Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Review of Truth & Dare! by Martin O'Beirne

 (This review first appeared on Martin O'Beirne's blog.)

Many thanks to Quincy Saul for sending me this copy of Truth and Dare - A comic book curriculum for the end and the beginning of the world.

The comic is essentially an ecosocialist curriculum, consistent with the narrative of Joel Kovel's book 'The enemy of nature - The end of capitalism or the end of the world'. A book which pointed me in the direction of many adventures. Quincy I'm sure more than anyone can relate to this. Joel also contributed to this ecosocialist horizons production.

At a cursory glance this comic book format offers a concise and lively way of describing many inconvenient but nonetheless necessary things - including a potted history of capitalism, enclosure of the commons, the class system, the role of the state, developmental patriarchy, the intrinsic value of nature and the extent of the ecological crisis. As you can imagine from the title, it goes straight for the jugular. That is its purpose.

A brief look at some of the sections:

'The Nightmare is real' is a collection of sobering sound bites that tell us exactly where we are at ecologically/socially.

The section 'The Enemy of Nature' demonstrates the most concise explaination of the historical development of capitalism you'll find with due note of its relation to and ever increasing stranglehold on the natural world.

'Money is green' concerns that mother of contradictions 'green capitalism' and is pretty repulsive, featuring a 'fat cat' explaining to someone from the 'third world' how nature is considered an 'externality' in the quest for profit, and how by 'internalizing the externality - we give nature a price and open new markets in ecosystem services'.

'Socialism for suckers' is ironically sectarian featuring a caricature last century authoritarian state socialist.

'The ecosocialist horizon' is a beautifully illustrated-by-pencil section and serves as an intro to the Ecosocialist Horizon project and a particularly nice complement to Joel Kovels' book. There are some great quotes in this section too from the likes of Hugo Blanco, Frederick Douglas, Helen Keller, Andre Gide and Crazy Horse. An image of a spread from this section is included below.

The artwork in the section 'Now's the time' is particularly 'stand out' featuring lyrics and poems, Bob Marley included.

Comics aren't everyones's cup of tea, but then this isn't like any other comic. If this appeals, you may also like the manga Marx comic adaptation of Capital made by dangerous minds. I like imagery and I'm always interested in finding creative new ways to explain complex ideas. Each of the sections in truth and dare are by different illustrators. There is no fancy photo-shopping and what-not, this is 'real' as are the messages within. It achieves what it set out to do and as with Kovel's work generally, it does not point you toward the path of least resistance.

Great work by the ecosocialist horizons collective.


The Enemy of Nature - The end of capitalism or the end of the world.

Ecosocialist Horizons

Truth and Dare - A comic book curriculum for the end and the beginning of the world.

Can be bought from Autonomedia

Saturday, January 11, 2014

About the author

The writing of this book was a collaborative process involving many, but ultimately the text can be blamed on Quincy Saul. He is an organizer, musician, writer and illustrator residing in the occupied territories of the USA.

He is the author of “Reflections of Crisis: The Great Depression and the 21st Century,” published by Lambert Academic Publishing, and the co-editor with Fred Ho of "Maroon the Implacable: the Collected Writings of Russell Maroon Shoatz," published by PM Press. He is the illustrator of "The A to Z Characteristics and Qualities of Being a Revolutionary," by Fred Ho, published by Autonomedia. He writes columns for The Africa Report and for Capitalism Nature Socialism. More of his writings can be found on his blog, "Yo No Me Callo," at

As a musician, he is a composer and performer on the clarinet. He is the co-producer with Fred Ho of “The Music of Cal Massey: A Tribute" featuring the debut first full recording of Massey's historic opus “The Black Liberation Movement Suite”.

He studied political economy, history, music and more at Hampshire College, graduating in 2010. He also holds a graduate certificate in labor studies from the City University of New York, and diplomas from the Narco News School of Authentic Journalism, and the Centro de Español y Lenguas Mayas Rebelde Autónomo Zapatista.

He can be contacted at

Table of Contents...

Here is a sneak preview at the table of contents:


These six pages take you full circle, from the beginning to the end and back to the beginning that is now. Starting with our creation story, the big bang, and the formation of the cosmos, we witness the evolution of life on earth. Humanity emerges into creation as part of this whole. For the majority of our existence as humans we have lived in fundamental unity with nature. Only recently do we witness the rise of patriarchy, surplus, class societies, cities, mercantilism, capitalism, and our present ecological crisis.

(Illustrated by Ethan Heitner)

This chapter dares to look at the big picture, to study the full horizon of our toxic twilight. So often we see and understand everything as separate and disconnected. Sometimes we try to avoid thinking about these things at all. It is painful and frightening to confront the horrors of our world. But we must look into these horrors, and let them look back at us. Only then can we understand them, and understand ourselves, and the meaning of the day ahead. As Georg Hegel said, “the Truth is the Whole.” 



This chapter is based on the book “The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World?” by Joel Kovel. The story of the rise of patriarchy, class society, and capitalism is told again, now with more historical and analytical detail. 


This chapter comes in three parts: "Money is Green Too," "Environmentalism for Dummies," and "Socialism for Suckers." We will raise some eyebrows and step on a few toes in these chapters. We admit that we are trying to be provocative. The green capitalist, the dummy environmentalist, and the socialist sucker are all caricatures and stereotypes. Here we invite you to join us in what Shake-spear recommended: “Minding true things, by what their mockeries be.” (Henry V, Act 4)


Ecosocialist Horizons is an organization that formed in the time between the Arab uprisings and the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011. Based in New York City, it aims to build partnerships with the ecosocialist movements that are largest in the global South. But the ecosocialist horizon is much more than an organization – it is a vision of convergence, of a movement of movements, returning to ancient roots even as it soars toward unprecedented futures.

What you need to know about climate change, in two pages. 
Enough said!


If you are looking for ways to get involved, this is the chapter for you! The metamorphosis is where it all comes together: the beautiful, delicate and dangerous ecstasy of transformation. It is a perfect storm of mass struggle and prefiguration: People fighting and struggling for justice and dignity, and also at the same time creating, growing, nurturing, and bringing into being the new world in our hearts. This is the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced. But tens of thousands of years of ancestors are behind us and with us. Fear and ignorance are on the side of extinction; of submission, and of despair. History and the cosmos are on the side of evolution; of dreams and of destiny. 

This is it! The crescendo, and the moment we have been waiting for: Not the end, but the beginning! All of the world's profound spiritual and revolutionary traditions converge for the preservation of life and beauty, in a world and time in which both are threatened.

Truth and Dare is not just a comic book but a teaching tool, including ten pages of resources and references for all ages and interests. 
Here is an excerpt from "How to Use This Book":

Strictly speaking this is not just a curriculum, but something more. This is a swiss-army book, a tool for everyone and for every occasion. A conventional curriculum, which must be designed for a specific learning environment, would limit the use to which this book could be put. Instead we have tried to provide the foundation for the construction of many curricula – as many as possible! We strongly believe that you don't need a diploma of higher education to be highly educated. We imagine this book in all settings and with all age groups, from elementary schools through universities; and outside the classroom, in homes, workplaces, grassroots organizations and beyond. To this end, we include scholarly books and children's books, textbooks and novels, cartoons and articles, documentaries and feature films. It aspires to be engaging and compelling for everyone from veterans to rookies. 

The Red Black and Green Revolutionary EcoMusic Tour

Truth and Dare will be launched in February 2014, together with the Red Black and Green Revolutionary EcoMusic Tour in Vermont and New York City.

This tour will feature a 16 piece big band full of world-class musicians, performing the music of two revolutionary composers of the 1970s and the 21st century, Cal Massey and Fred Ho.

A free copy of Truth and Dare will be distributed to everyone who attends the tour events in Vermont. Extra copies will be available for sale.

For more information about the EcoMusic Tour, including press release, performance locations and dates, posters, and more information about the music and the composers, please visit the tour website at:

Praise for Truth and Dare!

A great presentation of our collective dilemmas, one that will provoke intelligent and productive debate about what we need to do to save ourselves and our descendants in this moment of the structural crisis of our modern world-system.” 
-- Immanuel Wallerstein, 
Yale University 

Should be a prescribed text for all undergraduate students in every discipline, and is an essential toolbox for activists from a variety of backgrounds. Shop stewards, it will open your minds to the imperative of ecosocialism; social justice activists, it will impress upon you the imperative of changing production processes; environmental activists, it will force you to address class inequality and global injustice. There really is no way around it – read it, use it, get organized.” 
 -- Janet Cherry, 
South African activist and historian, 
former political detainee, and researcher for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Felicitaciones! This teaches more than the many boring pages which I, among others, have written.”
 -- Hugo Blanco, 
leader of the Campesino Confederation of Peru; 
editor of the journal Lucha Indigena 

Against all the odds, Art dares to tell the Truth: this Comic collection is a fantastic achievement. In its diversity, it puts artistic imagination, surrealist irony, black humor, and spiritual energy at the service of the Ecosocialist struggle - the decisive fight against the Enemy of Nature and Humanity: Kapitalism!”
 -- Michael Löwy, 
co-author of the International Ecosocialist Manifesto

About Truth and Dare

"Truth and Dare: The world is ending, 
and the revolution has begun!"
"Truth and Dare" is a comic book and a curriculum, a graphic novel and a gateway to further knowledge and action. With fifty pages of illustrations from nine different world-class artists, and a ten page curriculum and resource list, it is a crash course in world history, political economy, sociology, gender studies, ecology, climate change and the world-wide ecosocialist struggle for humanity and nature in the 21st century.

Truth and Dare is written mostly by Quincy Saul, together with the Ecosocialist Horizons editorial collective, including Seth Tobocman, Fred Ho and Joel Kovel. It is illustrated by members of the World War Three Illustrated Collective, including Christopher Cardinale, Ethan Heitner, Seth Tobocman, Kate Evans, Paula Hewitt Amram, Teofilo Olivieri, Jordan Worley, and Mac McGill. The covers and design are by Arabelle Clitandre.

This book is designed for all settings and for all age groups, from elementary schools through universities; and outside the classroom, in homes, workplaces, grassroots organizations and beyond. 

"This book is unconventional in that it challenges many mainstream assumptions and attitudes. Not only does it question the powers that be, but it also challenges many of those claiming to have solutions for today's profound problems. James Baldwin said that “artists are here to disturb the peace,” and we have tried with every aspect of this book – the illustrations, the words, and this curriculum – to be artistic. We hope to start conversations, and most of all to help people move into ever-more educated and organized forms of action." 

It is published and produced by Ecosocialist Horizons, with the support of The World War Three Illustrated Collective, Scientific Soul Sessions, Big Red Media, Autonomedia and the Toolbox for Education and Social Action.