Two special events this weekend on (1) inequality; and (2) whistleblowers

(contributed by jslives)

This weekend whistleblower and author Peter Van Buren will be in Boston for two very special events at Community Church of Boston (565 Boylston), as well as at least one book reading elsewhere. Peter has a lot to say on many topics we all care about, and I hope you’ll be able to see him while he’s here.

FRIDAY, MAY 16, 7:30-10:00PM
An Evening with Peter Van Buren:
Ghosts of Tom Joad in Today’s Great Recession
With Music and Refreshments (wine, cheese, etc.)
Suggested donation, $10–flexible; sliding fee

Peter Van Buren, who spent more than two decades working as a foreign-service officer in the U.S. State Department, is a prolific author, as well as co-producer of the new documentary “Silenced.” He will lead a lively discussion of his most recent book, Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99Percent, an exploration of the causes and effects of ever-deepening economic inequality in America and how average people are getting by in today’s downsized, outsourced, and minimum-wage economy.

Tom Joad was the central character of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, the Depression-era classic, published 75 years ago this month. Many of the economic hardships faced by the fictional Joad family then–increased mechanization of work, home foreclosures, soup kitchens, joblessness– are similar to those faced by “the 99 percent” in today’s parallel Great Recession.

Ghosts tells the story of radical changes in the American way of life through the experiences of a single family, living in a Rust-Belt town whose factory has closed. It is based in fact, told through fiction. (Similarly, Grapes told the story of the itinerant Dust-Bowl Joad family, forced to move from what had been a thriving farming area and to seek jobs, dignity, and hope elsewhere.)

SUNDAY, MAY 18, 11AM ff.
Sacco-and-Vanzetti Award Ceremony
(Open to the public)

Mr. Van Buren will also be accepting CCB’s 2014 Sacco-and-Venzetti Award at CCB next weekend, as a whistleblower himself and on behalf of all whistleblowers. His last book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, is an honest examination of often-misguided U.S. “reconstruction” priorities and efforts in post-war Iraq. That book brought him a Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction award; but it also drew the attention and ire of the State Department, and of an administration with an unprecedented record of prosecuting whistleblowers, instead of rewarding them for telling the truth. Falsely charged with revealing classified information without government authorization via We Meant Well, Peter became entrapped in a long legal battle that ultimately cost him his government career, but fortunately, not his freedom.

Copies of Ghosts of Tom Joad will be available for sale and for signing during both of these events. (And feel free to bring along your copy of We Meant Well, or of Why Peace–a book to which Peter contributed a section–to CCB for author autographs, too.)

More information available on request, including book reviews, Peter’s recent articles on living from one McJob to another (a fate common to those who’ve lost their government careers in recent years), and much more. And please tell friends with #StrikeDebt and other Occupy offshoots about the Friday event; those concerned about the fate of truthtellers, about the Sunday event–or tell everyone about both!