. This is the dirty little secret of the Tea Party; it’s not really a social movement, but a cluster of elitist interest groups operating locally and nationally, which is quite lacking in participatory elements, and largely driven by a top-down approach, determined and dictated by Republican partisan officials and business elites of the Koch variety. … | more |

Woody Guthrie: Redder than Remembered

Woody Guthrie: Redder than Remembered

Will Kaufman, Woody Guthrie, American Radical (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2011) 264 pages, $29.95, hardcover.

Will Kaufman’s new book, Woody Guthrie, American Radical, describes how Guthrie’s life-long radicalism shaped his music and evolved over time—from the Great Depression to the Second World War, from the Popular Front to the McCarthyite witch hunts, and into the folk music revival of the 1960s. Kaufman argues that Guthrie’s work must be understood in the context of its time, but also in light of Guthrie’s commitment to socialist politics and his unrelenting opposition to capitalism and fascism.… | more |

Interview with John Tully, author of The Devil's Milk: A Social History of Rubber

Interview with John Tully, author of The Devil's Milk: A Social History of Rubber

Why, of all possible commodities, did you choose to write a book on rubber? “It started with direct experience of a rubber factory: namely working on a major overhaul of the Banbury internal mixer at the old Goodyear tire factory in suburban Melbourne. Before that, like most people, I hadn’t given much thought to it. Of course, when I was a small kid it was fascinating stuff, but after that it might as well have been invisible for all the attention I paid to it. Working on the Banbury made me think about it again and it became clear upon reflection that it was a pretty crucial commodity.”… | more |