Post-9/11 Anthology Released
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Shortly after September 11th, a group of young activists found themselves wondering about how to widen the conversations they'd been having. They talked about how they were getting through a time that felt cluttered with conservative, simplistic messages, capitalist jargon and the kind of black and white "patriotism" that insists you keep your opinions to yourself. Many of them were reading alternative news sources and subscribing to activist listserves. Most had been sharing stories, attending rallies, connecting with people in their own communities as a way to stay sane. But they wanted to expand their conversations and let more people listen in.
Then someone had an idea. Why not try to publish some of what they were reading in an anthology and invite voices from around the country?
And three months later, here it is. Edited by six twentysomethings, "Another World is Possible, New World Disorder" is meant to be a way to "reflect on how the crisis has impacted our lives, explore the roots of anti-American terrorism, and offer concrete solutions for preventing future atrocities."
Hailing from different parts of the U.S., the editors (Some of whom are involved with New York's Active Element Foundation are a cross section of today's young activism. Their previous work spans the gamut: from hip-hop activism to environmental work to organizing around political prisoners. And their involvement in a project like "Another World is Possible" may just be an example of one of this dark cloud's most important silver linings. It illustrate the fact that young critical thinkers everywhere are joining forces.
Like other books that have cropped up this year in response to September 11th, such as the soon-to-be--released AlterNet book, "After 9/11: Solutions for a Saner World," "Another World" includes work by a variety of writers and thinkers, from Angela Davis to Boots Riley from the Coup. The book is put together like a conversation and moves through emotional responses to analysis, and hopeful visioning for the future. "We tried to make the book accessible to everyone" said editor and activist Walidah Imarisha, in a recent interview. But, she says, "When it comes down to it, people of color are going to be the most effected by this. They will be the ones that bear the brunt of the cut backs, the restrictions. They'll be the ones who lose their jobs." Walidah says she wants the book to get into the hands of those who are outside of traditional activists circles and "just everyday folks."
One of the most unique aspects of the book comes in the form of a an email conversation between editor Jeremy Glick and activist Jee Kim. Between articles, the reader is let in to the conversation between Glick, who lost his father in the World Trade Center attacks and Kim who offers up support and commentary. Over the course of the anthology, these tidbits are refreshing in their casual, conversational tone and allow the reader to feel as they have been let in on a frank, sometimes intimate conversation between friends, such as:
From: Jeremy Glick
To: Jee Kim
Subject: Re: good and bad
thanks brother--you know i value all the support i've gotten the most from my peeps--in music in revolution my dad is not making it, we don't have a body yet and needless to say its been a nightmare. my mom has been through hell and its not ending any time soon. you guys have held me down and helped me when the american media and patriotism has only made me sick and convulse--to know that american imperialism is as we speak pimping my father's death and others to rationalize the impending slaughter adds a whole other layer of disgust and dread to this very difficult situation. the ONLY thing that has been keeping me up and treading water for my mom is to know that folk like you. i can not even begin to express how important that has been for me. thanks jee for having my back. see you soon kid.
The correspondence was chosen, Walida explains, as a counterbalance to some of the book's harder political analysis. "We have to talk about the politics," she says " but there's also the human factor that is very tied up in what has happened [since 9/11] and we thought it was important to balance the two in the book."
Active Element has also made the books available to non profit organizations as fundraising tools. (they offer copies of the book to organizations for one dollar each and allow them to sell them at a retail price of $12.00 each.)
The first edition was printed in an edition of only 10,000, many of which have already sold through their webpage and through the distributor/publisher New Mouth From the Dirty South. Walidah says that she and the other editors have also been carrying copies to hand out on the streets and in subway stations in their home communities.
Are you worried about getting your own copy before they sell out? Never fear, a second edition is on its way. As is a companion video produced by Paper Tiger TV and Big Noise Films and a hip-hop album featuring the Coup and Dead Prez (available from Freedom Fighter Music March 15, 2002).