Andrew Gavin Marshall

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Open-Source Education and the People’s Book Project


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The People’s Book Project is a crowd-funded initiative to support the research and writing of a series of books studying ideas, institutions, and individuals of power… and resistance. The Project has been going for roughly a year and a half, and has yielded an immense amount of research and writing, all thanks to the generous donations of supporters, as well as readers who have shared and promoted the Project and articles.

While a great deal of work has been produced, I have focused my attention on finishing the first volume as soon as possible, with an emphasis on looking at the world in present day, at social, economic, and political institutions, ideas, and individuals who dominate and resist the current world order, asking the question: what is the nature of our society? In seeking to answer this question, I have set the focus of the first volume on the subjects of the global economic and financial crisis, the debt crisis in Europe, imperialism in the ‘age of Obama,’ poverty, exploitation, corporate power, environmental destruction, the encroaching police state, global governance, and conversely, resistance to all these areas: anti-austerity movements, student movements, indigenous movements, revolutions in the Arab world and beyond, Occupy, and the emergence of a global revolutionary impetus.

This book is intended to be an ‘introduction’ to the ideas and institutions of world power, to provide the reader with a better understanding of the nature of power, moving beyond mythology and rhetoric and closer toward reality: how does power actually function? Future volumes of the Book Project will aim to provide a far more comprehensive examination of our global system, its history, and the plethora of institutions which dominate, as well as the history of revolutionary ideas and actions.

It is essential, however, that the first volume focuses on present day issues, and further, that it is finished soon. In the past month or so, I have attempted to avoid overt fundraising activities, since it is very often the same generous individuals who consistently give to the Book Project, and I have instead been doing an increasing amount of work in getting commissioned articles and research projects for others, so that I may become more independently funded. While this is certainly a welcome change in my own life (getting paid to do what I love!), it adds a great deal to my plate, as time and energy spent researching and writing commissioned pieces is not spent on the book.

Nevertheless, I have been making time and putting in effort to moving as far ahead in the Book Project as possible. In the past couple months, I have written a great deal for chapters related to the global food crisis, land grabbing, global poverty, corporate and financial power, as well as imperialism (so far focusing on imperialism in Africa and the Arab world), and I have also completed a good deal of research for other chapters and areas. Progress is the name of the game, though the pace of such progress tends to sway according to financial imperatives. For this reason, I am asking for your support, dear readers, to donate to The People’s Book Project so that more time may be dedicated toward finishing the first volume in the next couple months.

I would also like to briefly touch on some ideas and plans as to where the Project may lead, since it is not merely dedicated to my own research and writing, but has a much wider objective: to help do my part in trying to change the paradigm of thought and action, to infuse individuals with information and arm them with knowledge so that they can use their own creative potential to change the world for the better. This Project is also dedicated toward the establishment of a new organizing, which is currently in the planning stages: The People’s Foundation. It’s objective would be similar, though it’s means would be much greater. It would be dedicated to research, open-source education, new media, bringing activists together, establishing exchanges and building bridges to similar organizations around the world. The People’s Book Project itself helps lay the groundwork of research upon which The People’s Foundation could be built and how it aims to function, what it hopes to achieve. Both projects are in the works, and aim to be a continuing and evolving process. One could say that it is an attempt to ‘walk the walk’ instead of merely ‘talking the talk.’ Research and writing have their place, but action is essential. My objective with the People’s Book Project is to help advance understanding and action.

These objectives are not possible without the generous support of readers, and that support is needed once again. I will continue to be providing samples from the Project as the work progresses, and am hoping to get out some pieces on the subjects of imperialism, war, and land grabbing in the very near future.

So thank you, dear readers, for your consistent and continuing support. None of this would be possible without you, and that is exactly the point: it’s called the PEOPLE’S Book Project because it does not result merely from my own research and effort, but only from what is made possible by the efforts of many, and for the purpose of benefit not merely to myself, but to many. Implicit in both the conclusions of my research and the function of the Project itself, is that nothing is possible without the combined efforts of many: the ‘individual’ is only made possible by the understanding that it is part of a collective, that the individual cannot exist without the group, without the many; the person cannot exist without the people. That is where the world’s solutions stand: in collective organization, initiative, and action, so that true individuality may flourish from the support of the many, so that the creative capacity of groups can outweigh the creative limits of single units.

The future is an exciting place. So please consider helping The People’s Book Project get there!

Sincerely,

Andrew Gavin Marshall

Andrew Gavin Marshall is an independent researcher and writer based in Montreal, Canada, with a focus on studying the ideas, institutions, and individuals of power and resistance across a wide spectrum of social, political, economic, and historical spheres. He has been published in AlterNet, CounterPunch, Occupy.com, Truth-Out, RoarMag, and a number of other alternative media groups, and regularly does radio, Internet, and television interviews with both alternative and mainstream news outlets. He is Project Manager of The People’s Book Project and has a weekly podcast show with BoilingFrogsPost.

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