Work on the book is coming along nicely. The chapters that are listed under my current People’s Grant of a history of American/Western imperialism in Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and East and Southeast Asia are perhaps a larger goal than I had anticipated. I have done a great deal of research for all of them, finished the Latin American one, am well into the Middle Eastern chapter, and still have yet to write the other two, which makes it quite a hefty undertaking. They generally appear to be 50 pages per chapter (unedited, rough draft), and so, the grant of $800 was a rather large underestimation considering I am essentially writing a short book out of it, so any extra donations would be greatly appreciated.
I have finished up until the Suez Crisis in Egypt, changing Western imperial ideas, have been doing research for the Algerian War of Independence, and have written about American/Western interventions in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine/Israel, and elsewhere. It’s quite a hefty chapter. Again, I am going through the official documents declassified by the U.S. government, referring to Nasser as an incredible threat as a result of his Arab Nationalism and “non-alignment” with the West or the Soviet Union (always to the threat of a good example!). A fascinating history, and one which is important to the development of the book.
As for my next People’s Grant, I will aim to write two to three chapters, covering the following: history of race/racism, slave trade, origins of social welfare/social services, role of poverty in society, abolition of slavery, Reconstruction, North-South compact, expansion of prisons/punishment systems, prison system as new form of slavery with forced labour, black education, urbanization/poverty and race, development of ghettos, role of philanthropic foundations in managing the poor/black population, creation of the Welfare state as a system of social control, Civil Rights Movement/black liberation (the role of foundations in this process), re-emergence of prison labour systems, expansion of poverty/debt, and much much more.
Essentially, it would amount to a social, political, economic and cultural history of race, poverty, welfare, and the State in the modern era. A good deal of research has been done for it, and it’s truly fascinating and, I think, will be one of the more interesting aspects of the entire book project, and one which is incredibly important.
I think I will begin fundraising for this People’s Grant at some point later this month, in order to try to raise the necessary funds for the chapters, in order to push me to finish these current ones faster (without making them superficial), and also because the last Grant has nearly run out, and also because in the United States, it is Black History Month, and it seems appropriate to begin including black history into the book project at this juncture. Without black history included in this project, we fail to provide anywhere near a radical history of our modern world.
One thing I can say I have learned from this first People’s Grant is that I must increase the amount I seek to raise, and decrease the amount of chapters I seek to write. $800 for four chapters was a rather large gap between work done and amount received. I have been productive, but even so, it amounts to $800 for presumably 200 pages (single spaced). I think I will have to organize future People’s Grants on a more realistic basis. But this was, after all, the test grant, to see if people would support this new method of raising money, and to see if it would get me to be more productive in producing finished products, which it has. It has kept me focused and dedicated, I just have to be more pragmatic in the goals I set, both in terms of funding and writing.
Thanks for all of your support,
Andrew Gavin Marshall is an independent researcher and writer based in Montreal, Canada, writing on a number of social, political, economic, and historical issues. He is also Project Manager of The People’s Book Project.