Revolutionary Threads: Rastafari, Social Justice, and Cooperative Economics By Bobby Sullivan, 224 pgs.

Bobby Sullivan is likely known to Razorcake readers—he’s the singer of DC’s Soul Side. Beyond this, he’s a practicing Rastafarian and social activist. It’s fascinating to see how he weaves the threads of his life together in Revolutionary Threads.

Sullivan uses his lyrics as chapter headings throughout. The first section provides a quick discussion of the origin of Rastafari. From there, Sullivan provides historical incidents which spin off of alternate takes on contemporary history. He meticulously sources his work throughout, whether providing a Howard Zinn-like take on the settlement of America by Africans predating Columbus, or in discussing political prisoners like Marilyn Buck.

It’s fascinating to read how Sullivan practices his faith: in addition to writing this book, he does work with prisoners with cooperative grocer groups. Since Rasta is deeply anti-colonialism, Sullivan’s immersion in the punk activism of Washington DC informs his faith, and vice-versa. By all metrics, the work Sullivan does is punk—and it serves his own spiritual needs as well as the community. I had never made this connection with Rastafarianism prior to reading.

Each chapter herein works as a standalone, but comes together to form a greater whole which serves to illuminate Sullivan’s faith and the very understandable ways that his work does good and challenges outdated colonialist conventions. Revolutionary Threads is an engaging, lively, well-thought book which provides a picture of Rastafarianism in action, for punks and beyond. –Michael T. Fournier (Akashic, akashicbooks.com)