Friday, September 14, 2012

Feminist Library in danger of closing

While doing some advance research for an upcoming project in a library school class, I happened to do a Web search on "feminist library." This is how I discovered The Feminist Library in London, which
is a large archive collection of Women’s Liberation Movement literature, particularly second-wave materials dating from the late 1960s to the 1990s. We support research, activist and community projects in this field.
That's the good news. The bad news is, due to local government cutbacks and a privatization effort, it's in danger of closing.

Activist efforts are underway to save the library. You can read about these on the Save the Women's Library blog and on the library's Facebook page.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Real change is a do-it-ourselves project

So notes Alan Minsky in his excellent analysis of the Democratic and Republican national conventions, posted over on Truthdig.

Minsky notes that leaders of the Democratic party don't live up to the faith placed in them by Democratic party nationalists:
In 1999 Bill Clinton, under the guidance of Summers and Rubin, signed legislation eliminating the Glass-Steagall Act, perhaps the most important piece of financial industry regulation in American history. This move is widely seen as paving the way for the financial collapse of 2007-08 that sparked the current Great Recession.

Wednesday night at the Democratic convention, Clinton said the Republicans want “to get rid of those pesky financial regulations designed to prevent another crash and prohibit future bailouts.”

Furthermore, while the Democrats decry Paul Ryan and his embrace of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, they have forgotten to mention that during the Clinton years, Rubin was “joined at the hip” (according to former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt Jr.) with die-hard Randite and Republican darling Alan Greenspan, working together to block oversight of toxic financial derivatives.

Would the rank-and-file Democrats—defenders of the middle class, lovers of Bill and Barack, kept in the dark about the minutiae of economic policy—ever have supported these policies that boosted the 1 percent at the expense of the 99 percent? If not, that’s some serious betrayal.
Voting for the Democrats can be an understandable strategy in a swing state, Minsky says, but it won't lead to the economic, social, and political transformation of this society that the vast majority of us need:
The kindheartedness and generosity of spirit I found in Charlotte are inspiring, but if these people’s political activity still revolves around Obama, aren’t they missing the bigger, more important picture? Sure, but when there’s no other game in town, ameliorating the system so it causes less damage is not something that should be entirely dismissed. Would I vote for someone other than Obama in a swing state? I live in California so it’s not an issue, but I know come early November if I were faced with a choice between the only two candidates who could win and they were in a neck-and-neck race, I’d vote for the less reactionary one. But I’d never lose sight of the fact that the two main political parties are too far down a path to address the nation’s problems in the way they must be addressed. This is not to say we’ve lost hope, not if we recall that the major political parties have never really been the vehicles for progressive change. The New Deal, the Great Society, hell, even the right to vote in this Godforsaken political system were won not by politicians and their big-money backers, but by tremendous social movements that rocked the world. We need hope and change; it’s up to us to produce them.
Minsky's post is fairly long, but well worth reading in its entirety.