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Uses of a Whirlwind is at the printers!

By kate | May 20, 2010

WhirlwindsJust like the subject line says: we’re pleased to announce that we’ve just sent another book off to the printers—Uses of a Whirlwind: Movement, Movements, and Contemporary Radical Currents in the United States. Actually, more than pleased. Ecstatic? Thrilled? Relieved? I’ve been stoked about this book since I first heard that Team Colors Collective was thinking about taking their 2008 online collection In the Middle of a Whirlwind (published in e-format by the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest Press) and updating it with an eye towards print publication. It’s been an interesting and exciting ride working with Craig, Kevin, and Stevie from Team Colors to bring this book to life, thanks in no small part to the fact that we’ve been working under an intense deadline for the past six months: get the book out in time for the second United States Social Forum, taking place this June 22-26 in Detroit. Together, with the help of the amazingly patient authors included in the collection, as well as friends and family, we managed to cram a year’s worth of work editing & updating the book, going through multiple cover revisions, and getting the book into a final layout, into half the usual amount of time … and the book will, indeed, launch at the US Social Forum as planned!

Whirlwinds is an interesting and timely project. Originally conceived in 2008 as an intervention into the discourse around movement organizing against the Republican and Democratic National Conventions in the Twin Cities and Denver (respectively), what emerged from the project’s first incarnation was an overview of the myriad voices speaking out for social justice and the radical transformation of society in the United States. For the second version of the project, the edited collection that will find its way into thousands of hands this June at the Social Forum and beyond, Team Colors really submerged themselves in the feedback received for the first collection, thought about the critiques and criticism, looked for holes, for possible productive encounters, unlikely alliances, and representative stories of social movements in the United States. Orienting these stories around the idea of winds—of change, of resistance, of activity, and more—Team Colors aimed to evoke common understandings of radical community organizing, movement building, and the impetus and inspiration toward making a revolution possible.

The essays collected in Uses of a Whirlwind come from very different places: farms, forests, bookstores, streets and street corners, homes, corporate chains. Their authors organize in very different ways: art and media, mapping and research, theory and discussion, popular education, and road blockades. Yet they are all moved by the same desire: to create new worlds and new ways of being, and demanding nothing less. As Team Colors says, we are in the middle of a whirlwind of struggle and opportunities for fundamental change abound; it’s just a question of how we use them.

Whirlwinds includes contributions from Malav Kanuga (Bluestockings Books & Activism Center), Direct Action to Stop the War, Roadblock Earth First!, Starbucks Workers Union, Marina Karides (United States Social Forum), Student/Farmworker Alliance, City Life/Vida Urbana, Picture the Homeless, Take Back the Land, United Workers, Harmony Goldberg (Domestic Workers United & Right to the City Alliance), Basav Sen, John Peck (Family Farm Defenders), Brian Tokar, Benjamin Shepard, Julie Perini, Dorothy Kidd, Daniel Tucker (AREA Chicago), Maribel Casas-Cortes & Sebastian Cobarrubias, Brian Marks, Michael Hardt & El Kilomobo Intergaláctico, George Caffentzis, Silvia Federici, Peter Linebaugh, & Chris Carlsson.

It also includes interviews with Robin D.G. Kelley, Ashanti Omowali Alston, and Grace Lee Boggs. The Foreword is by Marc Herbst of the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest Press. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Andrej Grubacic provided a fantastic Preface, and Team Colors, themselves, wrote an excellent Introduction to contextualize the project as a whole. The book is tied together with the visual magic of three wonderful artists: Josh MacPhee (who designed the cover), Margaret Killjoy (who designed the interior), and Kristine Virsis (whose wasp-and-orchid drawings grace both the cover and interior of the book).

It’s available for preorder now, at a rockin’ 25% discount on the AK Press site (and on Amazon, but they’re evil). And, be sure to check out the website that Team Colors have created for the book, where you’ll find the full Table of Contents, and information about the massive nationwide tour planned for the Fall. We’ll post more information on that here as well, as time goes on.

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