Thomas Powers’ book, The Killing of Crazy Horse, details the actions of the Sioux leaders who dealt the US military one of its most renowned defeats by an indigenous group at Little Bighorn, but ultimately led to the Sioux being forced off their lands. While Powers goes into great detail about the specifics of who did what, where and when, it is worth taking a step back and reflecting on why the Sioux lost the war in 1876-7 and were forced to accept removal 200 miles to the south in Missouri.
It is with a sense of frustration and loss of faith that I watched John Edwards get knocked out of the US primaries. He predicated his campaign on three main points: 1. America needs universal health care, 2. America needs to end free trade agreements which hurt American workers, 3. The Democratic Party should represent the “working class”, rather than being in the pocket of corporations and the wealthy. I didn’t see eye to eye with Edwards when it came to foreign policy, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military budget, the environment and a whole host of other issues, but he was breath of fresh air compared to all the other Democratic candidates who carefully crafted their campaigns to woe the big funders (aside from Dennis Kusinich who never had a chance). It was invigorating to hear a candidate who stated openly that he represented the “working class” Americans who hadn’t benefited from a rising stockmarket and the outsourcing of their jobs abroad.
I have several shelves full of edifying books gathering dust in my apartment. I tell myself that I should read that latest book on Andean linguistics or Latin American social movements, but they languish sadly unread. I fully expected Naomi Klein’s latest book to similarly become a accumulator of dust in my apartment, with a title like “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.” Books analyzing 3 decades of capitalism are generally pretty low on my list of favorite reading, so it was with some surprise when I finally cracked Klein’s book. Since I was killing time on a Saturday afternoon, I didn’t expect to make it through more than a dozen pages. Instead, I didn’t put Klein’s book down for the next 48 hours, eagerly flipping page after page. I stayed up till the wee hours of the night, reluctant to put the book down even to sleep. Continue reading