Monday, April 17, 2017

Absolute Must Read for Radicals

Every hundred books I read, or so, I discover one to be so important and influential that I add it to my "legacy" collection. These are books that I will ultimately buy dozens of copies of to give to fellow activists, radicals and union leaders, as well as rereading it myself multiple times. Nelson A. Denis' War Against All Puerto Ricans, is now among that small handful of books.
You may be wondering how a book compiling events from decades ago in Puerto Rico is relevant today. It is relevant, because author Nelson A. Denis, in War Against All Puerto Ricans, has painstakingly researched and reported on events that represent a microcosm of every movement from our shared history that has ever sought to alter the status quo and threaten the status of unrestrained capitalism and the American government that exists, first and foremost, to protect profits over people.  

Pedro Albizu Campos,  leader of the Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico,
who devoted his entire life to the independence of his country
While Denis has the rare ability to compile historical evidence and facts into a compelling tale about the Puerto Rican Nationalists and their struggle for independence, the modern significance of this book for all of us is really about opposition research. It is, again, a condensed microcosm of how the United States Government and the capitalists it represents, have historically responded to every threat in the form of people's movements, trade unionism, and any activism that seeks to put the interests of people or the environment ahead of capital and the profit motive.
There have been hundreds of times when rights activists in this country were imprisoned, beaten, shot, harassed, followed, surveilled, hunted, and murdered. The story of the Puerto Rican people and the Nationalist fight for independence has all of this and more, in a condensed time-frame, and in a place where the American press showed little interest in reporting on the facts as they occurred. In short, it is THE manual to illustrate how far the 1% will go to achieve greater profits.
Again, this book is not merely another history book. It is a guide for modern activists, and modern radicals, providing real opposition research, and an understanding of exactly what to expect from capitalists, the government, local police, and every entity we, the people, are taught to believe in.
I urge every LGBT activist, every trade unionist, every civil rights activist, and every environmental warrior, to buy and read this book. Our shared interests are in our singular common enemies.
Link to buy this book on Amazon:
Author's Book Website:



  1. Thank you for sharing this information. 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of Puerto Ricans as US citizens. It is time that the nation knew about all this...since it is a part of US history.

    1. No. Thank you for writing this book and bringing it to our attention. I agree that this is an important part of US history. I am sincerely hoping that some of the activists who read this blog will get this book and be as moved as I was by the story. Because the most significant part of the story (I think) is that it isn't over yet. The 3.5 million AMERICAN citizens of Puerto Rico, and hundreds of thousands of Puerto Rican US Military Veterans and their families, are still being made to suffer by the actions and inactions of corporations and our government.

      I see a real opportunity for activists to make a big difference here. I would be willing to bet that US Congressional Representatives outside of urban centers with large Puerto Rican communities, can go a long time without ever hearing the words 'Puerto Rico' or 'Jones Act' (SEE VIDEO ABOVE of AUTHOR DENIS NELSON DISCUSSING THE JONES ACT) from ANY of their constituents.

      Thank you so much for all of the painstaking research you had to do to resurrect the story of Albizu Campos and the Nationalists fight for freedom. Everything that we have and enjoy in this world has been bought and paid for in advance by the bravery and suffering of past generations. They only ask in return that we remember their stories, their struggles, and, when ever possible, their name.

  2. What other books are on your "must read" list?

    1. Hmmm. It depends on who you are and what you do. But, generally speaking...

      NON-FICTION for Movement History:

      Slavery By Another Name (The Re-enslavement of Black Americans form the Civil War to WWII) by Douglas A. Blackmon.

      A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn

      The 1910 Slocum Massacre by ER Bills

      The Autobiography of Mother Jones (because, well, damn, its Mother Jones!) This is available free online here...

      Big Trouble: A Murder in a Small Western Town Sets Off a Struggle for the Soul of America by J Anthony Lukas

      There Is Power in a Union: The Epic Story of Labor in America by Philip Dray

      Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King's Last Campaign by Michael K. Honey

      Sacco and Vanzetti: The Men, the Murders, and the Judgment of Mankind by Bruce Wilson

      Triangle: The Fire That Changed America by David von Drehle

      The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Stalin's Russia by Tim Tzouliadis

      Okay, so I am a history buff. Let me know if you want me to go on.