What We’ve Been Up To

I recently got to write a post for Dusted Magazine‘s Listed series about ten records & books I’m fond of.  It’s not a Top 10 of All Time, for reasons stated in the opener, more like what I wanted to write about on that occasion:

  1. Art Melody, Kari Ka Kian Fô
  2. Baaba Maal & Mansour Seck, Muudo Hormo
  3. Susumu Yakota, Sakura
  4. Else Marie Pade, Faust
  5. Jacob Kirkegaard, Erdfjall
  6. Hossein Alizadeh, Hamnava’i
  7. Kayhan Kalhor, Scattering Stars Like Dust
  8. Gary Stewart, Rumba on the River (book) / Franco & l’Orchestre OK Jazz, Mobembo Mabe Boye
  9. Michael Denning, Noise Uprising (book) / Secret Museum of Mankind, Vol. 1
  10. Michael Hudson, Global Fracture (book) / Tony Allen, An Autobiography of the Master of Afrobeat (book) / Fela Kuti, I.T.T. & Zombie

You can find links for all of these things and read my comments about them here.

Also in print:

Jacobin Magazine recently wrote an article about Organize2020, the progressive caucus of the North Carolina Association of Educators I work with, especially Wake County’s Kristin Beller.  Kristin BellerIt contains quotes from several of my favorite people here in the Tar Heel State.  You can check it out on the Jacobin Blog here, under the title Getting The Common Goods.  It might be behind a paywall, but I would really recommend subscribing to Jacobin if you haven’t already.  It includes the usual kind of shock statistics, such as…

“In North Carolina public school history books, George W. Bush is still president. Since the Republican takeover of the General Assembly in 2010, textbook funding has been cut from $73 million to $4 million, according to Beller. The corporate tax rate was reduced to the lowest in the country.”

But what I really like about it is how the article takes this tack:

“From the outside, it looked like the latest spontaneous domino in the wave of teacher strikes this spring. But it was actually the result of years of grassroots organizing, leadership development, and patient base-building.”

That’s what we see on the ground here – that, and disengagement from people who don’t have the patience for the real base building.  Days like May 16th get most of the attention, but what organizing mostly looks like is more mundane things, like one-on-one conversations with teachers who may be interested in joining the union but are hard up for cash, scanning bank statements for a bookkeeper helping us with our 990-EZ tax form, (which is not EZ 2 DU at all) or sending out a poll to try and schedule a meeting.  At the conclusion of our one day strike on May 16th, Todd and Valerie Warren, who are quoted in the article, reflected on all the work they had put in over the past 20 years to organize teachers in this very anti-union state, and doubts they had along the way about the effect this time commitment has had on raising their kids.  I’m thankful for the foundations they and others laid that we are now building on.  & I’ve seen their kids at quite a few of our events and they look to be thriving. ;  )

Gonna go edit some drum tracks now.  I didn’t quite hit my goal of finishing our new album this summer but got close enough that we should be able to polish it off on days off I have from work over the next month or 2.



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