Literary Events

Jonathan Simon

When: Wed., Nov. 28, 7 p.m. 2012

One of the top-selling books at Bay Area bookstores this year was Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow, which examines US policies of mass incarceration and the way that labeling black and Latino citizens "felons" has stripped them of their rights to vote, get jobs, and go to school. Jonathan Simon's 2009 book Governing Through Crime: How the War on Crime Transformed American Democracy and Created a Culture of Fear adds another angle to the discussion. He traces a direct connection from our country's general lack of confidence in Big Government to politicians' search for new ways of governing and controlling the population. Simon, a law professor at UC Berkeley, concludes that the outcome led politicians to redefine Americans as "victims," and points to several fear-based trends to make his point. The war on crime was the primary vehicle for achieving more control -- a massive, undefined war that led to metal detectors at schools, mandatory drug screenings at the workplace, and gated communities springing up around every urban center -- all the better to keep us safe and scared. Join Simon for a thought-provoking discussion on Wednesday, Nov. 28, at Revolution Books (2425 Channing Way, Berkeley). It's a timely discussion, post-election. 7 p.m., free. 510-848-1196 or

Azeen Ghorayshi

Price: free

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