call for submissions LETTERS FROM YOUNG ACTIVISTS (book)
- To: xdbergerx@...
From: "dan berger" <XdbergerX@...>
Date: Wed, 3 Nov 2004 17:11:16 GMT
Subject: [FLorida_A] call for submissions LETTERS FROM YOUNG ACTIVISTS (book)
This is a call for submissions for an edited anthology working title is
"Letters from Young Activists: Globalization Memoirs and Youth Visions for
Change." The book is being produced under contract with The Nation Books
Company. Our deadline is in the Spring of 2005. If you want to be included
in the book, we will need a draft of your submission ***no later December
1st, 2004.*** If you would like to contribute, please RSVP with your letter
topic, and a brief biography mentioning who you are (please include your
age, how you identify, and some of the political work you've been involved
with), and the letter(s) you wish to write. Submission details are below.
The idea behind the book is two-fold. Young folks are always at the
forefront of social movements, and our experiences with the global justice,
anti-war, and anti-prison movements of the past ten years, as well as
countless other movements, are instructive. Second, mainstream liberals in
politics and academia alike continue to marginalize activists and radical
movements, suggesting that we join the Democratic Party en masse rather
than challenge the fundamental forms of oppression so pervasive in our
country and abroad. This seemingly benevolent charge is coupled with more
overt hostility from mainstream media-and often our families-who categorize
our activism as "unfocused," "irresponsible," or "just a phase."
This is your chance to present a radical alternative vision for social
change and about what it means to be an activist. Share your experiences,
your strategies, your energy with previous generations, with other young
activists, and with future generations. This book will serve as both an
educational tool for activists and will also challenge the dominant
paradigms about previous and current movements. We are looking for
submissions on a wide range of topics, from people with diverse experiences
and backgrounds coming from any and all fields of progressive activism.
Below you will find the working outline for the book, a brief description
of the outline, and brief bios of the editors, Dan Berger, Chesa Boudin,
and Kenyon Farrow. Although all three of the editors are male, we are doing
our utmost to ensure a wide range of perspectives are represented in this
project. To that end, we have enlisted the guidance of an all women of
color advisory board to help guide the editing process. If you have
questions about any of this material, the process itself, or a specific
letter you would like to write, please contact us at the email address
provided below. Once we receive your RSVP to contribute, you will receive
detailed information about the editing process so that you know what to
expect as you move forward in drafting your letter. Due to space
limitations we may not be able to accept every letter that is submitted to
the anthology. Due to funding limitations we are unable to pay authors for
their contributions, but this is a wonderful opportunity to get your work
published, your voice heard, and to contribute to building a movement.
Our goal is to produce a book that is actually a collection of letters,
rather than an assortment of essays with "dear" and "love" attached to the
beginning and end. What attracts us about the idea of a book of letters is
the authenticity and openness that comes only with the letter format.
Please keep this formatting issue in mind when producing your submission.
It may help to write it as a letter to a particular individual(s) when
writing a draft, and then broadening it accordingly.
If you are interested in contributing, please email us at
activistletters@... to let us know. Once you have drafted your
letter(s) please submit it to the same email address. Please do not
volunteer for more than one individually authored letter, or two
co-authored letters. Each letter should be between 1,000 and 4,000 words
(approximately three to fifteen pages, double spaced). If you know of
anyone else who would be interested, please let us know. Please contact us
if you have any questions or comments. We look forward to hearing from you.
In peace and struggle,
Dan, Chesa, Kenyon
Dan Berger (11/29/81) has been involved in movements for social justice
since the age of 14. He served as editor for two and a half years of
ONWARD, an internationally distributed quarterly anarchist newspaper that
emerged out of the global justice movement. He has also been involved with
anti-racist, anti-sexist, and prison abolition activism, and is the author
of a forthcoming book on the Weather Underground. He lives in Philadelphia.
Chesa Boudin (8/21/80) recently graduated Summa Cum Laude from Yale
University, with honors in the History department and is a member of Phi
Beta Kappa. A peace activist and a criminal justice activist, Chesa has
used writing, campus and community organizing, and public speaking to
advocate urgently needed changes in public and foreign policy. Chesa has
also participated in a range of community service projects including
protecting nature reserves in rural Guatemala, constructing houses in
Chile, and volunteer interpreting for Spanish-only speakers at Yale-New
Haven hospital. He is currently on leave from Oxford University where he
studies on a Rhodes Scholarship.
Kenyon Farrow (11/13/74) recently ended his tenure as the Southern Region
Coordinator for Critical Resistance, a national organization dedicated to
ending the prison industrial complex by grassroots organizing, and is
currently working as an organizer in the NYC chapter of Critical
Resistance. He has also worked as an adult ally with queer youth of color
in NYC with the Fabulous, Independent, and Educated Radicals for Community
Empowerment (FIERCE!) around gentrification and the displacement of queer
youth of color by police surveillance and harassment. In addition to
writing and public speaking, Kenyon's work in the movement has been
training in the areas of anti-oppression (racism &
heterosexism/homophobia), HIV/STI, prisons and policing issues, and
training other trainers.
Outline: Letters From Young Activists
Edited by: Dan Berger, Chesa Boudin, Kenyon Farrow
Introduction Letters to the reader
An introductory essay written by the editors on how and why this book was
Section I Past: Letters to the previous generations
Ch. 1 Letters to our parents
Many of us come from families that are less than supportive of our
activism; parents often think we can't be successful politically unless we
work within the system (e.g. hold elected office) or they think activism is
just a phase. For those of us who come from supportive families, there is
often a belief that our struggles are exactly the same as our parents'
generation, or they support our choices, but genuinely worry for our
safety. We want letters to explore the centrality of activism to our lives,
what motivated us to a radical position, and what we hope to achieve. In
other words, we want to break it down for the parents! This section will
also offer an opportunity to examine the gains and failures of our parents'
generation-the doors they opened and the burdens they left us with.
A. On life's goals
B. On why we're active
C. On the legacy we have inherited
Ch. 2 Letters to authorities
Since activism is about shifting the dynamics of power, young activists
actively struggle against existing power structures, and the authorities
that represent those institutions that have the most power over our lives.
Rarely are we in dialogue with each other. This is an opportunity to tell
those authorities what we think of them and what their positions mean to us.
A. To the police
B. To the university president
C. To the president of the U.S.
Ch. 3 Letters to older activists
Many older activists idealize the movements of their generation, while many
younger activists dismiss the work done by previous generations of
activism. But what does building a multigenerational movement mean to us?
These letters will explore issues of mentoring, learning from history, the
need to respect youth leadership (even if it means making our own
mistakes), and what it means to work with and learn from older activists.
A. On Mentoring
B. On 1960/70s History
C. On Youth culture
Section II Present: Letters to the movements
Ch. 4 On movements
The Movement is complex; it contains activists working in a variety of
movements, each with their own particular strategy for achieving social
justice. Often times, activists don't work together because they don't see
the relevance of one issue in regards to their own. Many young activists,
however, are working to build a cohesive Movement, and are spending
considerable time and effort making these connections. In this chapter,
then, letters will build bridges among the different movements while also
advance new strategies for change.
A. On the links between movements and the Movement
B. On finding alternatives to police and courts for hate crimes
C. On religion in social change efforts
D. On current events
Ch. 5 On identity
It has now become fashionable in various movements to dismiss people or
ideas that include an analysis of race, class, gender, sexuality, religion
or other issues of lived experience as "identity politics." But we want to
know from young activists how identity (both the ways we identify and the
way the outside world perceives us) informs our work in the movement. How
have those identities been affirmed or silenced? What role do our
identities play in our activism?
A. On the importance of identity
B. On the contradictions of identity
C. On "identity politics" and "the Movement"
Ch. 6 On oppression within the Movement
Even in working to build a new world, movements are necessarily limited by
the world in which they exist. Thus, internal problems of oppression wrack
even the best of movements; these problems need to be addressed. We would
like for young activists to submit letters looking at racism, sexism,
heterosexism, transphobia, classism, elitism, redbaiting, ageism, and other
forms of oppression within the movement, giving priority both to letters
that speak from personal experience and those that offer ways to move
forward on combating oppression.
A. On the links between oppression in the world and in the Movement
B. On supporting oppressed people working for justice
C. On fighting oppression in the Movement
Ch. 7 On being an ally
Discussions of privilege, power, and supporting those people
"most-affected" by a particular issue (e.g. racism) happen in many
organizing circles. This discussion, under the rubric of being allies to
oppressed people, has different definitions depending on the group or the
issue being tackled. What is an ally and why is it important? How do
varying degrees of privilege (male bodied, education, economic status,
race, etc.) complicate the issue of being an ally? Why is it more common to
talk about white anti-racist allies than male anti-sexist allies? In what
ways can the ally concept be problematic? How effective has the discussion
of being allies been in concretely alleviating oppression? This chapter
will address this complex, hotly debated issue from all sides of the
A. On the meanings and contradictions of being an ally
B. To white allies: are we/they effective?
C. To all people with privilege
Ch. 8 On international quality of movement
When we speak of "the Movement," it is important to recognize the leading
role played by people outside of the First World/One-Third World. And in
today's age of advanced global capitalism, it is all the more important to
have an international perspective in our organizing endeavors. Letters in
this section will explore the importance of internationalism, movements
outside the West, and the relationship of U.S. activists (and the United
States itself) to the rest of the world.
A. To activists in the United States
B. To activists outside the United States
C. To the world
Ch. 9 On vision and strategy
What is your vision for a new society? Will there ever be an end to the
"Movement"? What is your strategy for achieving this vision, or what are
you building to get us closer to realizing that vision? We will include
creative, practical letters to address these broad questions.
A. On our visions for a better world
B. On making our visions a reality
C. On sustaining our visions
Section III Future: Letters to the next generations
Ch. 10 Letters to the youth of tomorrow
Many people in the generations of tomorrow will not be politically engaged.
We recognize that these people will play a crucial role in determining the
fate of our country and world. This is our chance to engage uncertain
future generations of apolitical, skeptical and the politically aware but
not active, challenging them to take a stand through letters.
A. To a student
B. To a slacker
C. To a skeptic
Ch. 11 Letters to the activists of tomorrow
Just as we, youth activists of today, have the history of the 1960/70s,
activists of tomorrow will look back on the history of our engagement with
politics. What lessons do we have to pass on to them about our successes
and failures thus far? What challenges to envision passing on to the
future? How do we want to define our experience historically?
A. To a campus organizer
B. To a community organizer
C. To an international organizer
Ch. 12 Letters to our future selves
The book begins with a personal section; bringing the narrative full
circle, this chapter will be intimate and reflective as well. This chapter
will be our current selves engaging rhetorically with the us of tomorrow.
As we move forward in life we all make difficult decisions and compromises.
We struggle to live our lives in a way that is consistent with our values.
Life's trajectory often leads young activists to become more conservative
when they have a job, a family and so on. What messages do we want to be
sure we remember 20 or 30 years from now?
A. To the activist
B. To the parent
C. To the professional
Appendix: List of activist organizations and Web sites of interest
Contributor bios and contact information
Letters From Young Activists is divided into three core sections; each
section is comprised of chapters; and each chapter contains several
letters. The sections are:
Past: Letters to the Previous Generations (letters to specific
older people in our lives, be they parents, authority figures, or older
activists): These letters will address our life's goals as activists, our
relationship to authorities, and on the lessons and legacies of previous
Present: Letters to the Movements (letters to activists of
today about pressing issues for the movements that comprise the Movement):
This section, comprises the bulk of the book, engages today's activists and
today's activism in dialogue about the crucial issues facing young
Future: Letters to the Next Generations: A forum for young
activists of today to reflect on the contradictions and possibilities we
face as we get older, struggling against the refrain that people cease to
be activists as they age.
We decided on dividing the book broadly into past, present, and future to
highlight the fact that, although activists and even movements come and go,
activism and the Movement are continuous; that is, they have a past,
present, and future, and this book attempts to engage all three components.
Sections, then, serve as a broad outline to connect the reader to all
aspects of activism: the history, the current reality, and the dreams for
tomorrow. Chapters serve to further tailor the framework provided by the
section headings. Under each chapter several letters will engage the issue
at hand, presenting a diverse range of opinions and experiences. In order
to provide further structure to the chapters, we developed subsections of
topics, each to be addressed by several letters.