[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book. Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]
Jon Walker, Host:
A large part of Get up, Stand Up is trying to answer the question: why?
Why is it, despite living in a “democracy” where most people now strongly oppose the wars, our government continues to wage them? More importantly, why have the American people remained so passive as the corporatocracy acts in such blatant opposition to the clear democratic will of the people? Why, despite opposition to the wars getting steadily stronger, have the protests against them been getting increasingly smaller?
Bruce Levine concludes that the problem isn’t that we are a “center-right” country or an apathetic people. The issue is that we are a people who have been systematically beaten down by the corporatocracy. As a clinical psychologist, he sees the people as a whole as suffering from abuse syndrome — a people actively demoralized.
Much of the book focuses on the tools that have been used to demoralize, condition and isolate Americans. It looks at such diverse causes as television, burdensome student loans, over-prescribed psychiatric drugs, and the heavily pro-consumer propaganda we are nearly always exposed to.
Levine focuses on the importance of acknowledging and overcoming this abusive relationship and the need restore morale, self-confidence and the willingness to resist among populists.
The conclusion of the book deals with strategies and tactics. While this section makes some good points and highlights some interesting actions taking place, like the Work College Consortium and worker’s co-operatives, I felt it lacked a truly satisfying answer to the question of where exactly activists should go from here. However, I can’t really fault Levine on this point because this has become the big question the progressive community as a whole has been struggling rather unsuccessfully to find the right answer to.
Bruce E. Levine’s past books include Surviving America’s Depression Epidemic and Commonsense Rebellion.