Former Arizona state legislator and immigration reform activist Alfredo Gutierrez recently appeared on Phoenix Channel 12's Sunday Square Off to discuss the convergence of the personal and political in his recent book To Sin Against Hope: How America Has Failed Its Immigrants.
One of his hopes for the book, which chronicles the history of Mexican immigrants in the United States through his own family's story, is that it will inform younger generations about past struggles for civil rights in order to contextualize the current issues facing Latinos and immigrants in the US. Gutierrez explains:
I was motivated to write the book because there is such ignorance, not only among Latinos but folks in this country about America's unique relationship with Mexicans in the United States, and with immigration policy vis-a-vis Mexicans in the United States, and there continues to be a concerted effort in [Arizona] led by General Horn and by public superindentent hupenthal to keep the public in ignorance, fighting any attempt to visit this unique history of America and Arizona.
...I think young folks in particular ought to understand how this notion that we are failed people came about and the degree to which we are complicit in that perception.
On the Nature of Things
Lucretius, translated by Rolfe Humphries, IUP
A deft, lucid translation of the likable epic poem of the ancient world. Forget the sanguinary Homer or the tub-thumping Virgil. On the Nature of Things is an exhilarating account of how science can lift mankind out of superstition and fear.
The Patrick Melrose novels
Edward St Aubyn, Picador
This five-volume roman-fleuve is something to return to in old age, when there won’t be time for reading anything but perfect tens. I’ve heard it said that the dialogue is a bit stagey, but personally I prefer my fictional characters eloquent and epigrammatic. I really can’t stand too much reality.
A Day in the Life of Ancient Rome: Daily Life, Mysteries and Curiosities
Alberto Angela, translated by Gregory Conti, Europa Editions
How many times have you read a book of history only to forget all about the battles and struggles for succession the moment you put it down, retaining only a handful of piquant minor details? Perhaps you’ll recall the short lifespans; the alien diet (garum sauce anyone? It’s made from rotting fish); the massacres in the Coliseum; the daily struggles of the slaves. Well, this book is nothing but those fascinating nuggets. Not a people’s history, but a history that brings ordinary people to life, A Day in the Life of Ancient Rome is a tour of the city during Trajan’s reign, a series of vignettes that recreates the ancient world with all the immediacy of an excellent travelogue.
Socialist Register – 50th anniversary issue
The legendary journal founded by John Saville and Ralph Miliband in 1963 has been the home for many debates on the left over the years, including E.P. Thompson’s controversial rejoinder to the Nairn-Anderson theses. It’s latest issue is one of the strongest yet, with essays by Vivek Chibber and Colin Leys on the dynamic of class in the aftermath of the financial crisis.
Costas Lapavitsas has recently written an article for CITY journal entitled ‘The financialization of capitalism’, which explains some of the key ideas in his recently published book Profiting Without Producing. He explains some of the most important processes and changes that have taken place thanks to the last four decades of ‘financialization’, including changes in forms of capital accumulation and profit-making.
On the Public Seminar website, Nancy Fraser has recently offered a preliminary set of coordinates for critiquing certain trends in contemporary anti-capitalist thinking. She describes these trends as a kind of ‘neo-anarchism’ which has become particularly popular in movements such as anti-globalisation movements, Occupy and waves of student occupations. She describes some of the characteristics of this resurgence of anarchist thinking:
Distrustful of global governance institutions, and of the expert networks entangled with them, this approach looks to anti-systemic movements as agents of transformation. Valorizing the independent militancy of Occupy, WikiLeaks, and the World Social Forum, it affirms efforts to build counterhegemonic centers of opinion and will formation, far removed from circuits of institutionalized power.
Patrick Keiller’s The View from the Train, a book full of insights about urban and rural space in Britain as well as Keiller’s own film practice, has been praised in a number of recent reviews. The book made both the Financial Times and the Observer’s list of Books of the Year for 2013. According to the Financial Times, ‘Keiller is Britain’s most observant and provocative film-maker around the subject of cities and the landscape’. His essay collection is ‘wonderful’. The Observer had similar praise for The View from the Train, which it describes as ‘perceptive, educated, un-obvious musings on place and inhabitation’.