Thursday, December 30, 2010

Radicalism at the Crossroads: African American Women Activists in the Cold War

Come check out local scholar Dayo Gore's new book Radicalism at the Crossroads: African American Women Activists in the Cold War.

"With the exception of a few iconic moments such as Rosa Parks’s 1955 refusal to move to the back of a Montgomery bus, we hear little about what black women activists did prior to 1960. Perhaps this gap is due to the severe repression that radicals of any color in America faced as early as the 1930s, and into the Red Scare of the 1950s. To be radical, and black and a woman was to be forced to the margins and consequently, these women’s stories have been deeply buried and all but forgotten by the general public and historians alike.

In this exciting work of historical recovery, Dayo F. Gore unearths and examines a dynamic, extended community of black radical women during the early Cold War, including established Communist Party activists such as Claudia Jones, artists and writers such as Beulah Richardson, and lesser-known organizers such as Vicki Garvin and Thelma Dale. These women were part of a black left that laid much of the groundwork for both the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and later strains of black radicalism. Radicalism at the Crossroads offers a sustained and in-depth analysis of the political thought and activism of black women radicals during the Cold War period and adds a new dimension to our understanding of this tumultuous and violent time in United States history."

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Food For Thought Books in the news

Check out this article on Food For Thought Books in the Valley Advocate!

It's particularly nice to know that, in a Valley known for its leftward leanings, there are businesses that employ progressive ideas not as mere ideals but as working methods. The Valley's worker-owned, democratically run co-ops include Collective Copies, Pelham Auto, Ronin Tech Collective, Northampton's often-seen bicycle stalwarts Pedal People, and more.

One of the best-known is Amherst's not-for-profit Food for Thought Books, which specializes in "radical and progressive media." The bookstore also hosts plenty of author appearances. It's remarkable, in a bad economic climate and in a time when the fate of books and bookstores is less than clear, for any small bookstore to stay on the scene. Food for Thought, which has sustained itself since 1976, seemed to have achieved institution status, but even indie bookstores that have succeeded over the long haul are in danger these days. more

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sweaty Buttons at Food For Thought Books!

Stop by this Sunday for a free afternoon concert of rootsy goodness courtesy of our good friends: the fabulous Sweaty Buttons!

Update: Here's a nice little video from the concert.

Monday, December 13, 2010

New Book Bags!

As part of our Support and Sustain Campaign we are releasing this limited edition book bag, designed by fellow radical artist Ricardo Levins Morales. Only $25.00 - all proceeds go to support Food for Thought Books Collective.

This printing is limited, so don't miss out on an opportunity to get this beautiful, unique bag AND support FFT at the same time. Get one for yourself and get some to give to your friends and family - click here to order.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Haruki Murakami on reality

A thought-provoking piece in the NY Times from one of my favorite authors (and Javiera's too!), Haruki Murakami - you really should go read it right now:

We often wonder what it would have been like if 9/11had never happened — or at least if that plan had not succeeded so perfectly. Then the world would have been very different from what it is now. America might have had a different president (a major possibility), and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars might never have happened (an even greater possibility).

Let’s call the world we actually have now Reality A and the world that we might have had if 9/11 had never happened Reality B. Then we can’t help but notice that the world of Reality B appears to be realer and more rational than the world of Reality A. To put it in different terms, we are living a world that has an even lower level of reality than the unreal world. more
Right? And once you're done with that, you should really go & track down one of his novels & read it. Here's some suggestions:

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

comfy couches at food for thought

Did you know we have verrry comfy couches at Food For Thought Books? You don't have to be buying a book to hang out here. Feel free to drop by & use our free wifi, look at some awesome art books, talk with your friends, do some studying, or just take a quick snooze.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Suppressed Speech of Wamsutta James

It is with mixed emotion that I stand here to share my thoughts. This is a time of celebration for you - celebrating an anniversary of a beginning for the white man in America. A time of looking back, of reflection. It is with a heavy heart that I look back upon what happened to my People.

from United American Indians of New England

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Food For Thought Books in the news

Article from the Springfield Republican, featuring our very own Javiera Benavente:

Internet textbook sales slam Pioneer Valley independent bookstores' bottom lines
Monday, November 22, 2010, 5:37 AM

Photo by Jerrey RobertsAMHERST - Since successfully weathering the incursion of big-box booksellers more than a decade ago, independent bookstores have been contending for some time with another threat: the Internet.

Internet textbook sales this fall likely diverted as much as 30 to 40 percent of the business for Food for Thought Books, said Javiera Benavente, one of five worker-owners of the nonprofit progressive bookstore in downtown Amherst. Seventy percent of the store’s business depends on textbook sales to students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst College and Hampshire College.

Ironically, a new federal guidance in effect since July 1 - designed to achieve transparency by requiring colleges and universities to post textbook sales information and pricing - may have had an unintended effect: sending students to the Internet to order their textbooks. The new guidance is part of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008....

John H. Bracey Jr., a UMass Amherst professor of Afro-American studies, has been a supporter since Food for Thought started in 1976.

“This is a college town. We have to have art galleries, theaters and bookstores,” he said. “I go just to browse titles, to see what the latest stuff is. Every time I go in there, I buy something. I was brought up thinking books were the most important things you can have. The idea of shutting down Food for Thought and putting in another coffee place, what would that add to the quality of life in the town? We need these kinds of anchors in the community just to keep the thought level up.”

People still need to “read widely and think broadly,” he said. “Food for Thought has been a center for that kind of activity, whether it’s Ecuadorian poetry or sustainable energy.”

... read more

Monday, November 22, 2010

Food For Thought Books in the news

A nice letter to the Amherst Bulletin from our longtime friend Gerry Weiss:

To the Bulletin: A valuable community resource is in financial trouble. Food for Thought Books is in danger of closing unless they and we find a way to keep them going.

It has been hit by the same factors contributing to the nationwide decline of independent bookstores: big box stores, Amazon, e-books, the economy and a severe drop in textbook sales. For over 30 years, Food for Thought Books has been the only not-for-profit, worker-owned collective bookstore in Western Mass. But it is also a community gathering place where people come together with artists and activists to share ideas.

This gathering and sharing can't be done on Amazon or Yes, you can buy books more cheaply on Amazon, but you can't talk to friendly and knowledgeable sales staff, browse the store, sit and read a book to your child and meet local writers. And if the store closes, we have another empty store front and a loss of foot traffic downtown. Every store that closes means a loss to the town; a loss of a business that that gives back to the town. The money you spend in locally owned businesses stays in Amherst. The money you spend at Amazon or B & N stays there.

So the next time you are on one of the big sites to buy a book, switch over to, and order your book there, or call or stop in. And you can also see what else you can do to help on the website or at the store.

Gerry Weiss
Thanks, Gerry!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thank You, Sonia Sanchez!

Food For Thought Books Collective would like to express our profound gratitude to Sonia Sanchez for an amazing fundraiser last night.

Thanks also to the lovely folks at Afro-American Studies Department at UMass for making it all happen, not to mention all the wonderful people who showed up to make it such a special evening.

Please know your support in these difficult times is deeply appreciated. We are truly blessed to have such a powerful, creative, and compassionate community to see us through.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Patti Smith wins National Book Award

Hell yes: Patti Smith wins the National Book Award for her recent memoir Just Kids.

In Just Kids, Patti Smith’s first book of prose, the legendary American artist offers a never-before-seen glimpse of her remarkable relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the epochal days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the late sixties and seventies. An honest and moving story of youth and friendship, Smith brings the same unique, lyrical quality to Just Kids as she has to the rest of her formidable body of work—from her influential 1975 album Horses to her visual art and poetry.
Congratulations Patti!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Winter Hours

Please take note of our new winter hours!

Monday, Wednesday, & Friday: 10:00am to 6:00pm
Tuesday & Thursday: 1:00pm to 6:00pm
Saturday & Sunday: 11:30am to 6:00pm

Remember: you can always shop for books online at any hour, comfy, at home & in yr jammies, at our fantabulous website:

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Zadie Smith reviews Jaron Lanier

Zadie Smith pens a thought provoking review of Jaron Lanier's recent You Are Not a Gadget (wrapped in a review of The Social Network, the recent movie about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, whom she went to Harvard with...)

You want to be optimistic about your own generation. You want to keep pace with them and not to fear what you don’t understand. To put it another way, if you feel discomfort at the world they’re making, you want to have a good reason for it. Master programmer and virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier (b. 1960) is not of my generation, but he knows and understands us well, and has written a short and frightening book, You Are Not a Gadget, which chimes with my own discomfort, while coming from a position of real knowledge and insight, both practical and philosophical. Lanier is interested in the ways in which people “reduce themselves” in order to make a computer’s description of them appear more accurate. “Information systems,” he writes, “need to have information in order to run, but information underrepresents reality” (my italics). In Lanier’s view, there is no perfect computer analogue for what we call a “person.” In life, we all profess to know this, but when we get online it becomes easy to forget. In Facebook, as it is with other online social networks, life is turned into a database, and this is a degradation, Lanier argues, which is
based on [a] philosophical mistake…the belief that computers can presently represent human thought or human relationships. These are things computers cannot currently do.

We know the consequences of this instinctively; we feel them. We know that having two thousand Facebook friends is not what it looks like. We know that we are using the software to behave in a certain, superficial way toward others. We know what we are doing “in” the software. But do we know, are we alert to, what the software is doing to us? Is it possible that what is communicated between people online “eventually becomes their truth”? What Lanier, a software expert, reveals to me, a software idiot, is what must be obvious (to software experts): software is not neutral. Different software embeds different philosophies, and these philosophies, as they become ubiquitous, become invisible. more

Friday, November 5, 2010

Calendars & Planners for 2011

We've got a ton of new calendars & planners for 2011 in stock. One of our personal favorites is Nikki McClure's wonderful calendar, featuring her extraordinary papercut images combined with singular potent verbs that inspire both reflection & action. Only $16.00!

Also awesome & in stock: Slingshot organizers! A bestseller for us for the past decade or more, the Slingshot organizer is packed full of radical dates for every day of the year, space to write your phone numbers, a contact list of radical groups around the globe, menstrual calendar, info on police repression, extra note pages, plus much more.

The classic pocket version is still only $6.00 and the larger spiralbound version is still only $12.00.

Come by & check them out today - the new year is coming soon!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Art in the Window - Zamont Hassan

As part of our ongoing project of Artists in the Window we're currently featuring the extraordinary multilayered work of Zamont Frenkel Hassan. Be sure to stop by & check it out!

Artists in the Window is an ongoing series of displays by local artists in our right-side front window. We provide this service to give our local artists a free venue to share their work with the community.

Are you an artist interested in displaying your work in our window? Click here for more information.

Monday, November 1, 2010

¡ Felíz Día de los Muertos !

Happy Day of the Dead everyone!


Monday, October 25, 2010

The Coke Machine - An Interview with Michael Blanding

Tara Lohan at Alternet talks with investigative journalist Michael Blanding about his new book, The Coke Machine: The Dirty Truth Behind the World's Favorite Soft Drink:

People ask me why I singled out Coke, and in some ways I did that because it is such an iconic brand and such a symbol of capitalism, but I think the lessons I drew from investigating Coke are not specific to Coke -- it's not some evil corporation that is somehow worse than all the others. In fact, a lot of the lessons about how and why the company does what it does and how people have ultimately been able to hold Coke accountable are just as applicable to BP or Halliburton or other major corporations. I think of the Coke Machine as in some ways a metaphor for the darker side of corporate capitalism and I hope that my book can be seen as a way of exposing that. more
Don't miss the book's nicely done website, The Coke Machine.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Important News from Food For Thought Books

Please take a moment and read this letter we have written to our community about the future of Food For Thought Books:

Dear friends,

We are writing to you today to share an important update about what is happening with us because you are part of the community that has always made our collective a special place. We are writing you today because that is what friends do when they need help: they turn to their friends first and ask for it. We want you to know that we need your help now and that we are thankful for all the support that you have given to us in the past.

On Teaching the Graphic Novel

Alexander Chee muses on his experiences at Amherst College teaching a seminar on graphic novels.

... an Ukiyo-e woodblock print by Kuniyoshi, is one of the pieces of art that led me into my interest in the graphic novel. The visual pun at its center emits a narrative force, a dramatic irony—you are drawn into the story about to happen, the idea that the fox has cast this illusion around it and has not yet been caught by anyone except the artist and the reader. Comics and graphic novels at their best play with this and the other forces a visual pun brings to bear. It’s one of the things a comic or graphic novel can do that prose alone has to play catch-up with—creating in the mind of the reader simultaneous contrasts, the fox as woman as fox as illusion. more
The rest is full of such excellent insights. Be sure to check out the excellent & varied reading list at the end.

And did we mention that his novel Edinburgh is an eloquent, powerful, and deeply moving read? Here, read the prologue and you'll see.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Homophobia is Killing our Youth

Today is Spirit Day, a day when gay, lesbian and queer organizations are asking folks to wear purple in honor of the LGBT youth who have committed suicide in recent days due to homophobic abuse in their homes and schools.

MakeItBetter Amherst has organized a candlelight vigil on the Amherst Common tonight to commemorate this new holiday at 6:30pm. Be there!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Wesbite Temporarily Down for Upgrade

From 6:00am until about 4:00pm today our main website will be down while the good folks at Indiebound give it a nice upgrade and fine tuning.

Both our search engine and our shopping cart are going get some new features and tweaks and we expect them both to be even faster and easier to use than ever. Huzzah!

In the meantime, check out our fabulous Flickr and Facebook pages.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Interview with author Isabel Wilkerson

"The biggest underreported story of the 20th century" - author Isabel Wilkerson speaks with Marjorie Kehe about her new book: The Warmth of Other Suns

Between about 1910 and 1970, some 6 million blacks left the Jim Crow South and moved to cities in the north and west of the United States. This mass migration reshaped America's northern cities, forced change in the South, and helped to fuel the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Yet for Isabel Wilkerson, award-winning New York Times correspondent and the child of parents who participated in the "Great Migration," this huge population shift has remained perhaps "the biggest underreported story of the 20th century." She hopes that her new book, "The Warmth of Other Suns," will change that. read more...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Reconsider Columbus Day

This country can be pretty much summed up by noting that we have exactly two federal holidays commemorating individuals: one for a man who dedicated himself to healing the soul wounds that have plagued this country for so long, the other a man who inflicted the first wound in what was to be a long war of extermination & bloody conquest.

This Columbus Day, please reconsider what you know:

More resources for thinking about Columbus Day can be found at Rethinking Columbus...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Food Justice = Nuestras Raíces

Hey, look who's on the cover of the recently released Food Justice from MIT Press! You got it - those are the mighty & beautiful youth of Nuestras Raíces!

Only too appropriate we think. Those kids in Holyoke have been showing everyone how it's done for some time now.

Click on the image to see a bigger picture.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Movable Feast: A Socially Engaged Art & Food Project

Come check out Movable Feast next Tuesday, October 5th! They'll be parked right in front of Food For Thought Books from 4:30 to 7:00pm.

The centerpiece of the Movable Feast project is a retrofitted mobile food service trailer that serves as an advocacy tool for healthy eating, local food production and sustainability. At each of its stops, informational presentations, informal performances, and vegetarian fare are all combined to expand conventional notions of food, people, place and the potential for engaged public art to be a catalyst for change.

So, come chow down on delicious food (provided by the superlative Sierra Grille!) and find out more about how we all can create a better and healthier local food system.


There's a good interview with Joseph Krupczynski, the artist behind Movable Feast, over at ArtSake, where he talks about the origin of the project, it's aims, & of using art as a tool for education & activism.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

All those years wasted...

All Those Years Shopping At Independent Bookstore Wasted

Reacting to news that independent outfit Shaker House Books had closed Monday, longtime customer Stephanie Brear said she couldn't believe she "flushed seven years down the toilet" patronizing the local store. "I put so much time into supporting my quirky local bookshop, with its charming window displays and us-versus-the-world attitude, and for what?" said Brear, adding that she even went through the trouble of befriending the husband-and-wife owners and their cat, Ulysses....

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Charles Mann Delivers a Smackdown

Just wanted to note a nice scholarly smackdown by local author & science journalist Charles Mann over at MediaIndigena.

In this guest post, author Charles C. Mann responds to Frances Widdowson’s criticism of his book,1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. Widdowson delivered her critique as part of a rebuttal to Niigonwedom Sinclair’s negative review of her book, Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry: The Deception Behind Indigenous Cultural Preservation. As part of her rebuttal, Widdowson hotly disputed Mann’s account of the ancient Cahokia mounds site (located in what is now the US state of Illinois).
Do you just want to skip ahead to the smackdown?
The material in my book is not “exclusively based on the existence of large mounds of earth” but on decades of fine scholarship and hard work by dozens of researchers. As I said, I have not read Dr. Widdowson’s book and know little of her work. But it does not give me confidence that she is apparently willing to publish assertions that a simple Google search would have disproven.
Oh, snap!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

It's that time of year again...

Textbook rush is upon us so don't be surprised to see boxes & boxes & more boxes piled up everywhere in the store. We don't have a real backroom or basement or anything so you get to see the whole process in all its transparent glory.

New students! Welcome to the valley! Returning students! Welcome back! We look forward to the life and vitality you bring to our little town. Feel free to come and hang out anytime, whether to read a book, use the free wifi, chat with a friend, or just sit and chill.

We are happy to help you with any research or projects you may be pursuing and welcome any questions you may have. Drop us an email at and tell us what's on your mind.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fusion: The Synergy of Images and Words

Check out this beautiful photo essay (part 1, part 2) of people reading books all over the world...

Photographer Steve McCurry remarks: We are familiar with words describing images, but not so familiar with images describing words and the impact reading has on our lives.
via the ever superlative metafilter

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Speaking of Truth and Power

The folks at underclassrising have an interesting interview with Noam Chomsky in which he discusses, among other things, his recent book Hopes & Prospects:

Your latest book is called Hopes and Prospects. What are the hopes?

The first part of the book is about South America, and in South America there are many quite hopefu developments. For the first time in 500 years, since the Conquistadors, South America is beginning to move towards some degree of independence and integration and at least facing some of its severe internal problems. The colonial structure is extreme in South America, where there is a very narrow concentration of wealth in a mostly Europeanised, sometimes white elite, surrounded by an awful tragedy and some of the worst inequality in the world, in a region that has a lot of resources and a lot of potential. Some steps are being taken to deal with this.

In the US itself there also are changes. Whether they are fast enough to overcome the major problems I don’t know, but just take Israel and Palestine. Not many years ago, if I wanted to give a talk on this I had to have police protection at a university, because the meetings would be broken up violently. I can remember when the police insisted on accompanying me and my wife back to our car after a talk at a university. That’s not completely changed, but it’s been changing over the years, and it changed radically after Gaza. Now there are enthusiastic audiences, very much engaged, very involved, very much wanting to do things.

It hasn’t affected the media, and it hasn’t affected the political class, or the intellectuals, but it’s changing around the country, and sooner or later those things do have effects. In a way it was diverted by the Obama phenomenon, because that did bring about a lot of expectations and it diverted a lot of activism. But now disillusionment has set in. If the changes continue to develop, they can eventually bring about significant change, as they did in the case of South Africa.

... read more

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Diet for a Hot Planet

Anna Lappé has an article in the recent issue of Edible Pioneer Valley that's worth checking out and serves as a nice introduction to her new book Diet for a Hot Planet. If you're local, you can pick up free copies all over the Valley, or check out their free online edition.

In 2006, Henning Steinfeld and colleagues at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization published a dense 390-page report called Livestock’s Long Shadow. Get past the mind-numbing figures and you’d absorb the report’s startling conclusion: Livestock production— especially the pressure on forests for pasture and crop production and the immense waste of industrial feedlots—contributes more to global warming than every single car, truck and plane on the planet. Move over, Hummer; say hello to the hamburger.

The entire food system—from seed to plate to landfill—is responsible for an estimated one-third of the escalating greenhouse gas emissions leading us toward climate catastrophe....

Despite the overwhelming evidence about the climate toll of global industrial agriculture, most of us are missing the story. When we think about climate-change bad guys, we would probably point to BP and ExxonMobil, before naming ADM and Cargill. Most of us are also largely unaware of the potential that sustainable, small-scale farming holds to both help us survive a climate-unstable future and mitigate global warming.

This lack of conversation and consciousness of industrial agriculture’s impact as well as the potential of a sustainable food system to heal the climate prompted me to pen my new book, Diet for a Hot Planet. more

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Modern Day Slavery Museum

We are writing to invite you to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers' (CIW) Modern-Day Slavery Museum exhibit. The museum exhibit will be traveling around the Northeast for the next few weeks, and will be in Northampton at Pulaski Park on Main & Masonic on this upcoming Tuesday, August 10th.

The centerpiece of the museum exhibit is a box truck outfitted as a replica of the trucks used to enslave tomato pickers in a brutal 2008 case (prosecuted in federal court in 2008). The truck was developed in consultation with workers who have escaped from slavery operations, as well as leading academic authorities on labor history and the subject of forced labor. The CIW has aided the DOJ in the prosecution of 6 farmworker slavery operations, leading to the liberation of well over 1,000 workers. A federal indictment for the 8th case of farmworker slavery to happen in the past 12 years was just unsealed this month.

The truck and the accompanying multimedia exhibit look at the history of forced labor, why it continues to occur, and the solution that is being forged to pull slavery up by its roots.

Local organisational sponsors: Alliance to Develop Power (ADP Worker Center / Casa Obrera), UMASS Labor Relations and Research Center (LRRC), Food for Thought Books, C3 Northampton, Verité, Western Mass Jobs with Justice (WMJWJ), In Solidarity With Immigrants (ISWI), Center for Popular Economics (CPE), Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC), Northampton Farmer's Market (Tuesday), and the American Friends Service Commitee (AFSC).

If you are unable to catch the Modern Day Slavery Museum but are still interested in learning more about contemporary slavery in the U.S. today, please check out John Bowe's Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy for an excellent (and sobering) overview.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Calling all Carpenters & Other Handy Folk

Are you a carpenter? Maybe you know someone who is? We need some help with building some new shelves for our children's book area, as well as some tables for our sale books.

Here's the catch: it's been a super slow summer & we have little to no extra money at the moment. We can probably scrounge enough for materials but we'll only be able to offer store credit for the labor.

So, if you know someone who'd be willing to engage in this labor of love (& books!), please get in contact with us.

Email for more information. Thanks!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Nikki McClure Posters

If you've been to our store, you've no doubt noticed our love for Nikki McClure's wonderful papercut artwork. We've got a whole new crop of her poster prints in stock (only $9.00 each!), so please stop by & check them out. Guranteed to brighten up that blank piece of wall you've been wondering what to do with.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Not In My Country: A Tale of Unwanted Immigrants

Joe Sacco, author of the recent Footnotes in Gaza, observes the treatment of African migrants in his homeland of Malta in his new work: Not In My Country: A Tale of Unwanted Immigrants.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Harvey Pekar RIP

Sad news: Harvey Pekar, a pioneer of autobiographical comics, passed away last night. Harvey self-published & self-distributed his American Splendor from the mid-70s to the mid-90s, providing a raw and insightful working-class perspective on everyday life in middle America. As Harvey used to say "Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff".

Someday, please find yourself a copy of the American Splendor anthology and read the short piece "Hypothetical Quandary" - it's easily one of the best pieces of comics storytelling I've ever read.

Goodbye, Harvey. You done good.

(More on the irreplaceable Mr. Pekar from Alison Bechdel, Anthony Bourdain, & Michael Malice... and don't miss the Pekar Project at Smithmag,net, along with his 70th birthday tribute!)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

INCITE! Reading Group update ♥!

INCITE! Reading Group.
First Tuesdays of the month. 7-9 pm.
Food For Thought Books Collective, Amherst.

Suggested donation $5.00, absolutely nobody turned away for lack of funds.

Dear Western Mass. Community,

As you may know, this past Tuesday marked our first INCITE! reading group time and I wanted to share with you that we had a lovely, inspirational, inter-generational group. It was a pleasure to learn with the folks who attended and I’m really excited about the process that we’re involved in! In preparation for our next INCITE! reading group I’m sending out these brief notes about the evening.

It is always touching to share the opportunity to read the words of radical people of color and share our thoughts on liberation and self-determination within a circle of women and gender-non-conforming poc. Collectively, we read the intro of Color of Violence (the INCITE! Book that we are currently focusing on). We were all deeply moved by the affirmation that the books introduction offered to us. We talked about ways that we actively combat imperialism, ways that we build community/ combat the culture of detachment, goals of our reading group (including creating media projects and possibly starting a Western Mass. INCITE! Chapter!). As you can see, there is a lot to be excited about. We are excited for other women and gender-non-conforming folks of color to feel welcome to join us, so don’t be shy… come when you can! ♥ !

We agreed that each month we’d discuss a certain section of the book and that each of us would do our best to come having pre-read the section and picked out a piece that we’d like to read aloud and discuss with each other. In addition, on behalf of To tell you the Truth (co-sponsor), I’m going to share some media making/testimonio skills with the group.

Here’s the schedule that we think makes the most sense:

  • August 3, 2010 7-9pm
    –Section of the Book: Reconceptualizing Anti-Violence Strategies
    –Media skill: blogging
  • September 7, 2010 7-9pm
    –Section of the Book: Forms of Violence
    –Media skill: tbd
  • October 5, 2010 7-9pm
    –Section of the Book: Building Movement
    –Media skill: tbd


If you don’t already have the book and are local you can pick it up at Food for Thought Books Collective, you’ll receive 10% off of it if you are a member of the reading group.

Here’s a little info about it:

Color of Violence: The INCITE! Anthology

In the tradition of This Bridge Called My Back, Color of Violence is an urgent, bold, and essential intervention in the war against women of color, their communities, and, ultimately, us all.

INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, a national organization of radical feminists of color, announces Color of Violence: The INCITE! Anthology, an anthology of critical writings demanding that we address violence against women of color in all its forms, including interpersonal violence, such as sexual and domestic violence, and state violence, such as police brutality, militarism, attacks on immigrants and Indian treaty rights, the proliferation of prisons, economic neo-colonialism, and violence from the medical industry. Color of Violence presents the fierce and vital writing of 33 visionary radical feminists of color. These writers not only investigate the intersecting ways in which violence and oppression exist in the lives of women of color and our communities, they also map innovative strategies of movement building and resistance used by women and trans people of color around the world.

Hope to see you there!
tk (tanya karakashian)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Crises of Capitalism

Check out this excellent animation by the RSA of David Harvey's recent talk The Crises of Capitalism.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Roots to Resistance: An Art & Activism Project

On Saturday, July 24th at 7pm the Food For Thought Books Collective joins forces with local artist Denise Beaudet to celebrate the life and work of twelve women activists from around the world and raise funds for her most recent art and activism project: Roots To Resistance.

Join us for an evening of art, storytelling, music, food, and activism and contribute to this critical and inspiring project. There will be a $25-5 suggested donation at the door, and all proceeds will go to support Roots To Resistance.

Roots To Resistance is an art and activism project conceived and directed by local artist Denise Beaudet that features twelve women activists from around the world who are doing or have done courageous work to transform injustice in their communities and create a world that values our individual and collective humanity. From Yvonne Margaruna an Aboriginal activist who stood between her land and radioactive dumping crews to Natalia Estemirova the Chechen journalist who was recently abducted and murdered, these women's lives and work will move and astound you. Their stories need to be heard and shared so that more hands can join in their efforts for cultural and political transformation. To this end, Denise is painting twelve full size portraits of these women as well as producing and disseminating political postcards to raise awareness about their activist work.

Celebrating the Life & Work of 12 Women Activists

  • Natalia Estemirova, Murdered Human Rights Journalist (Chechnya)
  • Malalai Joya, Women's Rights Activist (Afghanistan)
  • Chouchou Namegabe, Women's Rights Journalist (D.R. Congo)
  • Aung San Suu Kyi, Human Rights Activist (Burma)
  • Marina Silva, Environmental Activist (Brazil)
  • Ditah Indah Sari, Labor Activist (Indonesia)
  • Parvin Ardalan, Women's Rights Activist (Iran)
  • Wangari Maathai, Environmental Activist (Kenya)
  • Rebecca Gomperts, Reproductive Rights Activist (Netherlands)
  • Zapatista Women, Environmental/Indigenous Rights (Mexico)
  • Maria Gunnoe, Mountaintop Removal & Mining (U.S.)
  • Yvonne Margarula, Indigenous Rights Activist (Australia)

Thursday, June 3, 2010



FFT Collective is organizing against SB1070 in coalition with IWRC/ Western Mass. AFSC. For more information about these efforts check out:

Please check out this statement and look below for upcoming organizing efforts:

What We Believe:

We believe that the law recently passed in Arizona (SB1070) is not merely about Arizona it is about all of us; it is about criminalizing and targeting those most vulnerable and marginalized among us in this country.

We recognize that this legislation:

  • is a diversion away from working people's real source of economic insecurity in this country, particularly, the ongoing exploitation by big business and corporation of marginalized communities and of our world's resources.
  • promotes and legalizes racial profiling of documented and undocumented people of color.
  • violates the rights of indigenous populations of the America's to freely move; criminalizing traditional migration patterns and not recognizing the increased need for migration based on the direct impact of unjust free trade agreements.
  • further disenfranchises already marginalized populations (including poor & working-class women of color and gender-variant people by preventing access to social service resources and placing these populations at greater risk for individual and state enacted violence).
Therefore, we are calling on cities and towns of Western Massachusetts to join cities around the country, unions and non-profit organizations in boycotting Arizona - ending travel to and all business with the state of Arizona and all Arizona-based companies.

Press Conference:
Monday 6/7/2010 10:30 AM

Town Hall Meeting:
Monday 6/7/2010 6:45PM
The Amherst Select Board will be hearing the resolution to Boycott Arizona. Come have your voice heard! We need to have 3 votes from the select board to pass the petition!

Boycott Arizona! Community Knowledge Share and Organizing Meeting:
Tuesday 6/8/2010 5PM
Want to learn more about what's happening in Arizona? Come learn about the bill and support organizing efforts to establish Boycott cities/towns across Western Mass!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Western MA heads to Detroit - Tag Sale Fundraiser

641 West St. (116 S). Amherst MA (map)

Saturday, May 29, 2010 from 8:00am to 2:00pm

Come get your tag sailing done AND support your community to get to the Allied Media Conference (AMC) & the United States Social Forum (USSF).

There will be all sorts of goodies and lemonade!

Come early for the best selection (8 am!)

And, while you're out, head over to the WESTERN MA. SAYS NO TO SB 1070! Rally (12pm - 1pm @ The Northampton City Hall)

((want to donate to the sale? drop your donations off at 641 West St. by Friday 5/28/2010))

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Talib Kweli - Papers Please

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Happy May Day!

Today is May Day! International Workers Day! The Return of Spring!

So, please stay home from work. Eat a feast with good friends. Dance and Sing and make all manner of Merry.

And don't forget to raise a toast to the thousands, the millions, who have gone on before, struggling for freedom & equality in the face of violence & oppression.

Hooray for May Day!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Arizona : Resources for opposing SB 1070

As you know, Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona (the same state that a few years ago denied a holiday for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) just passed SB 1070 -- which permits law enforcement to question people about their citizenship, based on "reasonable suspicion".

As explains: "(the law) will authorize officers to pull over, question, and detain anyone they have a “reasonable suspicion” to believe is in this country without proper documentation. It’s legalized racial profiling, and it’s an affront on all of our civil rights, especially Latinos. It’s completely unacceptable."

We've compiled this list of resources that you can use to oppose this legislation.

Sign the Shame on Arizona Campaign statement:
Presente has drafted a response that you can sign and send to the governor here

Joel Tena put together this fb note including this information:

"In the wake of the recent adoption into law of SB1070 by the State of Arizona today (04.23.2010), one of the most draconian anti-immigration laws ever in the United States, many people have called for a boycott of the State of Arizona, including southwest Arizona Congressman Raúl Grijalva. Personally, I haven't been to Arizona in five years and do not plan on going there any time soon. I created this list to give folks/average consumers outside of Arizona a chance to show their disgust with the passage of this racist legislation by boycotting the following, Arizona-based companies.

Apollo Group (University of Phoenix). Headquarters: Phoenix, Arizona
Cold Stone Creamery. Headquarters: Scottsdale, Arizona
Discount Tire Company. Headquarters: Scottsdale, Arizona
Go Daddy. Headquarters: Scottsdale, Arizona
Mesa Air Group (Mesa Airlines, Go!, Freedom Airlines). Headquarters: Phoenix, Arizona
P. F. Chang's China Bistro. Headquarters: Phoenix, Arizona
PetSmart. Headquarters: Phoenix, Arizona
U-Haul. Headquarters: Phoenix, Arizona
US Airways. Headquarters: Tempe, Arizona

Read more about this bill:

Attend the Smashing Racism Community Dialogue THIS Thursday @ 7pm:
This will be an opportunity for community members to talk about racism as it occurs in our community and on a national level. How does racism impact us and our communities and what can we do to embody active anti-racism more fully in our selves and in our communities? This conversation will be facilitated by tk and Lani Blechman. Hope you can make it. For more info: 413-253-5432.

and now for a short message from Public Enemy:

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

R.I.P. Julie Graham

We are very sorry to note the passing of a dear friend & comrade of many of us here at Food For Thought Books - Julie Graham.

Farewell, Julie. You shall be missed.

Please check out this online memorial for Julie (don't miss the comments section).

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sherman Alexie Wins PEN/Faulkner Award

This week, the PEN/Faulkner Foundation named Sherman Alexie's War Dances the winner of the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. War Dances triumphed over close to 350 novels and short story collections by American authors published in the U.S. during the 2009 calendar year. Submissions came from over 90 publishing houses, including small and academic presses.

Among Alexie's previous honors are a 2007 National Book Award for Young People's Literature, for The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (a staff favorite here at FFT), and the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Alexie and the prize finalists -- Barbara Kingsolver for The Lacuna; Lorraine M. López for Homicide Survivors Picnic, and Other Stories; and Lorrie Moore for A Gate at the Stairs -- will be honored during the 30th anniversary PEN/Faulkner Award Ceremony at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, May 8.

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