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Books, Literature & Ideas

Books, Literature & Ideas

Loving America and Resisting Trump

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  • The New Patriotism
  • Related: How activists have already scored victories against Trump's policies

Frida Berrigan, TomDispatch.com / Tikkun

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/Frida%20Berrigan%20%7C%20It%20Runs%20in%20the%20Family%20jacket%20illus.jpgFebruary 16, 2017 | So reality has inexorably, inescapably penetrated my life.  It didn’t take long. Yes, Donald Trump is actually the president of the United States. In that guise, in just his first weeks in office, he’s already declared war on language, on loving, on people who are different from him -- on the kind of world, in short, that I want to live in. He’s promised to erect high walls, keep some people in and others out and lock up those he despises, while threatening to torture and abuse with impunity.

Still, a small personal miracle emerges from this nightmare. It turns out that, despite growing up an anarchist protest kid who automatically read Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States alongside the official textbooks, I love this country more each day.  So I find myself eternally upset about our new political reality-show, about a man so thin-skinned he lashes out at everything and so insulated in his own alt-reality that no response to him seems to matter.

Frida Berrigan, a TomDispatch regular, writes the Little Insurrections blog for WagingNonviolence.org, is the author of It Runs In The Family: On Being Raised By Radicals and Growing Into Rebellious Motherhood, and lives in New London, Connecticut.

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How activists have already scored victories against Trump's policies, Adam Gabbatt, the Guardian

Through marches and dogged pursuit of elected officials, people across the US have helped to block some of the administration’s most anti-progressive policies

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Rocket Kirchner | All Politicians Are False Messiahs

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So what happens when that politician sells out and the people who invested all their faith in him or her won’t hold that politician accountable, but rather choose to look the other way and rationalize the destructive acts despite the flowery rhetoric? They become part of the problem. So here we have it: so called do-gooders obstructing the good, all in the name of the good.

Rocket Kirchner, Dandelion Salad

https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5046/5217412187_8fe295281b.jpg February 9, 2017 | Rousseau said that man is a social animal. Man is also a religious animal. In the socio-religio milieu there exists a deep messianic impulse. This impulse is expressed in a variety of ways. One of them is politics.

It does not matter what the motive of any politician is. What matters is the way we project our hope in that politician. Here in lies the rub. Invariably, sooner or later it is that projection and exaltation we give by supporting a politician that will let us down. It is this let down that makes all politicians false messiahs.

Rocket Kirchner, Writer, Dandelion Salad

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The end of ideology

http://www.thehindu.com/books/books-reviews/article17325843.ece/alternates/FREE_660/19NFTRUMP

  • A diatribe against the cultural decline in America also offers a way out
  • A review of America at War with Itself ~ Henry A. Giroux
  • Related: Table of Contents, Foreword, and the First Chapter from America at War with Itself
  • Related: Will Americans Submit to Despotism in an Urge to 'Escape from Freedom'

Shelley Walia, The Hindu

http://www.citylights.com/Resources/titles/87286100277470/Images/87286100277470M.jpg?1488730866008Hannah Arendt rightly declared that we are living in ‘dark times’ when there is a need to emphasise the value of education to the world that we engineer for future generations. “Education,” she said, “is the point at which we decide whether we love the world enough to assume responsibility for it and by the same token save it from ruin which, except for renewal, except for the coming of the new and young, would be inevitable. And education, too, is where we decide whether we love our children enough not to expel them from our world and leave them to their own devices, nor to strike from their hands their chance of undertaking something new, something unforeseen by us, but to prepare them in advance for the task of renewing a common world.”

It is in this context that Henry Giroux’s recent book America at War with Itself can be seen as a diatribe against the decline in cultural values in the U.S. and particularly the demise of revolutionary pedagogies that might give impetus to radicalism endangering the status quo. The sharp shift in American culture is apparently more towards abusive forms of power visible in predatory capitalism, citizen surveillance, domestic violence, gun-massacres by school children, and a deeply post-truth scenario of true lies and misrepresentation.

Shelley Walia is Former Professor at the Department of English and Cultural Studies, and presently, Fellow at Panjab University, Chandigarh.

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http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/PDF%20logo.jpgTable of Contents, Foreword, and the First Chapter from America at War with Itself

 



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Will Americans Submit to Despotism in an Urge to 'Escape from Freedom'? Conor LynchSalon / AlterNet 

  • The pioneering psychologist explained the rise of Hitler with an analysis that seems way too relevant now.
  • Erich Fromm Saw It Coming.
  • Related: Most People Today Want to be Propagandized

 

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Series | The Obama Legacy, Part 4: Obama Called Inequality ‘The Defining Challenge Of Our Time.’ He Didn’t Do Much About It.

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  • It’s a sad legacy.
  • This piece is Part 4 of a series on Obama’s legacy that Evergreene Digest  will be publishing over the next weeks.
  • Related: Obama's legacy of war, repression and inequality

Zach Carter, the Huffington Post

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01/05/2017 | In December 2013, President Barack Obama addressed representatives from anti-poverty nonprofits gathered in Washington, D.C.’s chronically depressed Anacostia neighborhood. He declared war on economic inequality.

“A dangerous and growing inequality and lack of upward mobility...  has jeopardized middle-class America’s basic bargain ― that if you work hard, you have a chance to get ahead,” Obama said. “I believe this is the defining challenge of our time: making sure our economy works for every working American.

“It’s why I ran for president,” Obama added. “It drives everything I do in this office.”

Zach Carte is the Huffington Post's Senior Political Economy Reporter, working out of Washington D.C. His story, "Swiped: Banks, Merchants and Why Washington Doesn't Work for You," written with Ryan Grim, was included in the Columbia Journalism Review's compilation Best Business Writing 2012.

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Previously in this series:

Related: 

Obama's legacy of war, repression and inequality

The record of the Obama administration and the character of the individual himself speak, in the end, to the structure of American politics—an ossified and reactionary political establishment that lacks any broad base of support, standing atop a cauldron of seething social tensions. The true legacy of Obama is the deepening of the crisis of American capitalism and the emergence of a new period of social and revolutionary struggles.

Joseph Kishore, World Socialist Website 

10 January 2017 | US President Barack Obama’s “farewell address to the nation,” scheduled for tonight, has been preceded by a concentrated media buildup on the theme of Obama’s legacy. This has included fawning tributes portraying the president as a brilliant orator, progressive reformer, visionary and man of the people.

Seeking to mold the narrative of Obama’s presidency, the White House put out a video over the weekend featuring comedians Ellen DeGeneres and Jerry Seinfeld, actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, former basketball star Michael Jordan and other celebrities extolling the “historic moments that prove, yes, we can create progress.” Such absurd and nauseating effusions testify not to the qualities or accomplishments of the 44th president, but to the intellectual, political and moral debasement of the American cultural establishment.

Joseph Kishore is an American activist and writer. He is the National Secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (United States) and a writer for the World Socialist Web Site.

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Will Americans Submit to Despotism in an Urge to 'Escape from Freedom'?

  • The pioneering psychologist explained the rise of Hitler with an analysis that seems way too relevant now.
  • Erich Fromm Saw It Coming.
  • Related: Most People Today Want to be Propagandized

Conor LynchSalon / AlterNet

http://www.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/erich_fromm_1974_2.jpg?itok=AvC_2jNV Eric Fromm Photo Credit: Müller-May / Rainer Funk, via Wikimedia Commons 

February 26, 2017 | President Donald Trump took his rancorous feud with the press to a frightening new level last week when he posted an inflammatory tweet that echoed tyrants of the past, calling the all-caps “FAKE NEWS” media “the enemy of the American People.”

As many were quick to point out, the phrase “enemy of the people” has a disturbing and violent history, and has long been used by totalitarian dictators to foster resentment and hatred of certain groups, and eventually to crush dissent and opposition. The infamous French revolutionary and Reign of Terror apologist Robespierre declared that the revolutionary government owed “nothing to the enemies of the people but death,” while the term was widely used in Stalinist Russia to single out dissidents, who were either imprisoned, executed or sent to the Gulag (in the end, almost all of the original Bolsheviks became “enemies of the people” during the great purge — which in reality meant enemies of Joseph Stalin).

Conor Lynch is a writer and journalist living in New York City. 

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Most People Today Want to be Propagandized, Daniel Lattier, Intellectual Takeout 

http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/sites/ito/files/propaganda_0.jpgIntellectually insecure and socially uprooted, many people are now desperate for some authority to cling to, someone who will give simple expression to the inklings of thoughts and instincts to which they can neither give adequate voice nor adequately live out. 

"We would rather be ruined than changed. We would rather die in our dread than climb the cross of the moment and let our illusions die." --WH Auden, English Poet  

 

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