What a good read I said to myself when I had finished The Dandelion Insurrection by Rivera Sun. And unusual. A delicious story with nourishing political content spiced with distinctive characters and served on beautiful prose. Love, adventure, struggle and thrills. What’s not to like? For an old grassroots political fox such as myself I wasn’t about to allow the sweetness of the fiction seduce my perception of bitter realities.
On this the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King, a soon-to-be-published book provides us the most comprehensive account of this event, the shock of which reverberated across America and the world. More than that, the anniversary gives us all ample reason to reflect on the man and his impact, and where America is at present in the context of the main pursuits to which he devoted his life: racial equality, justice, liberty, truth, freedom, and peace. Oh, and a slice of the American Dream. Australian writer Greg Maybury reports.
by Tom Atlee
March 17, 2018
Rivera Sun always gifts us with usefully creative fiction in the face of daunting challenges to future generations, to current society, to marginalized communities, and to all of us as citizens of our planet. Her Roots of Resistance – the second novel of her Dandelion Trilogy – offers an inspiring story to help guide love-based strategic change efforts during what promises to be a very messy transition to a better world. The novel imagines deeply human responses to our civilizational predicament and to the challenges we (especially as change agents) will face as we try to put such responses into practice.
With the news cycle taken over by the latest madness emerging from the mouth or Twitter feed of the childish “orange one” in the White House, could we step back from the circus to reflect like adults on the social and historical forces that produced the clown presidency? Haymarket Books’ new collection of essays by leading left political analysts, US Politics in an Age of Uncertainty: Essays on a New Reality, is required reading for anyone interested in such reflections on Donald Trump.
The Roots Of Resistance (Rising Sun Press 2017) is the second book in the Dandelion Insurrection trilogy by Rivera Sun. The first book deals with how a non-violent revolution in the United States is able to topple an extremely corrupt corporate controlled federal government, and this book details problems entailed in implementing its policies which are aimed at benefiting the general public.
Daniel Ellsberg’s new book is The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner. I’ve known the author for years, I’m prouder than ever to say. We have done speaking events and media interviews together. We’ve been arrested together protesting wars. We’ve publicly debated electoral politics. We’ve privately debated the justness of World War II. (Dan approves of U.S. entry into World War II, and it seems into the war on Korea as well, though he has nothing but condemnation for the bombing of civilians that made up so much of what the U.S. did in those wars.) I’ve valued his opinion and he has rather inexplicably asked for mine on all sorts of questions. But this book has just taught me a great deal I had not known about Daniel Ellsberg and about the world.
Time as a Democracy and Socialist Movement Issue
Working-class and pro-working-class socialists and left anarchists have long fought for shorter working hours (with no reductions in pay) for some very good radically democratic reasons. It isn’t just that workers’ everyday lives and collective marketplace and workplace bargaining power are enhanced when they are freed from the scourge of over-work and when working hours are spread more evenly across the workforce. Beyond these real and meaningful gains, rank-and-file socialists and left anarchists have long supported decent working hours so that workers can have enough time to develop tastes and build knowledge and organizations to fight for a world beyond the rule of capitalism, the profit- and accumulation-addicted system that, in Karl Marx’s famous 1848 words, “resolve[s] personal worth into exchange value” and “le[aves] no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous ‘cash payment.’”
…[In] such trying games of conquest, results might never be expected to take shape quickly…Imperial stratagems are protracted affairs. The captains of world aggression measure their achievements…on a timescale whose unit is the generation. It’s within such a frame that the incubation of Nazism should be gauged: it was a long and elaborate plan to eliminate the possibility of German hegemony over the continent. And the stewards of the empire took their time.’ — Conjuring Hitler: How Britain and America Created the Third Reich, Guido Preparata (© 2006)
Nobody, not racist warmakers, not imaginary non-racist warmakers, not founding fathers, not radical protesters should be made into a deity, larger than life, in marble or bronze, on horseback or otherwise. Nobody is that flawless, and nobody’s story so withstands the test of time. We need human-sized statues and memorials of whole movements.
A “Hollow” Man Who Was “Unwilling to Fight the Good Fight”
What on Earth motivated the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and law professor David J. Garrow to write an incredibly detailed 1078-page (1460 pages with endnotes and index included) biography of Barack Obama from conception through election to the White House? Not any great personal affinity for Obama on Garrow’s part, that’s for sure. Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama is no hagiography. On the last page of this remarkable tome, Garrow describes Obama at the end of his distinctly non-transformative and “failed presidency” as a man who had long ago had become a “vessel [that] was hollow at its core.”
“The statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.” — Mark Twain towards the end of 19th century
James Q. Whitman’s new book is called Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law. It is understated and overdocumented, difficult to argue with. No doubt some will try.
In 2002 Mark McCutcheon published the first edition of his book The Final Theory at Universal Publishers. It was an instant success on the Amazon website, however it also created some controversy. It presented to the world a new Theory of Everything that worked out of the box, to replace Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation, Einstein’s Theories of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics.
Science fiction deals with imaginative concepts such as futuristic science and technology. Many people are aficionados of science fiction, but what puts many off are when it goes into space/time travel and creates extraterrestrials and other phenomenon difficult for many to wrap their minds around. Science fiction has been called “The Literature of Ideas.” The genre can offer a glimpse into the future, and can be most realistic using the platform of the present and recent past to look into what is ahead. A truly classic example of that is Philip K. Dick’s novel, The Man In The High Tower, where Dick describes what it is like to live in Occupied America after losing WWII to Germany and Japan.
The success or failure of any work of fiction depends to a great extent on the writer’s ability to produce a Suspension of Disbelief in the reader. This is especially true of futurist novels, fantasy, or for lack of a better term, science fiction. The concept was first introduced by the poet and philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1817 in his Biographia Literari. When a work overcomes the barrier of the Suspension of Disbelief, it draws the reader in and takes them into the world created by the author. Such is the case with the book An Epiphany On Wall Street (Author Networks Edition, 2012) by anonym.