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The Anti-American Manifesto Paperback – September 28, 2010

3.6 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Is Rall serious about launching a revolution to overthrow the government of the United States? The cartoonist describes the problems confronting America today as if they were the four horsemen of the apocalypse –wars, financial crises, unemployment, and oil (spills) – and revolution, even a violent one, is the only way. Rall acknowledges the chaos that typically ensues after the collapse or overthrow of an empire, saying that whatever follows will likely, for a time, be worse: "The Terror followed the French Revolution. Stalin's purges followed the Russian Revolution." When it comes to what follows, Rall, like many revolutionaries, has less to say: "We must take the chance." His revolutionary rants and belief in a green, egalitarian world are compelling, yet a stubborn truth remains: most Americans don't want to revolt, a fact about which Rall seems oblivious, making his Manifesto inadvertently ridiculous. While the cartoonist is right about much of what is wrong with America today, it's hard to take this seriously. For once, the joke's on him. Illustrations. (Sept.) (c)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Twice the winner of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and a Pulitzer Prize finalist, TED RALL is a political cartoonist, opinion columnist, graphic novelist and occasional war correspondent whose work has appeared in hundreds of publications, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Village Voice, and Los Angeles Times. He is the illustrator of the full-length comic in Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps, written by Greg Palast.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press; First Edition edition (September 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583229337
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583229330
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #952,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are in the process of deciding weather or not you should buy this book I can give you some idea of what to expect. This book is not an academic treatise or analysis of the dynamics of the latest economic recession or American foreign policy; it is an polemic on the general state of affairs in America and how revolution is the only solution. If you want to read an extensively documented, academic text about how capitalism and the Anglo/American neo-liberal world order is exploiting us, destroying our economic prospects and our environment you can read some of the latest work by a distinguished anthropologist David Harvey (City University of New York). However, if you are already convinced that electoral politics is an elaborate theatrical performance and popularity contest, if you understand that nothing can be done by voting for councilman A or B, if you know that passing some legislation cannot help us retake control of our political system, economy, environment and lives than this is the book for you.

Some of the previous reviewers accuse Ted Rall of not offering an alternative to the current system. I assume that they failed to read the bit about "...a transition to socialism". Indeed, Rall is a socialist and the alternative according to him is a transition to a system that operates in accordance with the principle of fulfilling basic human need through a democratically and centrally-planned system of production.

Rall understands that social revolution and serious business and points out that the immediate consequences might be civil war or even the breakup of the country--as it has been the case in history.
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You might think that a book discussing the eventual collapse of the U.S. government seems wildly speculative, over-the-top, or just plain crazy. But a series of profound national events, starting with the 2000 Presidential Coup by the Supreme Court and continuing forward though 9/11, two failed wars, Hurricane Katrina, exploding national debt, the Great Recession and the BP Oil Spill have shown the U.S. government to be simultaneously corrupt beyond redemption, and wholly unwilling/unable to effectively respond to any sort of real crisis facing the population. The icing on the cake was the presidency of Barack Obama, once thought to be the last, best hope for a decent federal government, but now revealed to be the ultimate in cynicism or ineffectuality, whichever way you see it.

And if you think it's far-fetched or fantastic to contemplate the end of the federal government, ask yourself: How will the U.S. resolve its national debt? The wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan? How will the U.S. solve 20% unemployment and 1 in 8 homeowners facing foreclosure? How will the U.S. respond when Global Warming starts to flood coastal cities and pollution gives 40% of its children asthma?

Which is more far-fetched: the government of the U.S. suddenly reversing a 35-year trend to become functional, wise, unified, effective and decisive? Or a continuation of the gradual, spiraling path toward a crash and burn?

Ted Rall is one of the smartest, most honest, best-educated and hardest working of American political thinkers, having put himself in harm's way twice by traveling in Afghanistan unescorted by the military. He knew from the get-go that the U.S. war in Afghanistan was doomed, and he was among the first to write of the U.S. gulags now circling the globe.
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SHORT SUMMARY:

Shooting to appeal to the sensibilities of everyone in the political spectrum, though still obviously left leaning, Rall outlines the major problems currently plaguing America with an effort to appeal to the sensibilities of both the left and the right. Rall works to outline how these problems are deeper and more endemic then most Americans realize or would like to admit, perhaps even to themselves. Rall then tries to prove that these major problems plaguing America have now become so deeply entrenched and self sustaining that conventional means of socio-political problem fixing and reform, especially those that attempt to work passively and within the system's acceptable "opposition" standards, are no longer viable approaches (and may never have been). Rall argues that these problem are spiraling out of control ever faster now, and will eventually result in the collapse of America itself. What will fill the resulting void he worries might be much worse even then what American's have now, and so he asserts that immediate violent revolution is the only option American's have for a better future.

WHAT THIS IS NOT:

This is not a guide on how to be a revolutionary or on methods of (non)civil disobedience such as "The Anarchists Cookbook". Rall points out in the text that he doesn't have much experience in these veins so the interested reader should seek advise on these maters elsewhere even if he were to have provided it.

This is not a recommendation for an alternative form of government or socio-economic system in America or elsewhere. Say what you want about Rall, but he is certainly very pragmatic.
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