From Graffiti to Movement Strategy — Read this Book!

Last week, I heard my man William Upski Wimsatt speak in SF during the tour for his new book Please Don’t Bomb the Suburbs. He had me at the title. Artistically and politically, I came of age in the late 90s reading Upski’s first book, called “Bomb the Suburbs” — a brilliant, hilarious defense of all things urban, not to mention a good play on words (to graffiti writers like Upski, to “bomb” something is to paint a piece.)

“Bomb the Suburbs” was a manifesto for the hip-hop generation, recommended by everyone from 2Pac to my freshman sociology professor. So, why 15 years later, did Upski write a new book asking us to ignore his own earlier advice?

In short (damn, I’m not gonna tell you the WHOLE book), it’s because he realized it wasn’t good advice. Morally or, more important, politically. Rather than “bomb the suburbs,” Upski’s new philosophy is more “organize the suburbs.” From insurgent hip-hop activist and journalist, he is now a progressive leader in the world of electoral politics. You know, voting and shit. His new book is the story of how he got from there to here — and a collective political/cultural history of the past 25 years.

It’s fucking brilliant, and while I don’t agree with everything Upski’s advocating (namely his faith in the Democratic Party), I appreciate the challenge he’s laid out to us. The book is about growing up — rather than being afraid of power, we need to get ours. And get it for our people, our cities, and yes, our suburbs too.

I got the book on Thursday, I’ll probably be done by tomorrow. Go buy it now!