Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Battle of Chile - Every Wednesday in February

On September 11, 1973, President Salvador Allende's democratically elected Chilean government was overthrown in a bloody coup led by General Augusto Pinochet. Patricio Guzm√É¡n and five colleagues had been filming the political developments in Chile throughout the nine months leading up to that day. The bombing of the Presidential Palace, in which Allende died, would now become the ending for Guzman's seminal documentary The Battle of Chile (1975-76), an epic chronicle of that country's open and peaceful socialist revolution, and of the violent counter-revolution against it.

Join us every Wednesday in February at 7pm for a different installment of this ground-breaking documentary.
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The Battle of Chile (part 1): The Insurrection of the Bourgeoisie
Wednesday 2/3 at 7pm

The Insurrection of the Bourgeoisie examines the escalation of rightist opposition following the left's unexpected victory in Congressional elections held in March, 1973. Finding that democracy would not stop Allende's socialist policies, the right-wing shifted its tactics from the polls to the streets. The film follows months of activity as a variety of increasingly violent tactics are used by the right to weaken the government and provoke a crisis.

The Battle of Chile (part 2): The Coup d'Etat
Wednesday 2/10 at 7pm

The Coup d'Etat opens with the attempted military coup of June, 1973 which is put down by troops loyal to the government. It serves as a useful dry run, however, for the final showdown, that everyone now realizes is coming. The film shows a left divided over strategy, while the right methodically lays the groundwork for the military seizure of power. The film's dramatic concluding sequence documents the coup d'etat, including Allende's last radio messages to the people of Chile, footage of the military assault on the presidential palace, and that evening's televised presentation of the new military junta.

The Battle of Chile (part 3): The Power to the People
Wednesday 2/17 at 7pm

The Power to the People deals with the creation by ordinary workers and peasants of thousands of local groups of "popular power" to distribute food, occupy, guard and run factories and farms, oppose black market profiteering, and link together neighborhood social service organizations. First these local groups of "popular power" acted as a defense against strikes and lock-outs by factory owners, tradesmen and professional bodies opposed to the Allende government, then increasingly as Soviet-type bodies demanding more resolute action by the government against the right.

Chile, Obstinate Memory
Wednesday 2/24 at 7pm

Hearing only the official version, a generation of young Chileans has grown up with little knowledge of the historical facts surrounding the events of September 11, 1973. Patricio Guzman's landmark film The Battle of Chile (1976) documented the "Popular Unity" period of Allende's government, the tumultuous events leading up to the coup, and Allende's death. But the memory of those times and events, captured so powerfully in The Battle of Chile, was largely barred from the collective consciousness of the Chilean people. Now, Guzman has returned to show The Battle of Chile in his homeland for the first time, and to explore the terrain of the confiscated (but maybe reawakening) memories of the Chilean people.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Teaching About Haiti

Teaching For Change has put together an excellent set of resources for learning and teaching about Haiti - check it out:

All too often in the midst of the reporting on the tragedy in Haiti, we hear that the country is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere without the infrastructure to deal with the disaster. But little explanation is provided as to why, leaving students to assume it must be the fault of the people there.

While students should be encouraged to contribute to relief efforts, it is also important to gain a deeper understanding of the history and the roots of the poverty in Haiti. The US has been involved with Haiti for centuries, yet it has received little attention in textbooks or the curriculum. Part of our commitment to the people of Haiti at this time can be to not only increase our support but also our awareness. As informed citizens, we can advocate for respectful and constructive relations with Haiti in the months and years ahead. ... read more
(Thanks for the tip, Jen C!)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Welcome Students!

It's textbook rush here at Food For Thought Books and we'd like to welcome all the new & returning students back to our little town. Your presence means alot to us and we enjoy the life and energy you bring every semester. Please feel free to visit. We have very comfy couches, so don't be shy. Good luck with your studies and have fun!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Some thoughts on war from Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam"

and check out this great cut from James Whetzel: a mix of "I Have a Dream" with tabla (courtesy of the mighty Jessamyn)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Know Justice. Know Peace. No Racist Police.

The latest police brutality incident that happened in Springfield involving Officer Asher is one of my greatest mama-fears manifested. Officer Asher has been involved in multiple (4 reported) police brutality incidents while on duty for the Springfield police department. His role in these incidents represents a legacy of abuse by police officers towards civilians and is not isolated but a repetitive historic pattern that perpetuates centuries of violence against all people and in greatest proportions against poor people, people of color, women, queer and transfolks. This means that the very populations whose access to resources are systematically limited are placed in disenfranchised and powerless positions. Further more, they are left to deal with institutionally protected violence perpetuated by the police and other agents of power, and then blamed for the violence that occurs in their own communities.

Just as we see the impact of patriarchy and misogyny as harmful to both males and females, and as we see racism's impact on both people of color and white folks, we must recognize the historical impact of police brutality on both systemic and individual levels.

In Springfield (and in our nation at large), the legacy and impact of systemically perpetuated violence is well known. In Springfield, the lack of response by the Springfield police department to Asher’s (and other officers) continued acts of violence, has sent the message that police brutality is permissible, accepted and (frequently) rewarded. See this Masslive article for more information.

With this in mind, it is time for the Springfield city council, police department, DA’s office and larger government to join us in demanding an immediate end to police brutality. This latest attack is one much larger than Officer Asher, it is an issue of a police force that must begin to re-assess it’s own values as demonstrated through its actions. If steps are not taken to shift the entire policing culture of Springfield they will surely continue down the generational path of perpetuated violence on which they have been walking. Excusing the blatant dangerous and life-threatening actions of Officer Asher by accusing the victim of this incident of his own wrongdoing is simply an excuse to remove accountability from the police force. Firing Asher is a necessary FIRST (immediate) step. However, it is time for the force re-examine its ongoing pattern of violence and implement re-training of officers and stricter, tougher rules that speak to a “no-tolerance” anti-police brutality rule.

As the mother I have many fears about what my children will have to confront in this society. We deserve safe streets and healthy communities for our children. As organizers, community members, mamaz, healthcare providers, we work to create healthier communities. We cannot condone violence in our communities. It is in direct opposition to our stated values of creating healthier and safer communities. What good does community mobilization around ANY topic do when we are constant targets of power-hungry, violent police forces? We must demand that police brutality be STOPPED immediately. This pattern must cease in order for us to take any steps forward. This is not the first incident of its kind and, unfortunately, it won't be the last. What forms of accountability will we set in place to ensure that we no longer live under this blatantly brutal stronghold that the Springfield police department and other police departments throught the nation maintain?

As an ally from a neighboring community I believe that the Springfield organizers who have been organizing around issues of incarceration, police brutality and other important equity-based topics will have a lot of direction to offer in addressing how to proceed.

Food for Thought Books Collective will be supporting these organizing efforts. Please join us for a STAND OUT AGAINST POLICE BRUTALITY this Saturday January 16, 2010. 11am-12pm @ the Mason Square Common in Springfield MA.

It is imperative that we continue to build solidarity between our communities and recognize that our well-being is intrinsically connected to the well-being of others. We much reach out to our neighboring "urban" communities not only when we need or want something from them but also when they need support from us. ESPECIALLY in response to a call to create healthier and safer communities for all.

Hope to see you in the near future.

- tk

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Northampton Neighbors Relief Fundraiser

As some of you may know, the Northampton community was impacted by a string of arsons during the holiday season, which took the lives of two community members and impacted a series of homes and vehicles.

In solidarity with our community members Food For Thought Books Collective will be contributing 10% of its daily proceeds on Saturday January 9, 2010 to the Northampton Neighbors Relief Fund.

Please support this full day of fundraising by shopping for your media needs at Food For Thought Books THIS Saturday.

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