You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.
— James Baldwin
On Trump’s inauguration day, we filled the streets in protest. The following day, we marched with an estimated 3 million women around the country. While there are no protests or marches happening today, the writing on the wall is apparent: now is the time to organize and mobilize against Trump, against fascism, against U.S. imperialism.
My feet are still aching but my heart is achingly fully. Two marches in two days is a new record for me but I intend to keep on going, for as long as the world I live in resembles the oppressive reality of the present. Today, an offering: reading for resistance.
I’m finishing up Juan Felipe Herrera’s Notes on the Assemblage (Amazon | Indie Bound) and it couldn’t be more timely as he writes about the struggles of black and brown folks through poetry. He writes poems about immigrants and workers, odes to working-class heroes, and letters to intimate figures in a way that commemorates and affirms their work and influence.
Doing the work that’s needed at this critical time can only be strengthened by reading the kind of literature that aids the struggle for justice and liberation. Books that expand our consciousness, drawing from important lessons of the past.
To survive, democracy needs a truly radical, truly independent press more than ever before. We need to create a culture in this country in which reading and resistance go hand-in-hand.
— Howard Zinn
Haymarket Books compiled a list of books to make 2017 a year of resistance and it includes revolutionary literature that would continue to inspire us in the struggle. Here’s a few from the list:
Literary Hub also came out with a list of recommended reading by writers for the next four years, with recommendations from poets like Ocean Luong and Eileen Myles.
A local bookstore in San Francisco, City Lights Bookstore, also came out with their own pedagogies of resistance. What I love about this list is that it is more inclusive, with resources for organizing in the queer community.
I’m thinking of compiling all these resources in the blog at some point and make it an evolving list. The next four years is going to be a rough one, and we’ll need all the help we can get. If you have other resources, leave them in the comments below!
For now, read and resist!
Pia Cortez is a writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She runs a book blog called Libromance where she reviews books and publishes literary features with a queer Filipino immigrant lens. She is a contributor at Hella Pinay, an online magazine for Filipino-American women and at New Life Quarterly, a literary magazine based in Oakland, California. She is currently working on her first novel.