Marxism influenced the labor movement and gave rise to labor unions

Marxism influenced the labor movement and gave rise to labor unions

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Karl Marx, German Philosopher (5 May 1818-14 March 1883) offered in “Das Kapital 1,2,3” and “The Communist Manifesto,” an economic worldview via the use of political, social and economic “critique.” “Critique” by Marx became a means of observation and questioning, in this case, social questions.  The main crux of Marx’s argument had to do with how class struggles elicit social change and inevitably overthrows capitalism and subsequently the ruling class or “bourgeoisie.”  Marx’s “ideological writings” such as “Das Kapital 1,2, & 3” and “The Communist Manifesto” propagandize, lead to movements, frame  and provide ideas from which a movement can evolve “ideologically.”  Key Marx concepts like the use of the “left” or Communism or Socialist or capitalism or labor or class struggle or bourgeoisie or Proletariat were incendiary and gave rise to militancy.  The disciples were those who adopted Communism or Socialism and became the key drivers of labor movements that formed unions in the twentieth century.    Around the turn of the twentieth century, Marxist ideas influenced the goals of the labor movement and gave rise to its subsequent labor unions by way of its militant minority.

The bourgeoisie according to Marx’s “The Communist Manifesto” are “untenable and destined to fall.”  The companion and enabler of the bourgeoisie  was the “Proletariat,” whose nomenclature suggests an obedience word “pro-let,” or a professional renter or personage for hire “pro-let,” where ..tariat could suggest torn apparel or tare suggestive of weight or worth weight in gold or a professional renter, who is without property.  Needless to say, the word is infused with working-class description and suggestive of this personage or group who lives so far as his self- sale permits it.  “The Communist Manifesto,” details it, “Development of a class of laborers who live only so long as they find work and who find work only so long as their labor increases capital.” The last lines in “The Communist Manifesto” claim that “The Proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains.  Working men of all countries unite!”  Marx’s audience, therefore, became the working class and his mission in their regards was to overthrow diverse established regimes of ruling class in favor of a Socialist model which was meant to replace capitalism. Who became this ignited group of organizers was thought to emanate from The Communist Party in search of working-class revolutions or Socialists who were also meant to replace capitalists.

According to Micah Uetricht, in her seminal article which details the rise of the unions, “U.S. Union Revitalization and the Missing “Militant Minority,”” in the “Labor Studies Journal,” “Militant minorities were radical leftists with a commitment to militant unionism and were the hardest fighters, dedicated organizers, and built union cultures of solidarity.” Within the context of the Great Depression, New Deal Era, World War II, the Bolsheviks, the Civil Rights Movement and post emancipation-activism during this period of the 20th century was strong, forceful, successful and enduring.  According to Uetricht, unions during this period were building “worker power,” and during the “60’s and 70’s public sector workers walked off jobs in mass illegal strikes.”  Unions were beginning to map a movement.  They used campaign strategies and paid for candidates to represent workers.  Uetricht states that unions “made political fixes using politicians for minimum wage hikes.”  It was a period where employment relations were stirred and workers connected to management.  According to Anam Ullah, there were “worldwide labor problems” and “those arguing from a radical perspective draw principally from the work of Karl Marx.” (Ullah, pg. 36) Archer shared this point and cited in his paper on “The State and its Unions,” “(His) approach can be seen as an early example of the new institutionalism then emerging as a response or development of neo-Marxian class theories.” (Archer, 201)

Socialists were thought to look at abolition in “The Communist Manifesto,” and improve conditions for all, even the most favored. (Marx, 52) Brewer goes on to describe how “’collective action’ achieves a genuine socialist society.” (Brewer, 93) Brewer describes the evolution of socialism “Slavery was just in a slave society and unjust in a capitalist society.  Exploitation is just in a capitalist society, but unjust in a socialist society.” (Brewer, 92) People began to utilize “’Social Science’ according to Brewer as a process by which to see inequality as exploitive.”(Brewer, 91)  Social science was used for small experiments and to write social laws and was thought to be miraculous.  Unions were dreaming of experimental realization of social utopias as was suggested by Marx’s “The Communist Manifesto.”

Unions were trying to address capitalism wrote Brewer, where capitalism, “gets something for nothing or much for little, at the expense of others.” (Brewer, 92)  Brewer wrote about “forced domination or unequal power as the precondition of and consequence of exploitation which was a feature of advanced capitalism.” (Brewer, 91) Pamphlets were distributed by Marx and others and were highlighted in “The Communist Manifesto” as “the enlightenment of the working class.” (Marx, 53) Brewer stated that “collective action eliminates exploitation.” (Brewer, 92)  “Early institutional relations evolved and conditioned union identity, which was in the end the blue print for advancing interests through the unions.”(Gall, 146) Actions like worker representation, resistance to management and collective bargaining preserved jobs and enabled change.  Marx described a torn aristocracy in “The Communist Manifesto,” and “how aristocracy was meant to lose sight of its own interests and adopt the interests of the working class.”

A consequence of the labor unions that Marx may have inspired, were according to (Jun Chen, et al., 775) that “we found that labor unionization is negatively associated with stock price crash risk. However, Chen went on to prove in her paper that “labor unions are able to lower the probability of stock price crash risk by reducing managerial risk-taking behaviors.” (Jun  Chen, et al., 775).  Additionally, many labor unions were said to “use political power to improve profits and reduce competition through regulating capture of government agencies and by lobbying for favorable legislation and government contracts and decisions.” (Jared Stanfield, 1101)  Jake Rosenfeld illustrated how “Rod Blagovich signed an executive order granting collective bargaining rights to nearly 50,000 childcare workers after a multiyear lobbying campaign by the SEIU (Service Employees International Union) backed Blagovich’s 2002 Gubernational bid with manpower and financial resources for congressional Democratic  efforts.” (Jake Rosenfeld, 31)  Apparently, to get things passed, unions ascertained how to get leaders on their side.  Legal enactments became imperative when “wages weren’t in keeping with inflation or when the government felt that wages were rising faster than the rate of inflation.” (Williams P. James, 166).  James highlighted how collective bargaining “allowed unions to distort Democracy and public employees had more influence over elected officials than other citizens.”

Marxian theories influenced the direction of the labor movement which led to union organizing in America in the 20th century.  Ideas around class struggle interpreted by Marxist critique as Bourgeoisie and Proletariat illustrated a problematic capitalism destine for social change.  Marxian ideas were said to inspire social change and led a generation to Communism and Socialism.  The particular generation led to Communism and Socialism was thought to form a militant minority who went on to organize unions within the 20th century labor movement.


Archer, Robin. The state and its unions:  Reassessing the antecedents, development and consequences of new deal labor law. Labor History. May 2013, Vol. 54 Issue 2, p201-207. 7p

Brewer, John. Exploitation is the new Marxism of collective action. The Sociological Review, Vol 35(1), Feb, 1987 pp. 84-96, Routledge & Kegan Paul

Chen, Jun; Tong, Jamie Y.; Wang, Wenming; Zang, Feida. The economic consequences of labor unionization:  Evidence from stock price crash risk. Journal of Business Ethics. Jul2019, Vol. 157 Issue 3, p775-796, 22p

Gall, Gregor. Richard Hyman:  An assessment of his industrial relations: A Marxist introduction. Capital & Class. Mar2012, Vol. 36 Issue 1, p135-149. 15p

Marx, Karl. Capital Vol. 1,2 &3 (Das Kapital Vol. 1,2 & 3), Lexington, Kentucky. Stief Books, July 2019

Marx, Karl; Engels, Freidrich. The Communist Manifesto.  Lexington, Kentucky. Brandywine Studio Press. 1888.

Rosenfeld, Jake. What unions no longer do. Cambridge, Massachusetts:  Harvard University Press, 2014. Ebook

Stanfield, Jared; Tumarkin, Robert. Does the political power of nonfinancial stakeholders affect frim values?  Evidence from labor unions. Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, June 2018, v.53 iss.3, pp. 1101-33

Uetricht, Micah; Eidlin, Barry. U.S. union revitalization and the missing “militant minority”. Labor Studies Journal. March2019, Vol.44 Issue 1, p36-59. 24p.

Ullah, Anam.  Is Marxism still valid in industrial relations?. Middle East Journal of Business. Jan 2016, Vol. 11 Issue 1, p31-36. 6p


Up to Snuff #99: Writing as Development

Up to Snuff #99:  Writing as Development

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Writing can be perhaps best utilized as “development.”  Writing can develop countries or cultures as in the cases of “Arabian Nights,” or “Wild Irish Rose,” that were used to develop the Arabs and Irish respectively.  Writing can be used to develop cultural branding or build the imagination of their readers as with books such as Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre,” or Emily Bronte’s, “Wuthering Heights.”  Books elicit ideas and personalities form around them.

When making a book list for a reader one notes that she may develop their knowledge, teach them lessons, develop their values, develop their conversation and develop their personality as if by prescription.

Needless to say, when seeking development in general, one may pursue a literary strategy, whether it is to develop a person or a country or a company or a field of knowledge or a campaign.  Should one embark on the development of the arts or of writing itself or economic development for a people, a literary pursuit may be appropriate.  Some of the best developed presidential campaigns began with books.

Things may write into existence.  Another way of looking at development may be looking at the individual development of great fiction.  When writing a great book of fiction one may research words, research language, research setting, document scenes from life experience for liveliness, research, research, research and on and on to write a perfected book by putting all in.  The books result may be a development of the imagination for example and the books start may also be a kind of thorough development of research, ideas and descriptions.

Perhaps how well the book develops a person, place or thing correlates to its longevity or rate of success.  How well was it developed and what did it develop?  Perhaps the writer set out to teach you to be rich?  Perhaps the writer is developing naturalists or passionate types or maturation.

A writer may set out to develop a political party, then develop the political party’s leaders, movements, speeches and campaigns.  Power, in the end, is in development.  One may view it as teachings or wise guide, or a kind of personal triumph that graduates an individual from perhaps complacent to passionate.  One may cultivate beauty or work on big societal ideas and be consciously guided to make improvements.

Based on Harvard’s Press, many Harvard business students generate start-up capital with their initial enterprise as a literary pursuit.  One woman wished to generate capital to end homelessness by documenting it in detail in a literary format to use proceeds to generate power to foster change to oppressive conditions in failed economies.  Books, in the end, can develop both ideas and financing for ideas.

The first rung on a successful ladder may be a literary rung.  One may utilize writing to look through a variety of lenses whether they are social, socio-economic, political, cultural, etc.  By looking through many lenses one may view a variety of perspectives and come to develop historical writing or world view or generate accurate documentation around a world event.  Writing may come to develop an idea about an event that inevitably replaces the event.

If one were to pursue a “power to the people!” strategy, perhaps development goals would serve.  A writer may choose to develop her people’s personalities, their inspiration, knowledgebase, their maturity, their history, their love ability, their culinary.   Literary development becomes a real and tangible “power to the people!”

Stay tuned for forthcoming book “Up to Snuff,” By Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu due out in 2020.

Up to Snuff #98: Cambridge Companion Starter Book List

Up to Snuff #98:  Cambridge Companion Starter Book List

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

“Cambridge Companions  are a series of accessible thought guides written by leading experts offering lively introductions to major writers, artists, philosophers, topics and periods.” (

All books are preceded by the prefix “The Cambridge Companion to:”



D.H. Lawrence

Charles Dickens

Brass Instruments

Travel Writing


Walt Whitman


Nathaniel Hawthorne

Joseph Conrad


Crime Fiction

George Orwell


Henry David Thoreau

Latin American Novel


Creative Writing

Literature and Disability

Latina American Literature

American Gay and Lesbian Literature

Tennessee Williams

Oscar Wilde

The Writings of Julius Caesar

Literature of the American West

Reminiscences of Rose Bonheur

Life and Letters of Hannah E. Pipe

The Principle of Comparative Philogy (Dept. Linguistics)

The Abbot’s House at Westminster

Abeokuta and the Camaroons Mountains (Richard Francis Burton)

Aborigines of Tasmania

Aborigines of Victorias

The Gardeners Dictionary

Abstracts of the Chartularies of the Priory of Monkbretton

L’Astronomie Chinoise

Asa Gray

A Treatise of the Eternal Chemical & Physical Characters of Minerals

Body and Mind (History of Medicine)


A Budget of Paradoxes (Mathematics)


Francis of Assisi

T.S. Eliot

Richard Wright

Sayyid Ahmed Khan


Narrative Theory






Samuel Beckett




W.B. Yeats









Up to Snuff #100: Daddy’s Convalescence Book List 8-12-2019

Daddy’s Convalescence Book List

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu


(Should you read this say a little prayer for my father who fell off a roof and broke himself into many, many pieces and survived, but barely)

The Arabian Nights, Sir Richard F. Burton

The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx

Capital 1,2,3, Karl Marx

Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte

Don Quixote, Cervantes


Another Country, James Baldwin

Technical and Professional Writing, Kennedy Montgomery


Tales of Mystery and Imagination, Edgar Allan Poe

Sommerset Maugham

The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe

Siddhartha, Hermann Hesse

The Emperor, Kapuscinski

Shadow of the Sun, Kapuscinski

Slaughter House Five, Kurt Vonnegut

The Stranger, Albert Camus

A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khalid Hosseini

A Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

A Man Without Qualities, Rober Musil

The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The Secret Life of Bee’s, Sue Monk Kid

Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes
The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan

Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe

Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

China in 10 Words, Yu Hua

Chevkov Plays-Uncle Vanya …

The Tale of Genji, Murasaki Shikibu


Right Hand Man to the Champ, Tasha Robinson-White

The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories, Jay Rubin

Nigger of Narcissus, joseph Conrad

Roland Barthes

The Rhinoceros, Ionesco

Autobiography of Gandhi

Surrealist Manifesto, Breton

Cities of the Interior, Anais Nin

Henry & June

Tropic of Cancer

Epic of Gilgamesh


Formal Language Theory, Noam Chomsky

Writing Guidelines for Engineering and Science, Michael Alley

The Myth of Sisyphus, Albert Camus


The Kingdom of God in Within You, Tolstoy

Irish Folktales, Keats

Falun Gong Writings

The Art of Responsive Drawing, Nathan Goldstein

Keys to Drawing, Dodson

Up to Snuff#91: Ideological Writing

Up to Snuff #91:  Ideological Writing

By Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Ideological Writings

  • Does it propagandize?
  • Does it lead to movements?
  • Does it provide ideas from which a movement can evolve?
  • Does it frame?

Eg.  Karl Marx’s “Capital 1,2,& 3”  or “The Communist Manifesto”

How did key Marxist ideas, via “ideological writings,” influence the goals of labor unions around the turn of the twentieth century? Marx’s “ideological writings” such as “Capital 1,2, & 3” and “The Communist Manifesto” propagandize, lead to movements, frame and provide ideas from which a movement can evolve ideologically.  Key Marx concepts like the use of the “left” or communism or socialist or capitalism or labor or class struggle or bourgeoisie or proletariat were incendiary and gave rise to militancy.  The disciples were those who adopted communism or socialist and became the key drivers of labor movements that formed unions in the twentieth century.

Up to Snuff #84: What are MLA and APA?

Up to Snuff #84:  What are MLA and APA?

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu


MLA is often in present tense.

Modern Language Association

“MLA Handbook Eighth Edition”

Writing in Humanities, English, Philosophy

“The main purpose is to analyze works of art, literature, music, philosophy, religion and or history.” (SNHU, ENG_122 Comp)


APA Past Tense

“APA Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association”

APA is writing in the Social Sciences, Psychology, Sociology, Social Work, and Business

“The main purpose of the paper is to report on original research or to review literature previously written about a research topic.” (SNHU, Eng_122 Comp)

Fit, Lean & Beautiful #42

Fit, Lean & Beautiful #42

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

A photo of a 30 year practicing yogi filled me with joy.  For many starting out it may be nice to study this book list, for others to study and enhance their practice.  Yoga is a very positive and spiritual experience that the whole world should enjoy!  Yoga is something good to make a habit of and find yourself 30-40 years later still lean, supple and limber.


Yoga Book List

Yoga for Beginners, Emily Oddo

Workout Labs Cards 1 & 2, Yoga Cards

Teaching Yoga Essential Foundations By, Mark Stephens

I Am Yoga, Susan Verde

Yoga Beyond the Poses, Adrienne Bible

Living the Sutras a Guide to Yoga, Wisdom Beyond the Mat   Kelly Di’Nardo

Ashtanga Yoga The Practice Manual   David Swenson

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali   Sri Swami Satchidananda

Learn to Meditate:  The Yoga’s, Chakras, Concentration Visualization, Liberation, Sujantra Mckeever

The Mindfulness Journal, Barrie Davenport

The Ultimate Guide to the Face Yoga Method, Fumiko Takatsu

The Art & Business of Teaching Yoga, Amy Ippoliti

Trauma Sensitive Yoga in Therapy, David Emerson

Overcoming Trauma Through Yoga, David Emerson

Hot Yoga Masterclass, Gabrielle Raiz

The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga’s, Bernie Clank

A Systematic Course in ancient Tantric Techniques of Yoga and Kriya, Swami Satyananda Saraswati

The Heart of Yoga Developing a Personal Practice, T.K.V. Desikatar

Yoga Nidra, Karmini Dasai

Good Morning Yoga, Mariam Gates

Yoga Sequencing Designing Transformative Yoga Classes, Mark Stephens

Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Swami Muktibodhananda

The Language of Yoga Complete A to Z Guide to Asana Names in Sanskrit Terms and Chants, Nicolai Bachman

Yoga for Osteoporosis, Loren Fisher

Tibetan Yoga, Ian A. Baker

Restorative Yoga, Sue Flamm

Yoga Fitness for Men, Dean Pohlman

Chair Yoga, Kristin McGee

Yoga of the Subtle Body, Tias Little

B.K.S Iyengar Yoga, The Path to Holistic Health, B.K.S. Iyengar

The Healing Yoga Deck, 60 Poses & Meditations to Alleviate Pain & Support Well Being, Olivia H. Miller

The Yoga Handbook an Inspirational Reference for Teaching and Home Practice, Stephanie Keach

The Inner Tradition of Yoga A Guide to Yoga Philosophy for the Contemporary Practitioner, Michael Stone

Embodied Posture Your Unique Body and Yoga, Stacy Dockins

Yoga for Classrooms, Lisa Flynn

65 Yoga Classes, Tim Howell

Yoga Mindfulness Practices for Children, Jennifer Cohen Harper

Functional Anatomy of Yoga, David Keil

The Yoga Plate, Tamal Dodge

Yoga Resource Practice Manual, Darren Rhodes

Yoga as Medicine, Timothy McCall

Yoga Pretzels, Tara Guber

Restorative Yoga for Life, Gail Boorstein Grossman

Namaslay, Candace Moore

The Wealthy Gardener Life Lessons on Prosperity, John Sarforic

Reiki for Beginners, Jessica Fly

Little Book of Yoga Themes, Anjaney C. Handra

The Yoga of Eating and Transcending Diets and Dogma to Nourish the Natural, Charles Eisenstein

Living Your Yoga:  Find the Spiritual in Everyday life, Judith Hanson Lasater

The Fighters Kitchen 100 Muscle Building, Fat Burning Recipes W/Meal Plans

Yoga Bunny

Body Builders Kitchen, Erin Stern

100 Weight loss Bowls, Heather Whinney

Yoga for Healthy Aging, Baxter Bell

Light on Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar

Power Yoga for Athlete’s, Sean Vigue

The Path of the Yoga Sutras, Nicolai Bachman

Your Spine, Your Yoga, Bernie Clark

Birth Wisdom, Yoga Remedies and Journal, Julia Piazza

The Yoga Calm for Children, Lynea Gillen

Yoga Mind, Rev Mind from Inside Out, Suzan Colon

Yoga the Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness, Erich Schiffmann

The Essence of Lightness Roadmap to Peak Performance & Self Mastery Also Historical Fiction Kung Fu, Tom Fazio

Perfectly Imperfect:  The Art and Soul of Yoga Practice, Baron Baptiste

Ten Minute Yoga for Stress Relief, Lisa Shea

Yoga for Scoliosis, Elise Browning Miller

Preliminary Course for Beginners Yoga in Action, Geeta S. Iyengar

Yoga Notes How to Sketch Yoga Postures, Eva-Lotta Lamm

Marvels Marvelous Yoga, Yoga for People, Inspired by a Raccoon, Andrea Rumery

Self Massage & Joint Mobilization of Traditional Thai Yoga, Reusi  Dat Ton part I Handbook, David Wells

A Beginners Guide to Taking Your Yoga Beyond the Mat, Alanna Kaivalya

Yoga for Wellness, Gary Kraftsaw

Yoga Frog, Nora Shalaway

Hatha Yoga Pradipike, A.G. Mohan

Ashtanga Yoga, Gregor Maeble

Kids Yoga Challenge Pose Cards, Sara J. Weiss

The Tibetan Yoga of Dream & Sleep, Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche

How to Read Signs, the Origin of Angels Signs and Symbols, Kaya & Christiane Muller

Insight Yoga, Sarah Powers

Yoga Bio Mechanics, Stretching Redefined, Jules Mitchell

Relax into Yoga for Seniors, Kimberly Carson

Yoga Adjustments Philosophy Principles & Techniques, Mark Stephens

Ashtanga Yoga Practice Cards, Keno MacGregor

Upgrade Your Breath, Logan Christopher

Yoga Games For Children, Danielle Berma

Yoga and the Path of the Urban Mystic, Darren Main

2,100 Asanas, Daniel Lacerda

Light on Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar

Yoga Anatomy, Leslie Kaminoff

Yoga 40 Exercises for Beginners, Sophie Godard

Yoga for Everyone 50 Poses for Every Type of Body, Dianne Bondy

How Yoga Works, Michael Roach

The Practice of the Yoga Sutra Tigunait, Pandit Rajmani

Yoga, 4 Manuscripts in 1, Elliot Wood

The Key Muscles of Yoga, Ray Long

The Poses of Yoga, Ray Long

On Yoga Architecture of Peace, H.H. Swami Chidanand Saraswatju

Goodnight Yoga:  A Pose by Pose Bedtime Story, Mariam Gates & Sarah Jane Hinder

The Teacher Appears 108 Prompts to Power Your Yoga Practice, Brian Leaf

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga, Deepak Chopra

The Secret of the Yoga Sutra, Samadhi Padu

The Yoga Mind, Rina Jakubowicz

Yoga for Beginners, Cory Martin

Yoga Body & Mind Handbook

Yoga Dice, 7 Wooden Dice, 1000 Possible Combinations

Teaching Yoga Beyond the Poses, Sage Rountree

The Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book

Science of Yoga, Ann Swanson

The Yoga Bible, Christina Brown

Yoga:  The Top 100 Best Yoga Poses, Susan Hollister



Up to Snuff #78: General Classics Book List

Up to Snuff #78:  General Classics Book List

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

The Handmaids Tale, Margaret Atwood

1984, George Orwell

Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Of Mice & Men, John Steinbeck

Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka

Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen

The Stranger, Albert Camus

The Old Man & The Sea, Ernest Hemingway

Frankenstein, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly

Jaluladdin, Raffi Beyou Miloyan

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte

The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger

Animal Farm, George Orwell

Romeo & Juliet, William Shakespeare

Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

Lord of the Flies, William Golding

The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde

Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen

War & Peace, Leo Tolstoy

The Kite Runner, Khalid Hosseini

Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Moby Dick, Herman Melville

Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden

Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand

Catch 22, Joseph Heller

Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marques

Brave New World, Aldous Huxley

The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Road, Cormac McCarthy

A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khalid Hosseini

The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis

Watership Down, Richard Adams

Life of Pi, Yann Martel

The Illiad, Homer

Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas

Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

Ulysses, James Joyce

Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

The Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien

The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank

A Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Dracula, Braun Stoker

Les Miserables, Victor Hugo

Crime & Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Slaughter House Five, Kurt Vonnegut

David Copperfield, Charles Dickens

A Man Without Qualities, Robert Musil

The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Alices Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll

Emma, Jane Austen

For When the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway

Great Expectations, Charles Dickens

Middle March, George Eliot

The Odyssey, Homer

Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Truman Capote

The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver

Swann’s Way, Marcel Proust

The Stranger, Albert Camus

The Trial, Franz Kafka

Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery

Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens

The Stand, Stephen King

A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque

Sophie’s Choice, William Styrn

Persuasion, Jane Austen

The Secret Life of Bee’s, Sue Monk Kidd

The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway

Flowers of Algernon, Daniel Keyes

The Republic, Plato

Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut

Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert

The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkein

East of Eden, John Steinbeck

Tess of the Durbervilles, Thomas Hardy

The Phantom of the Opera, Gaston Leroux

The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath

Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis

The Thornbirds, Colleen McCullough

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum

Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess

Doctor Zhivago, Boris Pasternak

The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafun

The Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas

As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner

The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri

Vanity Fair, William Makepearce Thackray

The Color Purple, Alice Walker

My Antonia, Willa Cather

Macbeth, William Shakespeare

The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri

The Master of Margarita, Mikhail Bulgkov


Tale of Genji, Murasaki Shikibu

Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathon Swift

Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway

Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe

The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer

Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf

The Complete Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi

Reaching Lolita in Tehran, Azar Nahsi

Foundation, Isaac Asimov

Faust, Johann Wolfgang van Goethe

The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway

Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain

Don Juan, Lord Byron

House of Spirits, Isabel Allende

Arabian Nights, anonymous

Rebecca, Daphne Dumaurier

The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling

Mary Poppins, P.L. Travers

The Wasteland, T.S. Eliot

The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan

Around the World in 80 Days, Jules Vernes

Siddhartha, Herman Hesse

Finnigan’s Wake, James Joyce

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson

Like Water for Chocolate, Laura Esquivel

Othello, William Shakespeare

Les Fleurs du Mal, Charles Baudelaire

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, Sogyal Rinpoche

Mansfield Park, Jane Austen

The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison

Factotum, Charles Bukowski

The Velveteen Rabbit, Margery Williams Bianco

Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe

Metamorphoses, Ovid

Orlando, Virginia Woolf

The Man in the Iron Mask, Alexandre Dumas

White Teeth, Zadie Smith

Waiting for Godot, Samuel Becket

In Cold Blood, Truman Capote

Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

Year of Wonders, Geraldine Brooks

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

The Red & The  Black, Stendahl

Ethics, Baruch Spinoza

Jude the Obscure, Thomas Hardy

Lost Illusions, Honore de Balzac

Cat’s Eye, Margaret Atwood

Candide, Voltaire

The Tell Tale Heart & Other Writings, Edgar Allan Poe

The Story of My Life, Helen Keller

On the Road, Jack Kerouac

The World According to Garp, John Irving

Botanical Shakespeare, Gerit Quealy

The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin

The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje

Orientalism, Edward W. Said

The Golden Notebook, Doris Lessing

The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood

The Second World War, Winston S. Churchill

Aeneid, Virgil

Where the Sidewalk Ends, Silverstein

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou

Aleph and Other Stories, Jorge Luis Borges

The Waves, Virginia Woolf

Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

Fit, Lean & Beautiful #40

Fit, Lean & Beautiful #40

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

One day one may wake up and choose to be “outdoorsy.”  The journey starts when you start to plan your outdoors life.  You may need a car with racks on top for example, to be able to transport kayaks.  You may look at RV websites for a Winnebago.  You may stop at the Secretary of State for a State Park membership and map.  There are local beach websites one may also research.  Then of course beach activities like bringing a volley ball or beach ball, Frisbee or aquatic shoes to the beach.  Some beaches promote artistic endeavors, where you fill your van with a table and an easel and paints then set up at the beach to paint the vista or boats or people.  You may venture off to lodges or remote locales that you arrive by boat and walk the nature trails etc.

It’s worthwhile to scout local, state, regional and national parks and locales and collect and study maps.  There are dunes and caves to be explored across the country.  Look in the book “Caves and Caving:  A Handbook and Guide to American Caves-from simply enjoying them to professional spelunking,” by Don Jacobson & Lee Stral.

The common things one needs to lead an adventurous and outdoorsy life are things like: tents, back packs, coolers, maps, kitted out van, cooking utensils, binoculars, kayaks, canoes, boats,  rig up for bikes on back of car,  simple outdoors clothing, art supplies, sporting or gaming apparatus, fishing poles, water sports equipment, books, and journals. It’s good to buy a car with possible trunk bike rack and roof boat rack.

You can look at magazines like Midwest Living to find out about remote lodges in Michigan.  You can look at the cabins and lodges for rent or sale on Craigslist.  You can purchase within a natural setting or on a lake or you can vacation in natural areas around the world.

You can picnic frequently or stay in tune with fruit harvests or flower bloomings. Travel to treks, mountain ranges, waters or forests.  You can engage in intensely beautiful studies and place on your calendar, perhaps weekly gardens. Convene around the fire.  Buy a kite.  Take a pilgrimage.  Pack up a back pack and go exploring around an area with picnic and snacks.  You can grill a variety of things even pineapples to serve with yogurt.  Travel down a coast and rent a cottage with good sunsets. Travel to a cider mill in season and go apple picking. You can use natural beauty products from like Himalaya Lotion or rose water spray.

You can plant a garden and your own ecosystem.  You can bring the outdoors indoors and grow an indoor vegetable garden with pots and plastic trays or egg cartons.  You can buy windsocks or wind chimes, or sew a teepee, or put up a Bedouin tent in the backyard.  You can light a fire and sing songs.  You can go for long walks or runs.

You can tie and dye in the backyard or dye fabrics.

Happy & Existential Birthday to Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu May 28, 2019

Happy & Existential Birthday to Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu May 28, 2019

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

This year I was planful about my journey forward which is one of my favorite pastimes.

I thought I would craft an original career as a scholar, artist, international teacher, diplomat and author.

I envisioned teaching parts of the year abroad.  I imagined myself either starting a school, running a department, or teaching a semester here and a semester maybe in Ghana or Mexico.

I adopted the new vision to be an “international teacher.”

The other thought I had was how an artist succeeds.  I think there are plucking grounds for ripe and primed artists via artist residencies.  I was at the Studio Museum in Harlem and The Saatchi Gallery showed up to see artists in residence.  In Europe, there are residencies like the Rijksakademie that also connect artists to European galleries.  Artists in art residencies have completed BFA and MFA, have a body of graduate and professional work, professional studio-they are vetted artists and ripe for the picking.  Also their associates within these programs are other artists that become colleagues and make introductions and form their creative circle.  You get mentorship at residencies that polish the artist.  Perhaps that is something someone like me should do, both go to residencies or perhaps run one in Michigan or in Ghana.

What I think galleries do or should do is keep databases of their groups or pools of artists and keep building on these artist profiles and send them briefs for appropriate shows.  So artists are revolving in different shows.

We need in America more residencies for artists where artists are connected to galleries.  There are new emerging markets for online art sales like with the Saatchi Gallery that are pursuing high and low strategies and price points with print and original sales-where everyone walks out with something.

One thing that many art departments failed to recognize is the need for art writing to bring art to life where the viewer has more information and ability to engage.  The Sotheby’s Institute has an online certificate course in art writing.

I am still having many thoughts about giving and philanthropy.  There need to be backbones in communities.  You have to know when not to be poor but to find a way to make yourself rich because you’re the backbone.  When you need to provide jobs and shouldn’t stop thinking until you have achieved appropriate wealth and vision strategy.  When you have not occasional monies, but regular monies and look to models like the Salvation Army that runs big thrift stores to power shelters etc.

I am thinking about successful systems.  I am thinking about when art provides  “ideas and inspiration” and when art is “functional” and provides a viable solution to a problem or then, is it no longer art?

An existential birthday for me has been buying spiritual books every year around my birthday.  I got: “Ceremony,” by Leslie Marmon Silko, “The Masters and The Spiritual Path, Climb the Highest Mountain Series,” By Mark Prophet, “Foundations of the Path,” Mark. L. Prophet, “The Path to Attainment,” By Mark L. Prophet.

This year I gave myself a ton of gifts which was a thrill.  They are still on the way to me.  I got myself a “birthday shirt” which is light blue with daisy embroidery.  I ordered a bicycle pump and will start cycling again this season when it arrives.  I got a picture of the ocean. I got a risograph print from artist Ryan Molloy.  I got a piano theory book.  I played “Happy Birthday” on the piano several times.  I am attempting to memorize the notes.   I ordered three pairs of shoes, 2 summer sandals and a pair of green New Balance.  I got tart pans.  I baked and baked:  Brownies a la mode, peanut butter cookies, poppy seed muffins and lemon bars.  I got serving trays and a large bowl good enough for paella.  I imagined my future dinner parties.  I got a pink sheet.  I got a house cleaning house dress that is pastel/ carnation/ frosting colors.  I got a nightgown.  The nightgown reminded me of dogs and fireplaces.

My mother sent me some money.  Another friend in Chicago sent a blender for some margaritas.

I got Bruce Lee Video’s, Willy Wonka, vintage Disney, I got Chinese Music, some musicals and foreign language tapes.  I have been loving both cassette tape and videotape.  I got some plastic containers to organize my school work station.  I got a new curling iron.  I got some “Aveda Stress-Fix” oil perfume that smells divine.  I got rose water spray.

I applied to a writing program and researched another writing program and both filled me with the joy of anticipation.  I got a “Pocket Style Manual” by Diana Hacker (writing) that covers clarity, grammar, punctuation and mechanics, MLA/APA/Chicago/CSE, usage and grammatical terms.

I got an “Intermediate Algebra” book by D. Franklin Wright/Bill D. New.  I am a big fan of the highly useful algebra.  I thought about books, informational books, culturally defining books like “Castaneda” or “Wild Irish Rose” or “Arabian Nights.”  I thought about Creative Non-Fiction and Poetry.  I thought about placement within knowledge.  I am working on a book about Interdisciplinary Studies.  I thought about learning.  I thought about auditory then recognition in early learning and throughout life and in advertising, this strange link, how one comes to know, how one comes to have.  I thought about analysis and how it makes you way smarter.  There’s tacit knowledge, but there’s graduated and developed thought.  Becoming a thinker.

I started a book log this year.  Our local Ypsilanti library is recommending that children read about 1000 books a year.  I am aiming for longer books maybe 388 books this year.

Those are some of my main thoughts on this 2019 birthday.  I am really happy to be so peaceful and serene.  I spray rose water on my hair to catch the beauty of the rose to it.