IMAGINE by Frances Goldin


Living in a Socialist USA
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Passionate essays imagining a socialist America.

Social activists Goldin, Debby Smith and Michael Steven Smith gather 31 essays by historians, social scientists, economists, journalists, psychotherapists, poets, reform advocates, a science fiction writer, a musician and a physician. Occupy Detroit leader Dianne Feeley dismisses capitalism—it “works for the 1 percent, but it’s a disaster for the rest of us”—in one solid chapter, and other essays explore how socialism can foster equality, creativity and justice. Arguing that “who goes to prison is inevitably related to the role that the economic and political elites assign to persons in this society,” Angela Davis suggests radical ways to transform the justice system by learning from traditional societies and considering “non-retributive” justice. Blanche Wiesen Cook, biographer of Eleanor Roosevelt, reminds us of community-building efforts by such reformers as Jane Addams and Crystal Eastman; journalist Arun Gupta proposes a socially sustainable food system; journalist Dave Lindorff proposes universal health care; educator William Ayers writes that the “ethical core of teaching toward tomorrow must be designed to create hope and a sense of agency and possibility in students.” The concluding section contains 10 essays on “How to Make a Socialist America.” Filmmaker Michael Moore and physician Joel Kovel reprise their rallying speeches at the Occupy Wall Street movement. Historian Paul Le Blanc argues persuasively for a third American revolution mounted by “a broad left-wing coalition” that could spark a mass socialist movement. Socialism, he writes, “involves people taking control of their own lives, shaping their own futures, and together controlling the resources that make such freedom possible….Socialism will come to nothing if it is not a movement of the great majority in the interests of the great majority….People can only become truly free through their own efforts.” 

Le Blanc’s cogent, well-informed essay sums up the book’s main thrust: Only a politically aware, socially committed populace can effect important and lasting change.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-06-230557-2
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Perennial/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2014


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