THE NEW AMERICAN CRISIS: Radical Analyses of the Problems Facing America Today by Greg & Stuart Sahulka--Eds. Ruggiero

THE NEW AMERICAN CRISIS: Radical Analyses of the Problems Facing America Today

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An uneven collection of broadsides from the counterculture of complaint. In this gathering of pamphlets, interviews, and commissioned essays, editors Ruggiero and Sahulka, publishers of the Open Magazine Pamphlet Series, tough it up in the face of the conservative age. Left stalwarts like David Dellinger (who makes the curious claim that there are more protests occurring now than in the 1960s) and Noam Chomsky have at the failure of those of like mind to get together and make The Revolution. ""Progressives,"" Joel Rogers writes by way of explanation, ""have forsaken even the ambitions of a mass politics."" Rogers advances some interesting ideas for ways in which the Left can stake out a new share in American politics. So, too, does economist Juliet Schor, who sees hope for an eventual leftward swing in what she candidly calls ""the slaughter of the Democrats in the 1994 midterm elections."" The contributors' takes on American politics may be of lesser interest to general readers, however, than are a set of translated documents from the front lines of Mexico's Zapatista Army of National Liberation, who face a crisis of their own. The sense of despair that runs through this volume is suitably postmodern, but much of the rhetoric is solid '60s: Corporations are out to conquer the planet; Somalia was invaded on behalf of Big Oil; Saddam Hussein uses chemical weapons, but we used napalm in Vietnam. ""Now the Cold War is over,"" Dellinger says, ""and the power-elite is desperately seeking replacements such as the war on drugs (except those brought in regularly by the CIA) and a series of invasions in Grenada, Panama, Iraq, and Somalia."" And so it goes. All in all, comfort food for those who believe that the Trilateral Commission runs the world and that everything bad is fascist, but of little avail to anyone seeking a principled analysis of the nation's woes.

Pub Date: Feb. 12th, 1996
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: New Press