Fight the Power & Parecomic: Two Graphic Political Books by Sean Michael Wilson

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Sean Michael Wilson is an Irish-Scot professional comic book/graphic novel writer, who often makes books on social issues, history, and politics and so his recent work might be of interest to readers. His most recent book, which came out last October, is Fight the Power, published by the New Internationalist and introduced by Tariq Ali. Fight the Power is described as ‘A Visual History of Protest Amongst the English Speaking Peoples’ and has a whole chapter on Ireland and Irish struggles.

Another one of interest is Parecomic, published by Seven Stories Press, which describes in graphic novel form the anarchist inspired participatory economics system of Michael Albert. The book includes an introduction by Noam Chomsky, who is also in the book several time – his first contribution to a book in graphic form.

Here are more detail on both books…

On Fight the Power

fightPower_thumbIn his famous history series A History of the English Speaking Peoples Winston Churchill seemed to think that history was about wars and made by great leaders.

Fight the Power! begs to differ and instead presents A Visual History of Protest Amongst the English Speaking Peoples.

Today’s occupy movements are part of a long history of struggle. This book visualises key moments in history where ordinary people have risen up and fought governments, corporations, even empires. When the 99% have stood up to combat exploitation and abuse or in pursuit of freedom of action and a better life.

This comic book covers 14 cases of such struggle over the last 200 years and in several English speaking countries including not just the US and UK but Australia, Canada, South Africa, Ireland, India and Jamaica.

  1. The Luddites and Swing Riots (1811-1832)
  2. The Battle of Peterloo (1819)
  3. Colonial Rebellions (1837-1865)
  4. Irish Rebellions (1791-1922)
  5. The Suffragettes (1903-1918)
  6. The Australian General Strike (1917)
  7. The Boston Police Strike (1919)
  8. The UK General Strike and the Battle of George Square (1918 & 1926)
  9. The Battle of Toledo (1934)
  10. Rosa Parks and the Bus Boycott (1955-1956)
  11. The Trial of Nelson Mandela (1964)
  12. Fragging (1969-1971)
  13. The Poll Tax Riots (1989-1991)
  14. Occupy (2011-)


On Parecomic

ParaComic_thumbParecomic is a graphic novel about something that affects us all: the system we live in–what’s wrong with it, and how we might be able change it for the better. Written by Sean Michael Wilson, and drawn by Carl Thompson, Parecomic is about Michael Albert–the visionary behind “participatory economics”–and his life’s struggle as a left-wing activist in the US.

Proposed as an alternative to capitalism, participatory economics (parecon, for short) values equity, solidarity, diversity, and participatory self-management. In Albert’s vision, workers and consumers councils use self-managed decision-making, balanced job complexes, renumeration according to duration, intensity, and onerousness of socially valued labor; and participatory planning.

Parecomic will guide readers through this anarchist-influenced economic system, alongside the biography that led to its development–beginning with the heady days of 1960s student demos and lifestyle rebellions; following the developments of the antiwar, civil rights, woman’s and Black Panthers movements; to the establishment of alternative media like South End Press and ZNet.

The recent upsurge in popular protest in the US and around the world shows that people are not happy with the state of capitalism. The Occupy movement, particularly, makes plain the desire for a better system, a model that will work for the 99%, not just the 1%. Parecon is one such model, and Parecomic brings this to life in illustrated form.


More About Sean Michael Wilson

SEAN MICHAEL WILSON is a comic book writer from Scotland, currently based in Japan, who has written fourteen books of comics and manga. His work includes a version of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol (with artist Mike Collins); Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights; Oscar Wilde’s A Canterville Ghost; The Japanese Drawing Room (with RING horror manga artist Sakura Mizuki); and the documentary book Iraq: Operation Corporate Takeover (with artist Lee O’Connor). His version of Sweeney Todd (with artist Declan Shalvey) is forthcoming. He is presently editing the second volume of the critically acclaimed AX: Alternative Manga; the first volume was selected as one of the top ten comic books of 2010 by Publishers Weekly. Wilson has received several grants from both the English arts council and the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation in support of his Japan-related publications.


One Response

  1. Justin O'Hagan

    February 18, 2014 8:48 pm

    Haven’t we met Michael Albert before somewhere?

    “Charles Fourier was born at Besançon on April 7, 1772. He studied at the local Jesuit high school, after which his family apprenticed him to various commercial concerns. During the early years of the Revolution, Fourier lived at Lyons, where he fought on the counter-revolutionary side and lost his inheritance in a series of business failures. Drafted in 1794, he was discharged for illness in 1796. He spent the remainder of his life in Lyons and Paris, earning a livelihood at odd jobs, living in cheap rooming houses, preaching his “universal harmony,” and waiting for the financier who would subsidize his utopian community, but who never appeared.

    Fourier first set forth his ideas in an article entitled “Universal Harmony,” published in the Bulletin de Lyon (1803). For the next 34 years he expounded them in a mountain of books, pamphlets, and unpublished manuscripts; including Theory of the Four Movements and General Destinies (1808), Treatise on Domestic and Agricultural Association (2 vols., 1822), and False Industry, Divided, Disgusting, and Lying, and Its Antidote (2 vols., 1835-1836). Although these works were written in a bizarre style that often defied comprehension and incorporated many eccentric ideas, they gradually gained Fourier a small coterie of disciples.”

    Marx said that the utopian socialist writings, while wrong-headed, had the soul of true poetry. He accused his contemporary, the anarchist Bakunin, of ‘schoolboy asininity’. The state of the planet in 2014 suggests that we haven’t got time to go down poetic blind allies again.

    David Schweickart , Loyola University Chicago calls Parecon, ‘nonsense on stilts’ and explains why in this essay: