A useful volume in the fast-growing library of resistance, complete with concluding manifesto.

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NO IS NOT ENOUGH

RESISTING TRUMP'S SHOCK POLITICS AND WINNING THE WORLD WE NEED

Viewing the Trump-ian train wreck, Intercept senior correspondent Klein (This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, 2014, etc.) insists that she told us so.

Ten years ago, in The Shock Doctrine, the author described the neoliberal project of weakening already feeble economies in the developing world and then looting them, as happened in places such as Chile and Iraq. She considers the unfolding policies of the Trump administration the domestic version of that shock program, an “all-out war on the public sphere and the public interest,” and one that no longer bothers to disguise itself behind the “mask on the corporate state’s White House proxies” but instead is cheerfully and busily at war with anything that resembles the social contract. Klein is rather too quick to catalog her earlier insights, but her point remains: in a welter of discontent, voters propelled Trump to leadership because they believed his message that he was too wealthy to need the corruption of the system and only he knew how to fix it. Something else is developing, of course. Writes Klein, “he reflects all the worst trends I wrote about in No Logo, from shrugging off responsibility for the workers who make your products via a web of often abusive contractors to the insatiable colonial need to mark every available space with your name.” So it would seem. The author spends much of the book describing and decrying the elements of the “corporate coup” that Trump represents, arguments that will be familiar to most of her core readership but are handy to have in one place. More interesting are her planks in an evolving platform of what to do about the mess, from being sure to vote (“yes, I am going to cast a ballot in this deeply flawed and constricted electoral system, but do not mistake that vote as an expression of the world I want”) to setting a progressive “reverse shock” in motion.

A useful volume in the fast-growing library of resistance, complete with concluding manifesto.

Pub Date: June 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-60846-890-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Haymarket

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2017

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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