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Hidden Power: What You Need to Know to Save Our Democracy (Bk Currents) [Kindle Edition]

Charles Derber
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Political parties and elections are increasingly political theatre, with real power hidden behind a smokescreen of propaganda, carefully manipulated cultural and religious wars, and voting rituals. But there is another kind of hidden power in America: the grassroots social movements working for progressive change. If the Democratic Party can ally with these movements, America can be returned to its people.

Derber sees American history as a succession of regimes, each spanning several administrations. Since the end of the Civil War, regimes of hidden power, in which corporate interests control both parties behind the scenes, have alternated with more open, inclusive and democratic regimes. Derber details how and why these hidden power systems finally collapsed and what determined the types of regimes that succeeded them.

Hidden Power reveals how the current regime, possibly the most corporate in history, has maintained power by intensifying the red/blue culture wars, supporting religious extremists, exploiting terrorism fears, and manipulating the electoral process. Will this latest corporate regime be replaced by one that is more progressive? Or it could turn even further right and yield to something even worse, a uniquely American form of fascism?

The best hope for positive change lies in an alliance between the Democratic Party and the grass roots progressive movements that, Derber shows, have always been the catalysts for change. Hidden Power concludes with an impassioned argument for why this would be in the Democrats' best interests, as well as the country's, and a detailed program for exactly how to go about it. Thoughtful, eloquent, and compelling, Hidden Power offers real hope for restoring genuine democracy to America.

Editorial Reviews


"...Offers a powerful argument about who really rules America...shows how ordinary citizens are reinventing the populist and progressive traditions." -- Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States

"...offers the real scoop on war, money, power and `moral values' that the mass media refuse to report." -- Larry Beinhart, author of Wag the Dog

"Derber provides an incisive analysis of the socioeconomic and political order and develops the framework for a `New Democracy.'" -- Noam Chomsky

"Derber's analyses of...what the Democratic Party needs to do are eye opening and powerful. A hopeful, empowering, must-read book..." -- Juliet B. Schor, Professor of Sociology, Boston College, and author of The Overspent American

Derber provides an incisive analysis of the socioeconomic and political order and develops the framework for a ‘New Democracy.’ -- Noam Chomsky

Derber's analyses of…what the Democratic Party needs to do are eye opening and powerful. A hopeful, empowering, must-read book… -- Juliet B. Schor, Professor of Sociology, Boston College, and author of The Overspent American

…Offers a powerful argument about who really rules America…shows how ordinary citizens are reinventing the populist and progressive traditions. -- Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States

…a real-life plan to counter the corporate control of democracy, avert a fascist takeover, and build an empowered citizens’ movement. -- Medea Benjamin, cofounder of Global Exchange and CodePink

…offers the real scoop on war, money, power and ‘moral values’ that the mass media refuse to report. -- Larry Beinhart, author of Wag the Dog

About the Author

Charles Derber is professor of sociology at Boston College and former director of its graduate program on Social Economy and Social Justice. He is a prolific scholar in the fields of political economy, international relations and society, and is the author of eight previous books, including People Before Profit: The New Globalization in an Age of Terror, Big Money and Economic Crisis, Corporation Nation and The Wilding of America.

Product Details

  • File Size: 460 KB
  • Print Length: 337 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers (August 11, 2005)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005LY2ED6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,662,628 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book For Concerned Citizens June 7, 2007
In his book"Hidden Power",Prof.Derber pull the covers off of corporate power and illustrates how it controls,manipulate and corrupt the economy,the mass media,the government and even peoples' lives to solidify its existence.Prof.Derber also proposes in his book,ways to dismante this Global Corpocracy,and initiate real democratic change through a new Progressive Populist movement.I recommend this book to concerned citizens who desire real regime change in our country,as well as the entire world.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Global Corporate Regime September 16, 2010
This is the most detailed book that I have read on the subject of corporate influence on American government.

Charles Derber dissects the various political "regimes" throughout our history.
He breaks them down by:The Dominant Institution, Mode of Politics, Social Contract, Foreign Policy, and Ideology.

The author also compares the influence of religion and religious leaders in various successful regime changes-the Christian right with Reagan and William Jennings Bryant and the Populists that paved the way for Teddy Roosevelt and eventually the Progressives. The point is also made that in some movements "liberals" and "conservatives" allied themselves to further their effort for change.

Derber brought up a lot of points like these:
From page 52- "Reagan's cabinet of former CEOs, like Bush's, functioned as a board of directors for corporate America."
And from page 61- "Empire by its nature is anti-democratic but it is essential to transnational corporate interests."
The author connects U.S. foreign policy(Empire) with the global interests of those corporations.

The author addresses another very strong influence that corporations wield. The power of money in politics, the ability to buy representation through campaign contributions.

Mr. Derber also cautions the reader about the dangers of American "overstretch". He uses world history to support that warning.

He also shared an excellent description of both populism and progressivism.

The end of the book has solutions to making our government a government for "We The People" rather than for corporations.
Active Citizenship, and enforced Corporate Charters are just two of the workable ideas that Charles Derber provided,as well as a list of organizations and internet sites that oppose corpocracy.
This book has very good documentation and of the books I have read on this subject, this is the best!
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Tactics and Strategy but Morally Confusing March 13, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you can buy Professor Derber's paradigm and its associated morallogic about the innocence of the American political process, then this is a very useful compendium of tried-and-true activist tactics and strategies to have in ones tool kit before embarking on the road to "people re-empowerment."

If, as the author tells us, that political legitimacy is ultimately about

moral authority, and the vision needed to erect a "just" society, then it

follows from his logic that the ruling power structure of a nation,

no matter how it is organized or what it is called, should be reflected

not just in the nation's precepts, but also in its underlying

realities. That is to say, the underlying moral precepts of justice, and vision

should be discernable in the nation's behavior, in what it actually does --

in the nation's economy for instance, as well as in the hierarchies

that orchestrate its way of life and its worldview and indeed in everything

that gives cultural identity, direction and meaning to people's everyday lives.

However, this certainly is not the case for contemporary American society,

and arguably it has never been the case in American culture, social

or political life. In short, America has never been a, moral, and certainly not

a morally innocent nation.

Thus, as a first level analysis, or as a political science primer for those seeking to answer the question "who really runs America" we can readily admit that Derber's book has much to offer. However, a key flaw of the book that can hardly be overlooked is that the deeper question he raises about the political legitimacy of the America political process becomes a foundational premise.
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More About the Author

Charles Derber is Professor of Sociology at Boston College and has written 20 books - on politics, corporations, capitalism, climate change, war, the culture wars, culture and conversation, and social change. He writes for and has been reviewed in the NY Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, Truthout, and other leading media. His books are translated into Chinese, Korean, Tamil, German and Polish- and he is a bestseller in South Korea, done extended book tours in German bookstores and blues coffee houses, and has lectured in Italy in June for seven years. Derber is a public intellectual - shortlisted in 2006 for best book in current affairs - who believes that serious ideas should be written in an accessible and entertaining style.His most recent books include Sociopathic Society: A People's Sociology of the United States; Capitalism: Should You Buy It?; and The Disinherited Majority: Capital Questions - Piketty and Beyond. He is also a life-long social justice activist and a terrific public speaker - so contact him and try to lure him to a public talk. Check out his Youtube presentations. He is married and has a beautiful Wheaten Terrier dog named Mojo, who lives up to his name.


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