Are you a #NastyWoman who has recently joined the Resistance movement against Trump’s fascist administration? Are you a long-time political activist with a renewed call to duty? Are you an ordinary citizen trying to figure out how to turn your Facebook activism into political activism?
Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, I recommend five fantastic books for new activists and experienced organizers alike, along with drink pairings for each one, because God knows we all need a stiff one about right now. Just remember to stay hydrated and don’t get too tanked, because self-care is critical to your involvement in the Resistance, and tomorrow your skills might be needed to protect the unprotected. Sit back, crack open that book, and indulge with a hefty pour!
[DISCLAIMER: This post is not intended to be an actual pairing guide. Please do not take these pairings at face value – they are not necessarily meant to be consumed.]
Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches – Audre Lorde
Pairing: Grain alcohol
“What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence?” – Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider
Although Audre Lorde wrote many books of poetry, Sister Outsider is widely recognized as her most defining contribution to feminist thought. As a black woman and a lesbian, Lorde’s work pioneered a new critical social theory that sought to use different identities as a form of empathy and political unity rather than division, which would in turn contribute to the liberation of all women from patriarchal society. Pair Lorde’s seminal work on intersectional feminism with a drink that is as tyrannical to your body as oppression – so tyrannical, in fact, it will literally kill you. Coincidentally, so will oppression.
Resistance – Agnes Humbert
Pairing: Alt-Right White Supremacist Tears
The thrilling account of a natural leader who was an integral part in the formation of the French Resistance movement in the immediate aftermath of the Nazi invasion of France, Resistance tells of one woman’s dedicated pursuit of truth and freedom in the face of dire consequences and horrific conditions. Humbert’s story begins after the Nazi invasion as one of the key organizers of the publication and dissemination of subversive pamphlet Resistance, which was meant to keep the truth alive and circulating in Paris in spite of Nazi propaganda. When later she was sent to a German labor camp, Humbert, like Penelope, Odysseus’ wife in The Odyssey, opted to sabotage all the work she was forced to do. Pair Agnes’s extraordinary story with a rich and contemplative brew made from the horrid, resuscitated Nazi-era philosophy, now carried on by extremist white men who rebrand themselves as “Alt-Right” and “white nationalist.” These terms try to hide the fact that they’re STILL literally espousing the extermination of an entire ethnic group. (Multiple, actually.) Give one of them an alt-handshake, harvest their tears, and remember Agnes’ fierce devotion to truth and justice even in the face of incarceration, torture, sickness, and tragedy as you drink.
Freedom Is A Constant Struggle – Angela Davis
Pairing: Tap Water
Speaking out passionately and persistently since the early 1970s against such diverse yet interconnected themes as racism, sexism, the prison-industrial complex, capitalism, the military-industrial complex, and more, Angela Davis contributed to and helped define a generation’s worth of resistance theory. As one of the honorary co-chairs for the 2017 Women’s March on Washington, it’s clear that her resounding influence still rings on today. Freedom Is A Constant Struggle is a connecting work that analyzes similar themes of resistance from the Jim Crow south to South African Apartheid to the Ferguson riots to the plight of the Palestinians. Most recently, Davis has traveled to Flint, Mich. to express solidarity with the citizens there who have been deprived of clean water for over three years now. This book, her most recent full-length publication, updates her theories on the interconnectedness of oppression and the need for total liberation. Pair this incredible book with fresh, clean water straight from your tap as a way to acknowledge your privilege and remind yourself that not everyone has the same privileges you do – and that we can all do better at supporting the marginalized communities in our home country and in our world.
Strength To Love – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Pairing: A vegan milkshake
Honor the sit-ins, bus strike, and marches conducted with endless perseverance and dedication inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr., and the people who worked with him, as you sip on a delicious beverage that simultaneously celebrates the liberation of all beings from oppression. While I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know as much about MLK as I should (his writings are on this year’s to-read list), I know that he fought long and hard for the right of all people, whatever color of skin, to enjoy equal privileges and protections under the law and in civil society. While MLK wasn’t a vegan (although his son, Dexter, is) and I certainly won’t put words in his mouth by claiming he would be if he were alive today, I do think that celebrating a lifestyle that refrains from oppression of all kinds is a great way to celebrate MLK’s commitment to throwing off systemic oppression in our society.
An Indigenous Peoples’ History Of The United States – Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Pair With: A barrel of oil
A similar book in idea to Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, this American Book Award winner retells American history from the perspective of the many tribes of Native Americans. Describing in vivid detail how Native peoples actively resisted the colonizing onslaught of white Americans, An Indigenous People’s History retells the American founding mythology from a new and illuminating perspective. As a part-Indian, a historian, and an activist in the international Indigenous movement for over forty years, Ortiz approaches the tale with an eye for the truth no matter how brutal, and with a sincere desire to amplify Native voices and stories. As the struggle continues today with such politicized projects as the Dakota Access Pipeline and the opening of Native lands for oil drilling, it’s more important than ever to understand our country’s oppressive and imperialist history. Read Ortiz’s brilliant retelling with a barrel of unrefined petroleum near at hand, and ask yourself, why would I want that shit near my water, in a drinking glass, or in my bathtub? And if I wouldn’t want it near me, why would anyone else?
So, there you have it! Five books for new activists and Resistance members, along with five quintessential drink pairings to enhance your appreciation for their lives and works. Get your hands on these books, start reading, and then get out there and start marching!