Monday, December 01, 2008

Press Action Dynamic Dozen 2008

Press Action celebrates the most dynamic reporters, authors and commentators of 2008.

Derrick Jensen

Jensen leads the 2008 class of Press Action’s Dynamic Dozen based on his tireless efforts to inspire us — through his books, essays, speeches, correspondence, etc. — to save the planet. This honor may not rank as high as Utne Reader naming him one of the “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World.” Utne Reader says Jensen is the “green thinker and writer who’s out to tell us not what we want to hear but what we need to hear.” Press Action agrees.

Pattrice Jones

“One of my favorite people, the blackest white woman I know, the author I quote the most, the lady who turned me out and into a black vegan,” Thefreeslave writes on Afro Spear, describing Jones. Jones also is one of Press Action’s favorite writers and thinkers. Check out the excellent work Jones is doing as a teacher of composition at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

Mickey Z.

Mickey Z. continued to work nonstop in 2008 as an essayist, blogger and speaker. He alerted us to the perils of humans dominating nature, the perils of the Republicrats dominating American politics and, in the spirit of Emma Goldman, the perils of avoiding laughter and joy as we struggle to make the world a better place. If all of those activities weren’t enough, Mickey also published two books in 2008: CPR for Dummies and No Innocent Bystanders: Riding Shotgun in the Land of Denial

Paul Street

Unlike many of his fellow commentators on Z Net, Street did not get duped by the Obama hype. In one of his columns since the election, the straight-shooting Street explains: “Obama is a ruling-class candidate with the mission of restoring democratic legitimacy to a rotten and authoritarian state-capitalist American System and Empire. … Our supposed ‘left’ President-Elect’s first statement was NOT a call for peace, justice, and equality. It was a declaration bolstering the American plutocracy’s ridiculous claim that the U.S.—the industrialized world’s most unequal and wealth-top-heavy society by far—is home to a great democracy and limitless opportunity for all.”

Stephanie McMillan

The Minimum Security cartoonist and coauthor of As the World Burns: 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Stay in Denial penned a strip a couple days after the November elections that said it all about the Obama mania.

Bananabelle: I can’t believe you won’t let me tell you who won. Bunnista: All I care about is that the long nightmare is finally over. Bananabelle: The Bush regime? Bunnista: The election. Boring politicians, preposterous speeches, and fools who take them all seriously.

Viva Bunnista! Viva Stephanie McMillan!

Margaret Kimberley

In one of her many incisive pieces leading up to the 2008 presidential election, the Freedom Rider essayist and blogger lambasted progressives for fawning over Obama after he received Colin Powell’s endorsement in October. “A Powell endorsement ought to be the kiss of death, but liberals have silently colluded with Obama all year long. Why should they stop now? So what if the architect of death and destruction in Iraq has endorsed their beloved leader. They just want to win,” Kimberley wrote.

Adam Engel

As one of Press Action’s favorite writers, Engel did not disappoint in 2008. His writing is offbeat and gripping. In his essay on Obama’s victory, titled “The Irony of the Ecstasy,” Engel describes the raucous celebrations outside his house in New York City. “I couldn’t help thinking how ironic it was that thousands of people expressed ‘political commitment’ not by gathering together to soberly plan the Next Move (i.e. putting the president elect in the hot seat), but by behaving like a bunch of typically arrogant, indulgent, selfish, drunk, overbearing Americans,” he writes.

Naomi Klein

During a recent trip to London, Press Action saw a billboard alongside a street near Hyde Park advertising Klein’s book The Shock Doctrine. Now that’s an advertisement you’d never see on any billboard in the United States. The other members of the Press Action Dynamic Dozen may not have a Shock Doctrine-size PR machine promoting their writings and work, but they shouldn’t be jealous. Klein provided an important service in 2008, especially during the fourth quarter, dissecting the U.S. government’s giveaway to Wall Street and how the Obama regime will carry on the neo-liberal economic tradition of the Bush/Clinton era.

William Blum

During another presidential election year, when many liberals, progressives and leftists supported a business-as-usual Democrat, Blum described how Barack Obama’s foreign policy positions would not veer too far from the “Bush Doctrine.” In his regular Anti-Empire Reports, Blum dissected many topics aside from U.S. foreign policy, including the worthlessness of presidential debates, the make-believe world of financial capitalism and … sports. In his Oct. 1 Anti-Empire Report, Blum commented on the 2008 U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York. Blum focused on the jingoism and militarism that accompanies sporting events in the United States, even those events in which the overwhelming majority of competitors, especially the competitors in the upper echelons, are not American.

Ali Abunimah

Abunimah, one of the founders of Electronic Intifada, is the author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse, a recently published book that offers a refreshing vision of the future: one democratic state for Palestinians and Israeli Jews, living side by side with equal rights. In the meantime, the Palestinians will be forced to cope with another staunchly pro-Israel regime in Washington. Abunimah finds some reason for optimism in the short term. “Israel will find it increasingly difficult to justify its policies to global public opinion and will face a growing challenge from the international boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. Efforts to pursue Israelis accused of war crimes in the occupied territories through universal jurisdiction will intensify and may begin to bear fruit. Palestinians in Gaza will refuse to remain besieged. Palestinian citizens of Israel will continue their own struggle for democracy,” Abunimah writes in an essay following Obama’s victory.

Jeremy Scahill

The investigative journalist is exhorting liberal and left-wing bloggers who scrutinized the appointments and policies of George W. Bush during his first term to be similarly aggressive in their treatment of Obama. On a recent episode of Democracy Now!, Scahill said: “I think the time is now to call the question on the involvement of some of these people, that this is the precise moment when this kind of journalism matters, when we have to remind people of the history and the previous policies implemented by the people that are at the center of Obama’s foreign policy team right now, because we’re going to be living with these people for the next four years running the show. And I think it’s incredibly important to be all over this right now, before they’re named.”

Jeffrey St. Clair

Earlier this year, soon after Sarah Palin spoke at the Republican National Convention, the CounterPunch editor once again reminded Press Action of the magnificence of cow punk diva Maria McKee.

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