January 6, 2016
Seven Stories Press joins with New York City and the world in mourning our friend and author Liz Swados, who passed away yesterday at the age of 64. Liz was a beacon of New York’s downtown culture, an artist of rare generosity with a genius for making us feel the connections between hardship and resilience, beauty and truth, one person and another.
Born in Buffalo, New York in 1951, Liz began making a name for herself in the New York theater before she had even finished her undergraduate studies at Bennington College. Greater exposure came in 1978, with the smash success of Runaways, a theater piece Liz wrote and directed. It was based on conversations she’d had with teenage runaways — some of whom went on to star in the show — and its success exceeded all expectations: after a successful run at New York’s Public Theater, it was nominated for five Tony Awards, four Drama Desk Awards, and an Obie (which, for her direction, Liz won).
November 25, 2015
No reason to mince words: Thanksgiving is a weird holiday, one that celebrates a deplorable, genocidal history, yet is also, for many of us, a treasured chance to spend some down-time with those we love, and even, for some, an opportunity to check in and contemplate the actual gratitude for what we have, coexisting with the anger over the state of things that drives us to make change. In short, like much of American life, it’s complicated.
In the interest of fostering a critical approach to that kind of complexity, and, as they say, in the spirit of the season, we wanted to share this excerpt from the classic Voices of People’s History of the United States, beginning with an explanatory note by authors Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove:
On the three hundred fiftieth anniversary of the Pilgrims’ landing on Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts officials planned a celebration, and asked Wamsutta (Frank B.) James to deliver a speech.
November 19, 2015Let’s not mince words: it’s been a ghastly week. Catastrophic violence in Beirut and Paris, taking place against the backdrop of Europe’s ongoing refugee crisis, Syria’s ever-worsening civil war, and the Islamic State’s brutal expansion across Iraq, Syria, and beyond, have reminded us all just how precarious matters are in the Middle East.These same events have also left many of us confused. ISIS, Islamic State, or Daesh? With so many enemies, does the US have any allies in the region? What are the goals of the Western powers’ airstrikes? And, perhaps most crucially of all, how did we get to this point? What is the history that has led us here?Kirk J. Beattie, the author of Congress and the Shaping of the Middle East, and Loretta Napoleoni the author of many books including The Islamist Phoenix: The Islamic State and the Redrawing of the Middle East, offer unparalleled insights into what’s happening in the middle east and radiating across the world.
November 17, 2015
Last week, long-time Middle East-watcher and author of Congress and the Shaping of the Middle East Kirk J. Beattie sat down with the legendary Larry King to talk Israel, Palestine, Washington, and more. What ensued was an edifying conversation that has only grown more timely in the few days since it took place, worth watching in its entirety:
October 29, 2015
America’s corporate media tends to take a fairly — ahem – sedate attitude towards actual news, especially when there’s some good political horse racing to keep the ratings up. But today, there is some actual news that Americans really ought to care about: the European Parliament has officially declared Edward Snowden an “international human rights defender,” calling on all EU member states to drop any criminal charges against the whistle-blower and guarantee him freedom from extradition to the US, where he still faces charges.
The resolution, which followed what EU Civil Liberties Committee chair Claude Moraes described as the Parliament’s “most comprehensive investigation completed to date,” marks a tremendous moment of international support for Snowden.
The announcement shouldn’t have come as too much of a shock to readers of Snowden, the acclaimed recent graphic biography by Ted Rall, which noted that European governments had taken serious notice of Snowden’s revelations:
October 9, 2015
“Half the world’s wealth owned by its richest 1%”
“Government Spying ‘Chills’ Writers’ Freedom of Expression”
“Popular Resistance to Corporate Water Grabbing”
Imagine a world where these headlines dominated news reports. These stories are absolutely true, but you won’t find them on the front pages, because they threaten the interests of the powerful corporations that hold our news media in a headlock.
Enter Project Censored – an organization that, for forty years, has fought to save our democracy from “junk food news” by telling the real stories crucial for an understanding of the world we’re living in.
In what has become an annual source of information and a rallying cry for intellectual courage, Project Censored each year produces a book that includes the top 25 underreported news stories, crucial independent reportage from around the world, and sharp analysis of the news that has dominated the corporate press over the past twelve months.
September 25, 2015
Ah, autumn. That time of year when we remember three glorious months of sunbathing, kite-flying, and barbecuing, and think, Well, that was weird. Whether you’re the type who thrills to summer’s end or you’re already saying Ah! for those vanished summer nights, we’ve got a fall list that’ll give you something to wella-wella about.
We live in an unprecedented kind of society: one that is relentlessly focused not on the problem-ridden here and now, but rather on the future. Huge amounts of capital — both literal and cultural — await the person who can gain control of narratives not yet written and “create the future.” In Trees on Mars, explosive contrarian Hal Niedzviecki talks to scholars and entrepreneurs, experts and educators, to find the truth about the world our relentless preoccupation with the yet-to-come may be creating.
August 5, 2015
For Ted Rall – editorial cartoonist, unembedded war reporter, and longtime Seven Stories author — it’s been a rough week.
Last May, Ted wrote a short editorial on the LAPD’s treatment of jaywalkers for the LA Times, a newspaper that had often published his cartoons and columns. Rall began his piece by describing a time he had been stopped by the LAPD for jaywalking in 2001:
“All of a sudden, a motorcycle officer zoomed over, threw me up against the wall, slapped on the cuffs, roughed me up and wrote me a ticket. It was an ugly scene, and in broad daylight it must have looked like one, because within minutes there were a couple of dozen passersby shouting at the cop.
“Another motorcycle officer appeared, asked the colleague what the heck he was thinking and ordered him to let me go, which he did. But not before he threw my driver’s license into the sewer.”
Shockingly, more than ten weeks later, the Times announced it was unceremoniously firing Rall, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated former president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, over the article.
July 10, 2015
In 2013, we were delighted to publish Minecraft: The Unlikely Tale of Markus “Notch” Persson and the Game that Changed Everything. The results were pretty huge: the book was praised as “a celebration of the power of imagination and creativity,” its authors were cheered for their detailed portrait of a game designer who was “more like a musician or a painter,” and tens of thousands of copies flew off shelves — sometimes faster than we could print ‘em.
We got the message: people really like Minecraft! So when we heard, late in 2014, that Microsoft was looking to buy Minecraft’s parent company, Mojang, for upwards of two billion-with-a-b dollars, we decided it was time to update our book. The new second edition of Minecraft is shaping up to be just as big of a deal — already Wired magazine has published an excerpt, and fans have been clamoring for copies of the expanded edition since well before its release.
June 11, 2015
In a recent column in Salon, Bill Curry wrote:
“Though a private citizen, [Ralph] Nader [has] shepherded more bills through Congress than all but a handful of American presidents. If that sounds like an outsize claim, try refuting it. His signature wins [have] included landmark laws on auto, food, consumer product and workplace safety; clean air and water; freedom of information, and consumer, citizen, worker and shareholder rights. In a century only Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson passed more major legislation.”
Since the publication, half a century ago, of Ralph’s landmark Unsafe at any Speed (by which he initiated the consumer movement, in Curry’s words, “as just one guy banging away at a typewriter”), he has been perhaps America’s foremost voice of conscience and public sobriety, a champion of working- and middle-class Americans, and the unofficial First Citizen of our republic.
When things get serious, Ralph’s who you want around.