Friday, February 19, 2010

The Tools of the Trade

These were collected during an afternoon at the Millenium Library. The purpose of reading these tomes is to educate myself in both the practical and philosophical aspects of activism. Of course, I'm not restricting myself to a purely textual second-hand eductation. My current activities will be discussed in a forthcoming post.

1. We Are Everywhere: The Irresistible Rise of Global Anticapitalism - Notes from Nowhere

2. An Action a Day: Keeps Global Capitalism Away - Mike Hudema

3. Enough is Enough: The Hellraiser's Guide to Community Activism - Diane MacEachem

4. Activism!: Direct Action, Hacktivism and the Future of Society - Tim Jordan

5. Be the Difference: A Beginner's Guide to Changing the World - Danny Seo

6. Ideas for Action: Relevant Theory for Radical Change - Cynthia Kaufman

7. The Art of the Possible: A Handbook for Political Activism - Amanda Sussman

8. Adbusters (3 Year Subscription, Black Spot boots and +10 to my hipster cred)


  1. Interesting stack of books you've got there. Some thoughts:

    I used to read Adbusters when I was a teenager but later came to feel that, while looking really cool, it lacked substance (It's been awhile since I read it so maybe it's changed). I always found the idea behind the Black Spot shoes kind of ridiculous. Not the fair-trade part (which is admirable) but the idea that it would somehow turn capitalism on its head. They were attempting to "uncool" Nike, failing to realize that other firms (Adidas, Reebok, Vans, etc.) have been doing this for years; this is market competition, plain and simple. What Adbusters is doing, in effect, is actually capitalism in the purest sense. There's obviously money to be made in appealing to people's counter-cultural sensibilities, not that I'm suggesting that the Adbusters people are insidiously trying to trick people into buying their products (I'm sure they mean well), just that their ideas are flawed.

    (Note: these are not my original ideas. They're from a really interesting book called "The Rebel Sell: Why The Culture Can't Be Jammed by Joseph Heath & Andrew Potter")

    I was never able to get into activism very much. Not to say I'm apathetic, but I never felt it was worth the effort to go out and protest (or whatever). There's also the fact that, being a white, middle-class male, I haven't experienced too much social injustice. Mostly I've felt that while it was easy to change myself, the task of changing other people's minds seemed an insurmountable challenge. Perhaps I've become too cynical about the ability of people to effect change in institutions (probably watch The Wire too much ;).

    Anyways good on you for trying to live out your convictions. I look forward to reading more about your endeavours (and maybe, just maybe I'll be inspired to break out of my warm cocoon of complacency and take action....or maybe I'll just go and watch American Idol ;).


    P.S. Apologies for the wall o' text!

  2. I don't think that Adbusters lacks substance, but I'm not exactly sure what you mean by that phrase. Read a recent issue and let me know if you think it still lacks substance and then we'll have a conversation. I enjoy reading it because I find it to be intellectually and emotionally satisfying, humorous, enlightening and it gives me a little boost to cure any symptoms of apathy.

    I don't buy into the idea that Adbusters is doing anything that will put a dent in Nike's profits. I bought Black Spot boots because they are the most ethically produced footwear I could find. I have to wear shoes and I can't make them myself. Therefore, the question is which shoe company does the least harm to the environment and society. I believe the answer is Adbusters. If you find a better option, let me know.