Review in Quotes: Radical Reads from PM Press

Independent publisher PM Press specializes in “radical and stimulating fiction and nonfiction books” with a leftist (not liberal) bent. I recently enjoyed reading the following two anthologies and went through a ton of post-it flags as I read. Both collections contain essays focusing on families and parenting. I thought I’d share some of my favorite quotes from each, because they best represent how awesome and intersectional each of these titles are.

Revolutionary Mothering – Love on the Front Lines
edited by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, China Martens, and Mai’a Williams

This anthology “centers mothers of color and marginalized mothers’ voices” because “the challenges faced by movements working for anti-violence, anti-imperialist, and queer liberation, as well as racial, economic, reproductive, gender, and food justice are the same challenges that marginalized mothers face every day.”

“The purpose of feminism is to end itself…The purpose of feminism is to one day find ourselves where we don’t need to fight for human rights through the lens of women’s oppression.” (Lisa Factora-Borchers)

“The concept of ‘mother’ is less a gendered identity than a transformative, liberating practice irrespective of historically determinist rigidities. Children are not individual private property, but they are also not objects through which we seek to achieve our political goals or address our emotional needs. To do so would violate children’s human rights.” (Loretta J. Ross)

“Too many times we have seen what is called radical be something that not everyone could afford, not everyone was included. The underlying racism, white privilege, classism—as well as other systems of oppression—still not addressed.” (Mai’a Williams)

“The public education system systematically dispossesses children and young people of languages, ideas, and subjectivities that are oppositional to those of state and capital interests. We must decolonize education by redefining the rules and forms of knowledge production.” (Cynthia Dewi Oka)

“For marginalized women in this country the issue of choice is not as simple as the right to abortion because this government practiced involuntary hysterectomies on so many of our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, elders, and Tias. A woman’s right to choose goes both ways.” (Esteli Juarez)

Rad Families – A Celebration
edited by Tomas Moniz

This anthology “honors the messy, the painful, the playful, the beautiful, the myriad ways we create families.” Parents and writers from diverse communities “strive to be honest and vulnerable in sharing their stories and experiences, their failures and their regrets.”

“[Removing woman/girl-demeaning language from my vocabulary] was the most demanding piece of my transformation. Hate and disrespect are so insidious because they colonize your language and reify their negative influences every time you speak.” (Shawn Taylor)

“The values that have driven our parenting—love, respect, and social responsibility—will lead our boys to be good conscious people, but they won’t help them navigate, unpack and shift the unconscious biases built into our cultural norms. As Howard Zinn beautifully illustrated, being good white men in a collectively racist, sexist, homophobic, and classist society won’t eliminate oppression from our lives.” (Craig Elliott)

“I think most of us have realized that the traditional nuclear family is a sham. It’s an oppressive patriarchal structure that, while it works for some people, doesn’t work for everyone. We, however, have very few alternatives ever presented to us.” (Nathan Torp)

“Using gender nonspecific (and role nonspecific) language to address people as a group and as individuals leaves room for people to bring their own identities and relationships. When someone calls me ‘she’ or ‘your mommy’ or address a group I’m in as ‘all the mommies,’ I have to either be silent and let my children see me take a step into the closet or I have to tell someone that they are wrong and make them feel all uncomfortable and then explain who I am and apologize for myself, taking the risk that they will be weird to me or, even worse, to my kid.” (Simon Knaphus)

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