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Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA Paperback – January 21, 2014


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (January 21, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062305573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062305572
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #198,692 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Part history, part analysis, part call to action, Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA, is a roadmap for anyone troubled by the social, political and economic inequities plaguing this country and the world. (—Heidi Boghosian, Executive Director, National Lawyers Guild)

IMAGINE: LIVING IN A SOCIALIST USA is the book so many of us have been waiting for. ...exquisitely timely... We must profoundly change the way we live, or we will not survive. (Alice Walker)

From the Back Cover

"What are the possibilities inherent in Socialism? What is it? What can it mean to humanity ’s future? What would it look like in America? These are the questions raised in this exquisitely timely book. We must profoundly change the way we live, or we will not survive. A Socialism that we make ourselves could be the answer."—Alice Walker

The polar ice caps are melting, hurricanes and droughts ravish the planet, and Earth’s population is threatened by catastrophic climate change. Millions of American jobs have been sent overseas and aren’t coming back. Young African American men make up the majority of America’s prison population. Half of the American population is poor or near poor, living precariously on the brink, while the top one percent owns as much as the bottom eighty. Government police-state spying on its citizens is pervasive. Consequently, as former President Jimmy Carter has said, "we have no functioning democracy."

Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA is at once an indictment of American capitalism as the root cause of our spreading dystopia and a cri di coeur for what life could be like in the United States if we had economic as well as a real political democracy. It features thirty-one concise and accessible essays by revolutionary thinkers and activists on various aspects of a new society and, crucially, on how to get from where we are now to where we want to be, living in a society that is truly fair and just.

Contributors Include

Paul Street • Joel Kovel • Ron Reosti • Rick Wolff • Michael Steven Smith • Mumia Abu-Jamal • Angela Davis • Ajamu Baraka • Harriet Fraad • Tess Fraad-Wolff • Renate Bridenthal • Blanche Wiesen Cook • Leslie Cagan • Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz • Steven Wishnia •Juan Gonzalez • Frances Fox Piven • Arun Gupta • Tom Angotti • Dave Lindorff • William Ayers • Mat Callahan • Clifford D. Conner • Fred Jerome • Michael Moore • Michael Ratner • Kazembe Balagun • Michael Zweig • Dianne Feeley • Paul Le Blanc • Martín Espada • Terry Bisson


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Customer Reviews

This book should be required reading in all schools.
Judith Henault
This is a collection of essays by socialists where they paint their utopian vision of an earthly socialist paradise.
jtrolla
This is not a book that invites critical thinking or an honest dialog on two different economic systems.
The Big Shmoo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Michael Engel on January 31, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A breath of fresh air. Just when I thought that writing about socialism had become the exclusive preserve of Marxist academics and their obscurantist jargon, we finally have a work that uses plain language to bring its ideas back to life. Of course, any edited collection of this kind has its strengths and weaknesses, its highs and its lows.

As for its strengths: (1) A multiplicity of perspectives from just left of social democracy to Marxism-Leninism to what I would call utopian; (2) Coverage of a wide variety of relevant policy issues; (3) Avoidance of abstract theoretical elaborations in favor of dealing with practicalities; (4) A willingness to “imagine” without leaving the real world behind; (5) Great readability.

Major weakness: The book as a whole fails to seriously explore the state of American political consciousness in the 21st century. This too often leads to utopian assumptions about the behavioral effects of changes in the social structure, and an attempt to compensate for that omission by romanticizing the defunct Occupy movement. The question of how we get from here to there thus remains largely unanswered.

The highlights: Rick Wolff’s economic analysis; Mumia Abu-Jamal/Angela Davis discussion of justice; Blanche Wiesen-Cook’s feminism; Steven Wishnia on drug issues; William Ayers’ wonderful essay on education; Dianne Feeley’s thoughtful focus on Detroit’s problems and their solution; Renate Bridenthal’s “workday”; Paul LeBlanc’s historical perspective on revolutionary politics; Martin Espada’s poem; and Terry Bisson’s wonderfully honest portrayal of a socialist future in “Thanksgiving 2077”.
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26 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Fact of the Matter on March 24, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This volume is a compendium of the writings of several socialist activists.

As capitalism collapses around us, having now laid waste to the ecosystem that supports our lives, and having enforced economic rules leaving 85 people controlling 50% of the earth's resources, this book assembles the thoughts of several individuals who have spent their efforts outlining a transition to a world in which the ecosystem is respected to the benefit of everyone's survival.

Capitalism is finished. The only question left on the table of discussion is whether we let the death of capitalism take us with it, or whether we transition proactively and rationally, and spare humanity the needless pain and chaos of the demise.

This book is a wonderful starting point in the positive construction of a rational economy where everyone's survival is the prime directive, rather than that of a mere handful of people.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Lois Anne on March 26, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book introduces ideas about how capitalism is not working for the majority of people and why it isn't working. It offers alternative methods of economy and discusses how socialism is not the terrible way of economics that capitalistic proponents have taught us for several hundred years. As long as capitalism exists, there will be a disparity of economic classes. Think of the Waltons and their Walmart empire which is quickly becoming a global entity. And who does the billions ultimately go to?
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28 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Stuart Irwin on January 25, 2014
Format: Paperback
An anthology of original essays that seek to right current misconceptions and fears about socialism by describing what socialism would look like in the U.S.A. and the better, more just society that could accompany it

Imagine: Living in a Socialist U.S.A. is an anthology of original essays that looks at what the United States could be if the capitalism collapsed and socialism was instated.

The book paints a portrait of the many facets of life in a socialist society through a series of ruminations by prominent thinkers, activists, and artists, including Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore's proposal for how to effectively continue the Occupy Wall Street movement; incarcerated journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal's look at alternative systems to capitalist injustice; Hugo Award-winning author Terry Bisson's short story imagining Thanksgiving in 2077 where the dinner table conversation revolves around everything from the rising seas in Florida and the dismantling of the Alaskan pipeline to the children's ability to work off their student loans through civil service; New York Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez's argument that immigrant workers have already proven that socialism provides a better life; and attorney Michael Ratner, who is representing Julian Assange and WikiLeaks in the United States, explaining the steps he would take as attorney general, which include refusing to enforce criminal prosecution of undocumented immigrants and Internet activists like Assange, as well as ending all FBI surveillance measures.

Other essays touch on the topics of gender equality in the workplace, an end to the war on drugs, how the arts and education would thrive in a socialist system, and, above all, make a case for how and why a socialist U.S.A could lead to a better world.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Robert C. Hastings on March 9, 2014
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Explains clearly what the term "socialism" really means, and it has nothing to do with what is traditionally understood. It is a series of essays and speeches, any of which stand on their own, about social programs in progress today and from our past in which workers have striven for economic equality and justice. Includes writings from many of today's prominent figures in the Progressive movement. I recommend reading it along with Noam Chomsky's "Occupy".
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