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Review of "Capitalism and Climate Change: The Science and Politics of Global Warming"

“Capitalism and Climate Change: The Science and Politics of Global Warming” by David Klein (and which I edited and illustrated), was reviewed by Michael Gasser.

The review is in the Jan/Feb issue of “Against the Current”:
http://solidarity-us.org/site/node/4548

It also appears on System Change Not Climate Change:
http://systemchangenotclimatechange.org/article/climate-change-radical-primer

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Climate Change: A Radical Primer
by Michael Gasser

Review of Capitalism & Climate Change: The Science and Politics of Global Warming

By David Klein, illustrated and edited by Stephanie McMillan
An ebook available for download at Gumroad, a site where people can sell their work directly to their audience: https://gumroad.com/l/climatechange#. You choose your own price.

GWcover2MOST BOOKS ON ecosocialism, while they may be of interest to those who already know something about socialism, especially those who already are socialists, are not particularly useful for those who want to be aware of both what climate change is and what capitalism is.

Naomi Klein’s best-selling book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism and the Climate, filled part of this gap, but as several reviewers have noted(1), by “capitalism” Naomi Klein seems to mean the variant of it that is usually called “neoliberalism,” the austerity and privatization enforced around the world by international financial institutions since the 1980s. As valuable as her book is, it is not, and does not pretend to be, a Marxist take on the crisis.

With Capitalism & Climate Change ecosocialist David Klein, with considerable help from revolutionary cartoonist Stephanie McMillan, gives us the best available primer, from a radical perspective, on what the ecological crisis is about and what is causing it. Far from challenging Naomi Klein’s similarly titled book, however, David Klein frequently relies on Naomi Klein, and in some ways, the two books complement each other.

Because they appeared within months of one another and because of their similar titles, it is natural to want to compare them. (For simplification, in what follows when I write simply “Klein,” I’ll mean David Klein).

Capitalism & Climate Change is divided into two sections, the first covering the nature of the climate crisis itself, the second capitalism’s role in creating the crisis, its inability to get us out of it, and what we can do about it.
What Science Tells Us

Klein starts Part 1,“What does climate science tell us?” with a look at the climate change denial movement, how it is funded, and how it challenges mainstream climate science. While some of this section will be familiar from Naomi Klein — who also begins with this topic — what will be new is the discussion of the lengths the deniers and their financial backers have gone to to intimidate mainstream climate scientists, up to and including anonymous threats against individual scientists.

In more ways than one, the climate change deniers, or more significantly their financial backers, mean business!
Continue reading Review of "Capitalism and Climate Change: The Science and Politics of Global Warming"

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Book review of "Capitalism Must Die" is in "top ten" for 2015!

Aaron Leonard’s review of “Capitalism Must Die!” made the top ten list of book reviews on rabble.ca!

See it here:

http://rabble.ca/books/reviews/2015/12/best-book-reviews-2015

Here’s what they said:

“Capitalism must die! Your economic guidebook to revolution,” by Aaron Leonard

coverSmallWhy it’s great: Spoiler alert: capitalism is terrible. How do we know? Because author Stephanie McMillian’s colourful cartoons definitely told us so! Her playful blend of colours and style is inviting and brings us in to the serious message that capitalism is definitely destroying the world.

Why you should read this: Aaron Leonard conducts a very illuminating interview with the author where she candidly discusses why we so urgently need to defeat capitalism. Couldn’t be a better time to read it.

Here’s the review itself:

https://stephaniemcmillan.org/2015/09/22/interview-capitalism-must-die-your-economic-guidebook-to-revolution/

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Review of "Capitalism Must Die!" by Paul Buhle

Capitalism Must Die! A basic introduction to capitalism: what it is, why it sucks, and how to crush it

Some 20 years ago, while creating a book of Mike Alewitz’s labour murals, the artist and I faced the inevitable question: what would a revolutionary artist want his book to be called? He insisted on a word that seemed to me long outdated, belonging to another, faraway world: agitprop. As in, the way that the Communist International of the 1920s, before (and, lamentably, also after) Stalin’s seizure of power, described the agitation and propaganda value of art. It seemed to me, notwithstanding my own lifetime of left politics, so very unartistic.

Alewitz was stubborn (and he won): the point of his art had been from the beginning to transform society by visually assaulting capitalism and capitalists, by telling the stories of the working class and the oppressed. Perhaps I should add that most of his revolutionary murals – from St. Paul, Minnesota, to New York, to Nicaragua, to the Connecticut community college where he has taught for decades – have been painted over. The people in power clearly don’t like his artistic message.

Stephanie McMillan is an agitprop artist and no doubt proud of it. The granddaughter of a once-famed German animator, she studied at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with the political descendants of blacklisted animators in the U.S., and then turned in the 1990s to cartooning. It was in her nature to begin self-syndicating, an ambitious and (for most artists) frustrating – make that heartbreaking – effort to succeed on their own terms. Thanks to skill and temerity, she broke through to big as well as small publications, and, in 2012, won the Robert F. Kennedy award for editor­ial cartoonists. She also set herself on being a political organizer, from anti-poverty groups to Occupy and beyond. In a commercial publishing world with scarce room for left-wing artists, she has brought out two books from Seven Stories Press and other works that could be considered semi-commercial (as in, distributed by herself and her supporters without much commercial publicity or attention). “Undaunted” is her middle name, or should be.

The actual art in Capitalism Must Die! can only be described as utilitarian, serving the purpose of illustrating the ideas in her prose. The prose is straightforward and reminds me of the “basics” in the socialist study classes of my youth (during the early 1960s). We did not get into ecology back then, but the historic rise of capitalism, grinding the faces of the poor, the spread of the system across the planet (true to Marx’s own formula) to newly available resources and oppressed populations – all of this seems familiar. What is new here, in a society of declining literacy, is her skill in mixing images and interpretive paragraphs. Any young person who hates their job, or can’t find one, can understand intuitively her description of exploitation as the source of profits. McMillan excels in using this seemingly obvious point to explain how the system at large is fast murdering the planet.

She writes and draws as a socialist revo­lutionary who knows that working-class folks will not automatically be won over to understanding that something drastic both needs to be done and can be done. If there is a rub, it is in her appeal for a renewed Marxism-Leninism dependent on a vanguard party (“The trouble with Leninism,” an old anarchist postcard of the 1960s read, “is that everyone wants to be Lenin.”). On the positive side, she has plenty of useful suggestions – including points that many of us have tried to live by – on being democratic, patient (even in disagreements with other radicals), and determined to carry through for the long haul.

No one should expect an artist to have all the political answers. Stephanie McMillan prompts the questions and helps her readers along, and that is a lot. Read this book and pass it along to a young person, too.

Paul Buhle co-founded the New Left journal Radical America in 1967 at age 22 and has edited a dozen non-fiction comics and books including Insurgent Images: The Agitprop Murals of Mike Alewitz.

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Review: Cartoonists and Revolution

This originally appeared in Against the Current
https://solidarity-us.org/node/4430

by David Finkel

In an era of wars and revolutions
American socialist cartoons of the mid-twentieth century
By Carlo and others; edited by Sean Matgamna
London, England: Phoenix Press, 2013, 314 pages, $15 paperback.

Capitalism Must Die!
A basic introduction to capitalism: what it is, why it sucks, and how to crush it
By Stephanie McMillan
Fort Lauderdale, FL: Idees Nouvelles, Idees Proletairiennes, 2014, 241 pages, $12 paperback.

HEAVILY MUSCLED, BLACK and white, mostly (although not all) male proletarians confront profit-bloated moneybag (all white male) capitalists, Jim Crow racism, the war industry, and the grim visage of Stalin.

A one-eyed fighting rabbit, “Bunnista,” takes on the greedy bosses (mostly but not all white and male) and their “omnicidal” system destroying the planet in the course of exploiting labor and nature.

The first set of images dominate the collection In an era of wars and revolutions, compiled by Sean Matgamna, a leading member of the Alliance for Workers Liberty (AWL) in Britain. The second, the creation of Stephanie McMillan, is an illustrated manifesto setting out her Marxist-inspired account of how capitalism operates and the necessity to overthrow it.

 

Both are entertaining as well as educational, and put together certainly throw some light on changes in radical political culture over the past seven or so decades. Matgamna has compiled an assortment of mostly Trotskyist and Third Camp cartoons from the immediately pre-World War II period through the mid-1950s, with a handful of earlier contributions from the 1920s Communist press.

The artists include Carlo (Jesse Cohen) and Laura Gray (Slobe) and several others. For insight into these artists and their world, you can look up articles by Kent Worcester (http://newpol.org/content/sculptor-painter-and-cartoonist-laura-gray) and “Cannonite Bohemians After World War II” by Alan Wald (http://www.solidarity-us.org/pdfs/ATC%20159-Wald.pdf).

The coloration of these cartoons is generally pretty dark, and much of the imagery is likely to strike today’s readers as rather grim and outdated.  It’s worth keeping in mind, however, that these cartoons and the papers where they appeared — The Militant, Daily Worker, Labor Action, Socialist Appeal, etc. — actually addressed a working-class audience engaged in a labor movement that was stronger and substantially more politicized than today’s.

Matgamna acknowledges the masculinist shortcomings of the works:  “The socialists who drew these cartoons were, themselves and their organizations, militant for women’s rights, but little of that is in their work…Even so, the old symbols, the fat capitalist and the big powerful worker, are still intelligible. They depict truths of our times as well as of their own.” (1-2)

Stephanie McMillan brings the same hatred of exploitation and oppression, along with the ecological and feminist priorities of today’s movements. Her Bunnista character, whom I take to be an alter ego of sorts, appears to have evolved in recent years from a mainly environmental activist to a fully-fledged revolutionary fighter.

One feature I especially appreciate —  missing in the period cartoons chronicled by Matgamna — is McMillan’s ability to turn a humorous critical light on the movement itself. Recycling a classic radical joke, one of her characters pronounces that “Being a revolutionary militant requires tremendous sacrifice, resolve, persistence, and hard work. It ends in violent death or prison.” To which Bunnista replies: “Your recruitment pitch could use some work.” (178)

In another case, without quoting Marx, she nicely paraphrases his classic quip about the arm of criticism and the criticism of arms. (241)

In a welcome development, both of these books are “licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution — Non-Commercial” licensing arrangement. That means the art can be used with attribution, for non-commercial purposes and without alteration.

One could discuss the cartoons and text at greater length, but better to look for yourself. Ordering information: Phoenix Press, 20E Tower Workshops, Riley Road, London SE1 3DG, England; Stephanie McMillan, P.O. Box 460673, Fort Lauderdale FL 33346; steph@minimumsecurity.net.

May/June 2015, ATC 176

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Review/interview on HuffPo

Is Capitalism All That Bad?

by Victor Feraru
Why is capitalism bad for the world?

Stephanie McMillan, an award winning writer and political cartoonist attempts to answer that question and explain what capitalism means to those who don’t have a lifetime to study its concepts, in her book Capitalism Must Die.

Conspiracy theories, false solutions and misconceptions of human nature are common diversions that keep us from understanding the connection between capitalism’s structure and its many harmful effects,” McMillan says. She did not just start thinking about this kind of stuff.

McMillan, who graduated from New York University, says that she has been working against capitalism since high school.

During the three decades she has been trying to expose the insidious nature of capitalism, she realized that most people do not know what it is. In fact, she says, even those who are against capitalism are not always clear of the components that make it so toxic for the future of the world.

“The most immediate example of capitalism ruining the world is pollution,” says McMillan.

The second and equally as important is the way that we are literally sucking the world’s natural resources dry.

Contrary to popular belief, our forests, oil and clean water, to name a few, are finite, and when they are gone, they’re gone. And not acknowledging global warming will not make it go away.

A capitalist is “a wealthy person who uses money to invest in trade and industry for profit in accordance with the principles of capitalism,” according to Merriam Webster and capitalism is “an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.”

Simple enough, right? It is more complicated than that.

McMillan is not alone in her assessment. Columbia University’s Jeffrey Sachs wrote on CNN.com:

The idea of sustainable development is that raw capitalism is far too powerful for its own good. Global capitalism is a juggernaut, with the world economy now doubling in size every generation. Yet on a finite Earth, with a billion new people being added every 15 years, that juggernaut is now laying siege to the physical bases of life and the social support systems that make life pleasant and decent. Sustainable development offers a path out of this growing crisis.

Having a curious mind (and some questions about the validity of all of this), I reached out to my correspondent friend Noam Chomsky, the world-renowned linguist and unapologetic political dissonant, who still manages to travel the world and answer emails regularly at the young age of 86. I asked him why capitalists who want to own the world are so hell bent on destroying it.
“They don’t want to. But ruining the world is an externality, which doesn’t enter into business transactions,” Chomsky says.

He thinks that above the socioeconomic toxicity that rises from capitalism, its effects on the environment are the most discernable.

“The most obvious, and ominous, example is destruction of the environment, a virtually automatic consequence of the institutional structure of capitalism,” explains Chomsky.

Although most of the business in the world revolves around capitalism, making it as Chomsky and McMillan call “unavoidable,” such as using computers or banking and investing our money, it is best to know that in our not-so-distant future, the choices corporations are making today are not only exploiting people, but also putting the whole planet we live on at risk.

Don’t take my word for it. Pick up a copy of McMillan’s book. It is a good place to start. It is important to understand just how serious the implications are if we continue on the route we are allowing these companies to go.

Follow Victor M. Feraru on Twitter: www.twitter.com/victorhuffpost

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"Teaching Capitalism" – a professor reviews "Capitalism Must Die!"

2012-12-18-our-badOriginal post here: http://uprootingcriminology.org/classroom/teaching-capitalism/

Teaching Capitalism

by Gary Potter,
Professor, School of Justice Studies
Eastern Kentucky University
April 16, 2015

Almost every semester I teach an undergraduate or graduate course in criminological theory. At best I can devote three weeks to radical, critical and feminist criminology because of the plethora of other lesser theories in the discipline. It is almost absurd to suggest that I can, even superficially cover the 1,152 pages of Marx’s Das Kapital and the 912 pages of The Grundrisse (Penguin Books editions) in an hour or two. The truth is that I am in my 30th year of trying to read and understand The Grundrisse myself. Even if I had a full semester devoted to a critique of capitalism trying to make the esoteric concepts and ideas relevant to students, particularly undergraduates, is an insurmountable task. Well, at last help has arrived!

Stephanie McMillan has produced a 244 page book of texts and cartoons titled Capitalism Must Die! What It is, Why It Sucks, and How to Crush It which makes the complex and indecipherable easy to understand. Available here: https://stephaniemcmillan.org/shop/

In Part 1, Ms. McMillan explains in easy to read text and with wonderful illustrations how capitalism works and why it must constantly and rapaciously grow through exploitation. In Part 2 she offers ideas on how we might organize to confront this ruthless system of global exploitation.
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Counterpunch: a very nice review of "Capitalism Must Die!" (and interview)

Cartoonist and Journalist Stephanie McMillan Provides a User-Friendly Guide
How to Stop Capitalism in its Tracks

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/01/05/how-to-stop-capitalism-in-its-tracks/

by MARK HAND

If capitalism keeps chugging along, we’re all in big trouble. That’s the prognosis of Stephanie McMillan, an award-winning political cartoonist and author of the new book, Capitalism Must Die! A Basic Introduction to Capitalism: What It Is, Why It Sucks, and How to Crush It.

The most urgent reason to stop capitalism in its tracks, according to McMillan, is its prominent role in harming the planet. Capitalism possesses an inherent growth imperative. This means that the normal functioning of capitalism is causing water shortages, ailing oceans, destroyed forests and ruined topsoil.

But even if an ecological catastrophe weren’t upon us, capitalism would still need to be dismantled because it’s based on exploitation, McMillan said in an interview. “There’s no reason why the social result of production needs to be in private hands and that only a few people should own what everybody produces,” she said.

McMillan uses her book to introduce and popularize basic concepts of revolutionary theory. “I wanted to provide something that was accessible to people, that people wouldn’t be afraid to pick up,” she said. But once they pick it up, readers will find a “doorway into deeper levels of theory because we always need to learn more about the system,” she explained.
Continue reading Counterpunch: a very nice review of "Capitalism Must Die!" (and interview)

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Comics Bulletin: ‘Captalism Must Die!’ doesn’t pull any punches

http://comicsbulletin.com/review-captalism-must-die-doesnt-pull-any-punches/

by John Yohe
June 4, 2014

The subtitle to Captalism Must Die! doesn’t pull any punches. Artist/writer Stephanie McMillan’s latest book is “A basic introduction to capitalism, what it is, why it sucks, and how to crush it.” ‘Nuff said?

This is not, like McMillan’s previous books, a narrative with sequential art, which may disappoint fans (I confess, it did me at first). Instead, it’s a more text-heavy non-fiction book explaining capitalism and class theory, interspersed with one-page cartoons that serve as ‘in other words’ visual explanations of McMillan’s at times jargon-y text. Also as necessary pauses, breaths, and laughs.

Early on, McMillan states that she’s not trying to write an academic-sounding text, but rather something that’s accessible and easily understandable. The problem is that she’s dealing with Theory-with-a-capital-T: that is, what is known in academic/university circles as Marxist theory, but is called by people who actually try to live it as ‘class theory’ and/or ‘proletarian theory,’ and therefore the use of some academic-y terminology is inevitable, and therefore maybe a little intimidating and/or the cause of eye-rolling to casual readers.
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Review of "Capitalism Must Die!" Coloring Book

Original post (with images): http://funologist.org/2014/05/25/best-kid-present-ever/

Best.Kid.Present.Ever.

by Paxus Calta-Star

Some years back political cartoonist Stephanie McMillian did a visitor period at Twin Oaks and I had fantasies of one of the communities new industries being radical humor. She is a clever, quirky, cartoonist with an impossible message to deliver and just the right tool to do it. Her latest salvo in this on-going public education and activation campaign is on target and at exactly the right price.

Your kids deserve this book

I discovered Stephanie’s work while I was staying at an amazing squat in Barcelona called Can Masdeu. The squats library had a copy of the book she illustrated, As the Word Burns: 50 simple things you can do to stay in denial. Which is a quick read, if it does not cause your brain to explode.
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A review of “Capitalism Must Die!” from Sequential Tart

http://www.sequentialtart.com/reports.php?ID=9120&issue=2014-05-12

Capitalism Must Die!
by Katie Frank

Reviews may contain information that could be considered ‘spoilers’. Readers should proceed at their own risk.

Grade: 7
With a subtitle like “A basic introduction to capitalism: what it is, why it sucks, and how to crush it,” Capitalism Must Die! is a book with a clear sociopolitical agenda. If you think you will hate it based on the title alone, you probably will. With that said, the book provides an overall well-written, easy to understand introduction to anti-capitalism in the Marxist tradition. It defines terms without using a lot of jargon, and uses short comics and cartoons to introduce and illustrate difficult concepts with real-world examples. The tone of the writing is forceful and impassioned without being overly preachy or antagonistic toward the reader, which can often put people off of explicitly political books. McMillan has clearly spent a lot of time in activism and political education, and it shows in how fluently she translates high theory into everyday language.
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Review of "Resistance to Ecocide" in Comics Bulletin

Review: ‘The Minimum Security Chronicles: Resistance To Ecocide’: Don’t let the cute bunny fool you

http://www.comicsbulletin.com/reviews/6677/review-the-minimum-security-chronicles-resistance-to-ecocide-dont-let-the-cute-bunny-fool-you/

A comic review article by: John Yohe

Don’t let the cute bunny fool you, The Minimum Security Chronicles: Resistance To Ecocide is a radical and much needed (comic) book on how to save ourselves, and our world, from capitalism.

Writer/Artist Stephanie McMillan uses each of her cartoon characters, human and non, to represent different aspects of, or different philosophies within, the environmental movement, or within its more radical edges. Mainstream environmental activists, the kind that, say, listen to NPR and recycle their Starbucks cups, do appear, but only to be mocked mercilessly by her main characters—McMillan isn’t wasting time with those basic useless ideas, and she assumes her readers don’t either.
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Review: ‘The Minimum Security Chronicles: Resistance to Ecocide’

By Henry Chamberlain
Comics Grinder

“The Minimum Security Chronicles: Resistance to Ecocide” is full of whimsy and wisdom as it follows its characters on a journey to save the planet. It’s all up to a group of friends to figure out if they can smash the capitalist system or just give up and go shopping. What makes Stephanie McMillan’s comic strip such a page-turner is her ability to find the right mix of humor and intelligent discourse.
MScover
Stephanie McMillan’s sense of urgency and comedy is irresistible. She has placed a whole new generation with the burden of saving the planet but they’re pretty clueless. There’s Kranti and Bananabelle, who just barely know the struggles from the past. Kranti, an African-American, is quick to join a protest rally and yell, “By any means necessary!” And Bananabelle, intuitively, recognizes that won’t go over well with the “mainstream liberals.”
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"hard hitting facts and goofy humor"

Review of The Knitting Circle Rapist Annihilation Squad by Derrick Jensen and Stephanie McMillan

Oakland, CA: PM Press, 2012. 160 pp. $14.95. paper.

by Rosalie Morales Kearns

Years ago I attended a women writers conference where a woman in our fiction-writing workshop read aloud to us from a novel she had started. As I recall, the plot involved members of a book group, all women and all survivors of domestic violence, who agreed to a revenge pact. Each one, they decided, would kill a man who had abused someone else, a man with whom she had no connection.

It was a hot, sunny day, I was a bit drowsy from lunch, I was being read aloud to. Violent men were about to meet their doom in deeply satisfying ways. What stands out in my memory is how soothing the experience was.

I don’t know whether the writer ever finished her novel, but of course it leapt to mind as I read The Knitting Circle Rapist Annihilation Squad, a satire by Derrick Jensen and Stephanie McMillan. The title handily telegraphs the novel’s plot: as members of a knitting group start confiding in each other, they find out that they’re all survivors of rape, and the rapists in question (high school counselors, relatives, clergymen, ex-husbands) have never even been arrested, let alone prosecuted. The women avenge each other by killing those rapists. With their knitting needles.
Continue reading "hard hitting facts and goofy humor"

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New Times: review of "Capitalism Must Die!"

http://www.browardpalmbeach.com/2013-08-22/culture/lt-i-gt-capitalism-must-die-lt-i-gt-stephanie-mcmillan-s-new-comics-journalism/

By Erica K. Landau

If adolescent rebellion is, for most kids, just a developmental phase, for Stephanie McMillan it was more like a political awakening. Even as a middle-schooler, this Broward County native dreamed of joining a commune and resented missing the ’60s.

But as an adult, she had to make a living. She was just a few years out of college when her job at a corporate-owned media outlet collided with her radical beliefs.

It was 1992, and McMillan was writing for the popular Fort Lauderdale alt-weekly XS (later known as City Link). She had just finished an article about the detention and deportation of immigrants. Because, however, she also was directly involved in the issue she was covering — McMillan was an advocate for detainee rights — her boss said her work could not be viewed as objective: It would undermine the paper’s reputation.

Give up participating in the struggles she believed in, she was told, or give up writing and reporting hard news.

So McMillan stepped away from the news side and instead wrote XS’s event listings, a position she held until it was eliminated in 2008. The early and sudden change of office tracks allowed her to remain an activist outside of work but, as it turned out, did not spell the end of her serious journalistic pursuits.
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IWW review: "The Beginning of the American Fall"

First appeared in IWW Industrial Worker: http://www.scribd.com/doc/127975744/Industrial-Worker-Issue-1753-March-2013

Reprinted at Occupy.com: http://www.occupy.com/article/book-review-beginning-american-fall

by Dr. Zakk Flash

The Beginning of the American Fall: A Comics Journalist Inside the Occupy Wall Street Movement Text and Art by Stephanie McMillan 144 pp. Seven Stories Press. $16.95 Release: 13 November 2012.

Stephanie McMillan, along with her illustrated comrades, recounts the burgeoning influence, successes, and failures of the global justice movement and Occupy Wall Street in particular, from hopeful inception to uncertain future in her latest graphic novel, the Beginning of the American Fall. The novel attempts to encapsulate the early days of the movement (and the artist’s own radical roots) through expertly illustrated comics and connective essays.

Winner of the “poor man’s Pulitzer,” the 2012 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the book’s illustrations and text follow McMillan from her beginnings as an environmentally-conscious college activist to her growing radical awakening. Narrated by McMillan (and placing her firmly in the action), the story weaves together the artist’s own sensitive reflections with sociopolitical context. McMillan herself comes across as a participant of great optimism and enthusiasm, tracing the arc of her own expectations with the movement’s limitations.
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Der Speigel: review of "The Beginning of the American Fall"

Politik im Comic Der Geist der Bewegung

Von Ute Friederich

Globale Bewegung: Eine Szene aus Stephanie McMillans „The Beginning of the American Fall“.Bild vergrößernGlobale Bewegung: Eine Szene aus Stephanie McMillans „The Beginning of the American Fall“. – Foto: cartoonmovement.com

Zwischen arabischem Frühling und Occupy: Selten war das Medium Comic so politisch und aktuell wie jetzt. Vorreiter ist die Website cartoonmovement.com, die kürzlich ihren ersten Jahrestag feierte.
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Article in Transindex

Here’s an article about my work in the Transylvanian online newspaper Transindex: http://think.transindex.ro/?p=9198

Rácz Tímea

A többszörösen újságírói díjakkal kitüntetett, eléggé extrém környezetvédelmi nézeteket valló lány a TOTB-nek mesélt munkájáról és nézeteiről.

Amellett, hogy környezetvédelmi témákat dolgozol fel, aktivista is vagy? Mióta, és mit csinálsz?

Igen, a One Struggle (Egyetlen harc) nevű csoport szervezője vagyok. Ezt néhány emberrel indítottam el itthon, Dél-Floridában. Egy antikapitalista, antiimperialista kezdeményezés, amely mind az ökológiai problémákra, mind a társadalmi igazságtalanságokra, valamint az ezek közötti kapcsolatra szeretné felhívni a figyelmet.

Már középiskolás korom óta – a ’80-as évek elejétől – aktivista vagyok, foglalkoztam a bevándorlók jogaival, a rendőri brutalitásokkal, a nők reprodukciós szabadságával és harcoltam az imperialista háború ellen. Az elmúlt néhány évben jobban megértettem az ökológiai válság sürgető helyzetét, és az energiám nagyrészét erre összpontosítottam. Ha nem tudjuk megállítani a bolygó tönkretételét, semmi más nem fog számítani.

Melyek a legsürgetőbb környezetvédelmi problémák szerinted?

Az egész természetes világ rohamosan romlik, így nehéz megmondani, melyik a legszörnyűbb aspektusa. Mindegyik hatással van egy másikra. A globális felmelegedés, a fajok tömeges kihalása, a haldokló óceánok, az édesvízkészlet fogyása, az atomerőművek… mindegyikük nagyon fontos, és az összessel foglalkoznunk kell.

Honnan merítesz ihletet a rajzaidhoz?

Bárcsak ne lenne ihletem, de sajnos minden nap újabb bűncselekményeket követnek el a természet ellen. Túl sok témából tudok válogatni. A problémák gyorsan szaporodnak, elég egy pillantást vetni a hírekre.

Ebben a pillanatban több millió ember éhezik Szomáliában, a klímaváltozás okozta szárazság és éhínség miatt; egy amazonasi törzs – akikkel eddig még nem vettük fel a kapcsolatot – már nincs meg, és félő, hogy a drogdílerek kiirtották őket. Az Egyesült Államokban soha nem látott hőhullám sepert végig, és még sok minden egyéb történik… Bárcsak ne lenne, ami Ellen küzdeni vagy amit kritizálni, de mindezekkel a problémákkal szembe kell néznünk,

A rajzaid közül melyek a személyes kedvenceid?

Itt nagyon élveztem megrajzolni a gyászos, apokaliptikus jelenetet, amelyet aztán több helyen felhasználtam:

Aranyos állatokat is szeretek rajzolni, ez a gyerekkönyvem egyik illusztrációja:

Ez pedig egy friss rajz a Minimum Security című napi sorozatomból. Cuki állatok és kemény politika ötvözete – a kedvenc kombinációm:

Mit gondolsz, mit szeretnek legjobban az emberek a rajzaidban, mi az erősségük?

A rajzaim azokhoz szólnak, akik kedvelik a képregényekben ritka, radikális politikai kritikát. A munkám antikapitalista perspektívákra alapoz, és bátorítja mindazokat, akik egyetértenek velem. Emellett igyekszem vicces és szórakoztató lenni, ahogyan Oscar Wilde is javasolta: “Ha el akarod mondani az embereknek az igazságot, akkor nevettesd meg őket, máskülönben megölnek.” Ha a rajzok vizuális szempontból vonzóak, segíthetnek az embereknek eszméket felkarolni. Ezt szeretném elérni.

Három könyved, köztük egy gyermekkönyv is megjelent. Ezeknek is köze van a környezetvédelemhez? Hogyan jutott eszedbe gyerekkönyvet írni?

Igen, a címe Mischief in the Forest (Csínyek az erdőben), és a más fajokkal való személyes kapcsolatok fontosságára hívja fel a figyelmet. Én illusztráltam, a szerzője Derrick Jensen. Ugyancsak vele dolgoztam együtt egy képes regényen, a címe As the World Burns: 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Stay in Denial (A világ ég: 50 egyszerű dolog, amivel mindez letagadható). Ebben több történetet fűztünk össze, amelyek azt mutatják, hogy a környezetvédelmi problémákra nem lehet életmódos megoldásokat találni. Arra akartunk rámutatni, hogy a személyes változtatások nem elegendőek, ha nem változtatjuk meg a probléma gyökerét, azaz a rendszert is.

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Review in New Times: As the World Burns

As the World Burns: 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Stay in Denial

By Erica K. Landau
Thursday, Aug 13 2009

For a lot of us, green living means changing our light bulbs, doing our best to recycle, and signing a petition to save polar bears. Baby steps, we tell ourselves; we can’t overhaul the system overnight. But according to the graphic novel As the World Burns: 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Stay in Denial, penned by activist-writer Derrick Jensen and South Florida political cartoonist Stephanie McMillan, this kind of thinking is precisely the problem. Partly because the Earth will incinerate before we get off our collective asses. Partly because “simple” solutions reduce the urgency of the problem. But mostly because it places blame on us, the individuals, instead of them.
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Counterpunch: As the World Burns

A Review of Derrick Jensen’s “As the World Burns” Necropolis Now
Necropolis Now

by ADAM ENGEL

Poor Bannanabelle. She wants so badly to save the environment–painlessly. But her best friends, the more politically savvy Kranti and Bunnista, the one-eyed lapin fugitive from a vivisection lab, keep shooting down her politically correct ideas. No, recycling and changing light bulbs won’t be enough, not like “that movie” suggested (whose producer won a Nobel Prize perhaps?). Solar energy requires copper mining, the burning of fossil fuel energy to create panels etc., and ethanol requires fossil fuels and poisonous fertilizer and pesticides for the growth and processing of corn. Planting a tree (for every thousand Big Lumber cuts down) won’t do it, nor will taking shorter showers, particularly since, according to Jensen and McMillan, 90 percent of all “fresh” water goes to industry, agriculture, and to water golf courses. Anyway, these are all “individual” solutions, as if only individuals, not a planet united against the corporate forces that caused these problems, could “solve” the immense complexity of the problem threatening all life on earth, Kranti points out. Certainly “new technology”–nano, nuclear, or otherwise–won’t “save us,” merely create, as all “new technologies” have, more filth, waste and misery for the benefit of whatever corporations control it.

So what are these two spirited, but politically powerless, young women to do?

Go down! Down the rabbit-hole — the empty socket where Bunnista’s pre-vivisection right eye had been?–for a non-human, all-too-non-human glimpse of “our” current reality.

Down to a world in which invading alien robots, machines from outer-space, whose diet consists of animals, vegetables and minerals, that is, the LIVING Earth, are able to bribe their way through the Corporocracy by offering the President of the United States unlimited supplies of the gold they expel from their mechanical anuses (they’re machines, after all; what would we expect them to shit?).

A world in which multi-national corporations become concerned that the alien robots are eating the planet–because that’s the corporations’ job. Those darn machines are eating into corporate profits. Big no-no. The Corporocracy demands that the President rescind the permits he granted the aliens, which allow them to eat the planet, or they’ll kill him, just as they would any other corporate slave who threatened the bottom-line. Nothing personal.

A world in which Bunnista is labeled a “terrorist” by the corporate media for liberating abused animals from the torture chambers of a vivisection lab then blowing up the empty building. Moreover, the “terrorist” rabbit blew up a dam in order to save the lives of fish. No one was hurt, but corporate property was damaged. Furthermore, there was a school some miles away from the vivisection lab; hence, the “news-casters” announce, cute little “innocent, innocent” children “might have been harmed” had they somehow managed to be near the lab Bunnista destroyed in the middle of the night.

A world in which Kranti and Bannanabelle, refusing to snitch on Bunnista, are thrown into a concentration camp built to contain rabbits, all of whom are now “potential terrorists,” simply because they’d been labeled “bunnies” due to a “bureaucratic error.” Even a flesh-and-blood prison guard, observing them at close quarters, believes, in spite of her own eyes, that they are bunnies–because their ID tags list them as such. An apt metaphor for the Power Elites’ ability to make us see what they want us to see, even if we don’t actually see it.

But despite all this, despite the Life against Death circumstances of our “current situation,” AS THE WORLD BURNS is not a book for doomsday pacifists or nihilists.

Jensen and McMillan, like their characters–animal, vegetable and mineral–are warriors for LIFE.

So what’s the solution? What are Kranti and Bannanabelle, going to do to stop the machines–alien, societal and corporate–from devouring the planet?

A little bird tells them. A little bird, and other “earthlings”–animal, vegetable and mineral. The “solution” is something wild, far wilder than most of us domesticated human machines, ensconced in our machine-like social orders, can comprehend. Most of us, but not all. Nevertheless, it is not until a substantial number of us–animal, vegetable and mineral–unite to destroy ALL machines–mechanical, societal and corporate–that the Living Earth can continue to live. Otherwise, sooner rather than later, she’ll become just another blank planet, a cold, dead rock, or a very, very hot one.

“All plots end in death,” Don Dellilo wrote. Not necessarily so, according to the authors of AS THE WORLD BURNS. The plot of Jensen and McMillan’s graphic novel is open; the “end” (or the new beginning) is ours to decide.

The proverbial “writing on the wall” has long since become illegible, scrawled over by layers of agit-prop graffiti screams. We are among children, terrified children longing to be dead. Unix/Network programmers and systems administrators–keepers and maintainers of yet another machine — have a term for broken bits of code, cut loose by a faulty “killing” of a particular program: orphans. Orphans, these fragments of once “living” applications, wander the System, until they become “zombies,” dead code cluttering the System. They must be located and neutralized lest they jam the System, cause it to crash and become inoperable. We are such “zombies.” The question posed by Jensen and McMillan is whether we submit to neutralization, allowing the System to continue, or can we somehow “patch” ourselves together into a new program (not a machine, a living system) one that will destroy the Machine in order to save its victims–the living.

True, we’re in a terrifying situation, despite the soothing words of the nice, pretty people on the TeeVee “news,” but Jensen and McMillan’s message is simple enough for even WE MODERN CITIZENS to understand: we’re being suckered, had, taken, fooled, bamboozled. “Yeah, yeah,” we shrug. “Everything is a crock.” But there’s the rub. We don’t know “everything.” We don’t know anything. We don’t even know what “is” is.

The problem is not that animals, trees, mountains can’t “speak,” but that we can’t or won’t hear. The problem is, we’re in a world of six billion head-trips and most of us keep tripping over same fat heads. The problem is our much vaunted “way of life.” For who or what in the world is more dangerous (within the Greater Machine itself) than the “productive citizen?” Even the “destructive consumer” converts some of the junk to energy before it becomes waste. We “productive citizens” produce and produce and produce only waste. Too much junk to be consumed. Too much junk for the planet–even to the depths of her polluted oceans — to absorb.

I always thought the line, “She would have been a good woman if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life,” from Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is hard to Find,” was the ultimate “reality-check,” the ultimate wake-up call. Not so. The majority of Productive Citizen/Consumers would plod on through their “American Way of Life, more or less unaffected by a bullet to the head. AS THE WORLD BURNS is just such a bullet: absolutely necessary for the rude awakening of humanity; unfortunately, there’s little humanity left, and at this point, it seems, even a high-velocity depleted uranium round would arrive too late– for most of us.

Derrick Jensen is an activist, philosopher, and the author of ENGAME, A LANGUAGE OLDER THAN WORDS, THE CULTURE OF MAKE BELIEVE, and other books.

Stephanie McMillan’s comic strip, MINIMUM SECURITY, appears five times a week at United Media’s comics.com, and has run in dozens of publications worldwide since 1999. The strip was published as a book in 2005.

ADAM ENGEL can be reached at bartlebysamsa65@gmail.com

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Dodging Ecocide: As the World Burns review in Counterpunch

http://www.counterpunch.org/2008/01/19/dodging-ecocide/

Big Green Fiddles As the World Burns Dodging Ecocide
Dodging Ecocide

by MICHAEL DONNELLY

US Greenhouse Gas emissions increase by 2% per year. If everyone did everything recommended in Al Gore’s movie as their personal contribution to curbing their share of the toxic releases–and mind you 100% compliance with Gore’s suggestions is what we’re talking here–it would lower emissions by 21%. The other 79% comes from sources Al Gore studiously avoided–factory farms, heavy industry and other political sacred cows. Heaven forbid, Al Gore suggest anything that would cause corporate America any gas pains. Nope. It’s all on us and even if we do change every bulb, run biodiesel/ethanol in our vehicles, properly inflate our tires and recycle every yogurt container; our collective emissions savings would hardly be noticeable in the overall scheme of things. In addition, the grain required to make enough ethanol to fill an SUV’s tank just once could feed a human being for a year.

Talk about inconvenient truths. Such brutally honest factoids abound in As the World Burns; 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Stay in Denial (Seven Stories Press) a graphic novel by Derrick Jensen (author of Endgame, A Language Older than Words and The Culture of Make Believe) and Stephanie McMillan (creator of the comic strip Minimum Security). The “plot” involves a couple young girls who seek to make sense of what is happening to their planet. A group of robot aliens come to Earth and are granted permits by our idiot-in-chief president to gobble up the planet’s resources in exchange for lots and lots of gold ingots. Conveniently, the gold ingots are a byproduct of the robots’ operating systems–yep, they shit gold.
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Blogcritics Review: As the World Burns

Graphic Novel Review: As The World Burns – 50 Things You Can Do To Stay In Denial by Derrick Jensen and Stephanie McMillan

by Richard Marcus

The day doesn’t go by any more without there being at least one story in the news that concerns the environment. From either business denials of the Kyoto accord, arguments for and against the validity of global warming, to a story about the latest change in conditions around the world. Today was no exception, as American Marine Biologists have moved the polar bear onto the endangered species list primarily due to loss of habitat.
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