THIS BRAVE NATION:
For decades, scholars have lamented the historical and civic illiteracy of the American public, blaming everything from the homogenized textbooks found in most classrooms to the gutting of civics courses to the all-consuming obsession with celebrity culture. Technology, in particular, seems to be a favorite culprit: in 1985
‘s jeremiad against television, Amusing Ourselves to Death, warned of that relatively new medium’s focus on entertainment over argument. Now it’s the Internet that’s to blame, as many young people get their ideas from web videos instead of from reading–or even watching TV news. But why not make technology your ally?
On Sunday, June 1,
This Brave Nation
— a video collaboration between The Nation and
Brave New Films
–will release the first in a five-part series of intergenerational conversations. A kind of “living history” project composed of short videotaped talks, This Brave Nation brings together the most intelligent, passionate and creative voices of one generation with the activists, journalists and artists of the next to dialogue on loves, lives, politics and history. Each discussion will be produced as both a five-minute video and a thirty-minute minidocumentary, which will be collected in a DVD box set. The first video is a talk between Ella Baker Center founder
and the longtime leader of the Sierra Club,
. Other This Brave Nation participants include union organizer
; activist and folk singer
with environmental justice organizer
; ACLU director
with teenage peace activist
; and author, activist and politician
with Nation columnist and Shock Doctrine author
. Videos will be released each Sunday for four weeks leading up to a live event in Los Angeles on July 13.
Finally, This Brave Nation is sponsoring a related contest in which readers can nominate young heroes (under 30) who are making a difference in their local communities. Check out
and nominate yourself or someone you know, view the series trailer and find out how you can be a part of This Brave Nation.
GOOD TO BEAT THE KING:
Coalition of Immokalee Workers
(CIW), a community-based organization of migrant agricultural workers in southwest Florida, scored a Whopper-sized victory on May 23 when
agreed to improve wages and working conditions for farmworkers harvesting tomatoes for the company’s Florida suppliers. Burger King had been refusing to pay a penny-per-pound surcharge to growers to support a wage hike–a plan industry rivals
agreed to in 2005 and 2007–but CIW’s unwavering corporate-pressure campaign, a hearing chaired by Senator
and reams of bad publicity finally forced the fast-food giant to cave.