May 2021 (Howie)

The Global Police State

William I Robinson

As the world becomes ever more unequal, people become ever more ‘disposable’. Today, governments systematically exclude sections of their populations from society though heavy-handed policing. But it doesn’t always go to plan. William I. Robinson exposes the nature and dynamics of this out-of-control system, arguing for the urgency of creating a movement capable of overthrowing it.

The global police state uses a variety of ingenious methods of control, including mass incarceration, police violence, US-led wars, the persecution of immigrants and refugees, and the repression of environmental activists. Movements have emerged to combat the increasing militarisation, surveillance and social cleansing; however many of them appeal to a moral sense of social justice rather than addressing its root – global capitalism.

Using shocking data which reveals how far capitalism has become a system of repression, Robinson argues that the emerging megacities of the world are becoming the battlegrounds where the excluded and the oppressed face off against the global police state.

People’s Republic of Walmart

by Leigh Phillips and Michal Rozworski

Since the demise of the USSR, the mantle of the largest planned economies in the world has been taken up by the likes of Walmart, Amazon and other multinational corporations

For the left and the right, major multinational companies are held up as the ultimate expressions of free-market capitalism. Their remarkable success appears to vindicate the old idea that modern society is too complex to be subjected to a plan. And yet, as Leigh Phillips and Michal Rozworski argue, much of the economy of the West is centrally planned at present. Not only is planning on vast scales possible, we already have it and it works. The real question is whether planning can be democratic. Can it be transformed to work for us?

An engaging, polemical romp through economic theory, computational complexity, and the history of planning, The People’s Republic of Walmart revives the conversation about how society can extend democratic decision-making to all economic matters. With the advances in information technology in recent decades and the emergence of globe-straddling collective enterprises, democratic planning in the interest of all humanity is more important and closer to attainment than ever before.

June 2021 (Angela)

The Queens’ English

by Chloe O. Davis

The Queens’ English, The LGBTQIA+ Dictionary of Lingo and Colloquial Phrases  celebrates the etymological diversity of over eight hundred terms used to describe our collective gay and queer experience. It is an epic journey of understanding identity, sexuality, gender, equality, humor, community and PRIDE! This dictionary officially houses the language of the lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, two-spirit, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, nonbinary, gender nonconforming, and non-heteronormative —Commonly abbreviated as LGBTQIA+ — communities in the United States of America.

The Queens’ English is a resource for terminology and colloquial phrases with modern definitions, real life usage examples, synonyms, important usage notes, and supporting background information to further enhance the understanding of each term. Interstitial how-tos and history lessons about trailblazing people, places, and events that have impacted the language within the LGBTQIA+ community are included throughout.

Wayward Lives Beautiful Experiments

by Saidiya Hartman

Beautifully written and deeply researched, Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments examines the revolution of black intimate life that unfolded in Philadelphia and New York at the beginning of the twentieth century. In wrestling with the question of what a free life is, many young black women created forms of intimacy and kinship indifferent to the dictates of respectability and outside the bounds of law. They cleaved to and cast off lovers, exchanged sex to subsist, and revised the meaning of marriage. Longing and desire fueled their experiments in how to live. They refused to labor like slaves or to accept degrading conditions of work. Here, for the first time, these women are credited with shaping a cultural movement that transformed the urban landscape. Through a melding of history and literary imagination, Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments recovers these women’s radical aspirations and insurgent desires.