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Review

Rethinking Disaster Capitalism in the Age of Coronavirus

Ralph Bivins, Houston 2020: America’s Boom Town – An Extreme Close Up. Fifth Estate Media, 2018. 160 pp. Review by Seth Uzman Naomi Klein thinks the coronavirus pandemic is another example of disaster capitalism. The concept she pioneered has become enormously influential – even shorthand – for how the Left thinks about moments like our own. The […]

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Review

Towards a People’s History of Texas

Texas Labor History, ed. Bruse A. Glasrud and James C. Maroney. Texas A & M University Press, 2013.  448 pp. Review by Snehal Shingavi Each time an activist movement breaks out in Texas—think for example of the War on Texas Women protests in 2013 or the large protests around the Black Lives Matter movement—the commonsense attitude […]

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Review

Keeping Austin Cleared

The Green New Deal’s (GND) growing popularity presents a potential sea-change for popular movements in the US. A growing audience for a public and sustainable reorganization of everyday life offers plenty of oxygen for left-wing ideas. But because who gets what, why and how will be decisive either publicly or behind closed doors, understanding how these questions are being answered today is essential if we want to fight for meaningful change. Eliot Tretter’s Shadows of a Sunbelt City: The Environment, Racism and the Knowledge Economy in Austin is a model for future research into these problems in Texas. Bearing the reputation of an environmentally conscious, liberal stronghold, Austin today is not only among the least affordable cities in the US but also among the most racially segregated. The novel leaders and political blocs that Tretter uncovers behind Austin’s knowledge economy are ones that movements in Austin and elsewhere will have to identify and disarm, to win the GND and challenge the ruling class. {…}

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Review

The Ethnic Cleansing of Texas

Before today’s concentration camp in McAllen, TX, there was the one in Crystal City during the Second World War for interred Japanese and German families. Both were established in South Texas cities on or near the U.S. Mexico border. Monica Martinez’ recent book, The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas, is in many ways about how these cities along the Rio Grande became a magnet for state terror. The history of the Texas-Mexico border reads like the history of a death-squad. {…}

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Review

Resources of Reaction: Houston’s Deferred Desegregation

That the urgent demand for reparations is conquering ground in the US (e.g. the DSA) and around the world (e.g. the Youth Climate Strike, Extinction Rebellion) suggests immense possibilities for the struggles before us. That it’s found a home in the rhetoric of politicians is both a testament to these advances as well as reason to reflect on the meaning and sources of fundamental change. Thinking backwards from reparations, the struggle for desegregation is singularly useful for exploring these questions. {…}

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Review

School Takeovers as the “New” Redistricting

This book first came to my attention at a community meeting in Houston on December 3rd, 2019. The event’s host, the Houston Federation of Teachers (HFT), convened the gathering to organize grassroots resistance against the impending state takeover of the Houston Independent School District (HISD). Addressing a packed union hall of nearly 150 parents, teachers and staff, Domingo Morel participated in the meeting over webcam, sharing insights from his book, Takeover: Race, Education, and American Democracy. {…}

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Review

The Endless Paternalism of the Failed Texas Liberal

Lawrence Wright can write. He can write well. God Save Texas is an elegantly crafted book with so much attention to granular details often overlooked in the memory of Texas. The book is stunning and well worth a read. But there is a problem with the book and this bears underlining because it is bound to be a recurring theme in the upcoming election cycle. {…}