Welcome to History Is A Weapon!

       If this is your first time at the site, it can look a little daunting. To help you navigate, we'll spell out how everything is organized so you can find what you need.
       This is an online Left reader focusing largely on American resistance history. The readings are organized in sections ("Chapters"). If you are struggling with a particular question, you can go that chapter. For example, if you want to know "Why are there so many people in prison?" you can go to "Chapter 3: The Long Chain". We'll include a good starter essay here for each.
       If you aren't dealing with a particular question, feel free to work your way through all the starter essays and head back to the issues that stirred you the most. Here we go:
  1. What is this America? Three books by authors trying to redefine what America is, the horror and the potential. We're a little biased, but Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States is a fine beginning.
  2. Learning To Surrender The role of education: How does a system teach us about itself? Malcolm X describes his education and its effects on him in this excerpt from "The Autobiography of Malcolm X"
  3. The Long Chain These essays tackle the relationships between the economy, police, prison, and slavery. A good starting point is Christian Parenti's talk based on his book "Lockdown America"
  4. Voices From The Empire People all over the world have identified what the American system means for them and what they have to do. The next section identifies how this is a world system and how the world has responded. Walter Rodney addresses the relationship between a Black American Prisoner and the international struggle in his short essay George Jackson: Black Revolutionary.
  5. Looking Inward There comes a moment when those inside the core examine the relationship to the colonized. Here, we examine those questions, starting with Bartoleme de Las Casas in his Brief Account of the Devastation of the Indies.
  6. Raising Our Voices Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave and abolitionist, was asked to give a Fourth of July speech while slavery still existed. His fiery talk is what this section is about: People within America recognizing that the American promises ring hollow.
  7. Against The War Machine Americans speaking and acting out against war is the next subject. Don Mitchell got a chance to speak to the bureaucrats of the military and talked about Americans as people of the world living under the same empire.
  8. Repression James Madison outlined what was needed to keep Americans from enjoying the fruits of democracy too much. Written over two hundred years ago, his essay, Federalist 10, identifies ways to control people that were impossible then.
  9. From Resistance to Revolution If you've read through all of this, you'll probably be itching about what is to be done. There are numerous examples and one excellent one is Socialist Feminism: A Strategy for the Women's Movement. It is long, but readable and in-depth.
  10. Appendix A: Maps Everybody loves maps!
  11. Appendix B: The Future Is All We Have Because knowing is only half the battle.

       If you haven't been in school for awhile (or are in a terrible school), some of the words might trip you up. Dictionary.com and Wikipedia.org are two good resources to help you. And because we're your friends, you can email us if you have any questions.

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