CLCV Staff Summer Reading List 2021

CLCV Staff Summer Reading List 2021

With summer right around the corner, the staff at CLCV is here with our recommendations for books we’re reading together as an organization and individually in our spare time. This selection will allow you to learn more about our movement while lounging on the beach, sitting on the grass at the park, or staying indoors to escape the heat.


How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

In our commitment to racial justice and equity, the CLCV staff is currently reading this book that covers different concepts of racism along with the author’s proposals for anti-racist actions and changes on the individual and systemic level. The staff meet once a month to reflect and discuss thoughts on the readings.


A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind by Harriet A. Washington

On the basis of differences between white and people of color’s IQ’s, Washington takes a look at the consequences of environmental racism and how pollution disproportionately affects intelligence in communities of color. This analysis delves into the different factors that contribute to the problem and proposes solutions for how to fix this.


The Nordic Theory of Everything by Anu Partanen

Finnish journalist turned American citizen Anu Partanen outlines the contrasting cultures of the United States and Nordic countries, particularly the ways in which American bootstrap culture inhibits our personal independence. Through the lenses of our relationships between genders, parents & children, employees & employers, and citizens & government, Partanen writes frankly but lovingly of an America that could be.


Ratf**ked: Why Your Vote Doesn’t Count by David Daley.

It’s the ur-text about Republican gerrymandering after the 2010 Census and this edition has a Trump-era afterword that’s frankly very good. The environmental, racial, and economic violence of the Trump era was a lighting strike that busted up the tree of liberty – but the rot has set in over time and through a series of intentional choices. Ratf—cked tells the story of some of those choices.

A Rage for Justice: The Passion and Politics of Phil Burton by John Jacobs

Rep. Phil Burton (D-San Francisco) was one of the greatest Speakers we never had. In addition to recruiting or sparring with most of the politicians who made the modern Golden State (a list of his contemporaries includes Speaker Jesse Unruh and Governor Ronald Reagan; a list of his proteges and mentees includes Speaker Willie Brown, Senator Dianne Feinstein, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi) Burton’s work in the mid-century Assembly and post-Kennedy House offers some interesting lessons in coalition building, and tragically unexplored possibilities (his successful work on black lung benefits for coal miners and late-life legislation creating the Golden Gate National Recreation Area are uniquely germane in current conversations.)

The Man Who Hated Work and Loved Labor by Les Leopold

Tony Mazzocchi of the Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers (later merged into the United Steelworkers) was one of the earliest thinkers and activists on what’s now thought of as blue-green, or “Teamsters and turtles” politics. His experience with the GI Bill inspired what he called “Superfund for Workers” (what’s now thought of as Just Transition) and his early work around restricting atomic energy and supporting Navajo uranium miners not only foreshadowed our continuing imperatives for environmental justice and workers’ rights to prosperity, but also cut deep into how foreign policy and national security are tied to energy. In late life, his work around an independent Labor Party also laid the infrastructure for the interlocking policy campaigns and movements for single-payer healthcare, the Green New Deal, and expanding workers’ rights in the workplace.


All We Can Save, ed. by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katherine K. Wilkinson

A refreshing corrective reading about white men, however inspiring or principled. AWCS is a collection of essays, journalism, art, and poetry, from women speaking to the various facets of the climate crisis. One of my favorite quotes currently comes from Heather McGhee’s contribution – “Inequality and climate change are the twin challenges of our time, and more democracy is the answer to both.”

Posted on May 27, 2021 in ECOVOTE BLOG.

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