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Melanie Harris | Kozol on C-SPAN | SUNDAY SEPT 6

 

C-SPAN (BOOKNOTES, WHICH RUNS ON C-SPAN TWO) IS DOING A 3-HOUR SPECIAL ON JONATHAN KOZOL’S ENTIRE CAREER STARTING AT NOON EASTERN TIME THIS SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 6, THE DAY AFTER JONATHAN’S BIRTHDAY. IT’S A VIEWER CALL-IN PROGRAM AND WILL REACH OVER A MILLION PEOPLE.

KozolKozol will be there in the C-SPAN studio to answer questions callers throw at him, and I expect many of the callers are going to be vicious right-wing types who despise everything he stands for. It would be great if teachers, former students, educators, and just plain friends who know what Jonathan is like and how hard and long he’s worked for kids like he ones he’s described in the South Bronx and Boston, feel like calling-in to give him some support. I’m sure Jonathan will be questioned about Shame of the Nation, Amazing Grace, Letters to a Young Teacher, and his other books and all the issues they raise about unequal, segregated schools, NCLB, corporate privatizers, the testing mania, etc.

He’ll be speaking out on behalf of all those idealistic and terrific teachers who write to us and tell us that they feel that everything they value (and the public system as a whole) is under withering attack. Knowing his views on charter schools (the kind that are run by private groups, especially for profit), I assume he’ll have to disagree with President Obama if this comes up. It probably will. Perhaps, even if you can’t call in, you’ll spread the word, by website or other means, to as many good folks as you can.

THIS SUNDAY, C-SPAN TWO, STARTS AT NOON E.S.T. (11 A.M. CHICAGO, 9 A.M. LOS ANGELES.)

 
Melanie Harris
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Robert Franklin Williams | LET IT BURN – The Coming Destruction of the USA?

 Robert Williams Radio Free DixieRobert Franklin Williams (February 26, 1925 – October 15, 1996), advocate of armed self-defense in the Civil Rights Movement, hunted by the FBI since fleeing Monroe, North Carolina in 1961, after years in exile in Cuba and China, is interviewed by Robert Carl Cohen in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania in 1968. 

Black CrusaderBLACK CRUSADER – 2008 Illustrated Edition, (498 Pages, B&W Photos, is now available from www.radfilms.com).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_F._Williams

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Eric Hobsbawm | C (for Crisis)

London Review of Books

C (for Crisis)

Eric Hobsbawm

The Morbid Age: Britain between the Wars by Richard Overy

 

There is a major difference between the traditional scholar’s questions about the past – ‘What happened in history, when and why?’ – and the question that has, in the last 40 years or so, come to inspire a growing body of historical research: namely, ‘How do or did people feel about it?’ The first oral history societies were founded in the late 1960s. Since then the number of institutions and works devoted to ‘heritage’ and historical memory – notably about the great 20th-century wars – has grown explosively. Studies of historical memory are essentially not about the past, but about the retrospect to it of some subsequent present. Richard Overy’s The Morbid Age demonstrates another, and less indirect, approach to the emotional texture of the past: the difficult excavation of contemporary popular reactions to what was happening in and around people’s lives – one might call it the mood music of history.

Though this type of research is fascinating, especially when done with Overy’s inquisitiveness and surprised erudition, it presents the historian with considerable problems. What does it mean to describe an emotion as characteristic of a country or era; what is the significance of a socially widespread emotion, even one plainly related to dramatic historical events? How and how far do we measure its prevalence? Polling, the current mechanism for such measurement, was not available before c.1938. In any case, such emotions – the extremely widespread dislike of Jews in the West, for instance – were obviously not felt or acted on in the same way by, say, Adolf Hitler and Virginia Woolf. Emotions in history are neither chronologically stable nor socially homogeneous, even in the moments when they are universally felt, as in London under the German air-raids, and their intellectual representations even less so. How can they be compared or contrasted? In short, what are historians to make of the new field?

The specific mood Overy looks into is the sense of crisis and fear, ‘a presentiment of impending disaster’, the prospect of the end of civilisation, that, in his view, characterised Britain between the wars. There is nothing specifically British or 20th-century about such a mood. Indeed, in the last millennium it would be hard to point to a time, at least in the Christian world, when it found no significant expression, often in the apocalyptic idiom constructed for the purpose and explored in Norman Cohn’s works. (Aldous Huxley, in Overy’s quotation, sees ‘Belial’s guiding hand’ in modern history.) There are good reasons in European history why the sense that ‘we’ – however defined – feel under threat from outside enemies or inner demons is not exceptional.

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