Shortly after the presidential election of 2004, Dennis Johnson and Valerie Merians contacted a group of prominent writers, journalists, and activists from the Left and invited them to answer one crucial question: "What do we do now?" The response was swift and the resulting collection of 24 essays offers a wide variety of ideas, practical strategies, and inspiration (ideal for those tempted to bury their heads in despair) by writers such as Lewis Lapham, Eric Foner, Jennifer Pozner, Greg Palast, Medea Benjamin, Leslie Cagan, Howard Dean, and Maud Newton. Aside from some thoughtful post-election analysis, most of these pieces focus on the future rather than the past, particularly on maintaining the momentum built by the wide coalition that formed to oppose George W. Bush's reelection. The book also seeks to fill a void. According to Johnson, much of the mainstream media is "profoundly out of touch" with a large group of citizens--principally the 56 million who voted against President Bush--regarding what constitutes important news, and this book is an attempt to move some neglected progressive issues into the spotlight.
The topics covered include the direction and potential of the Democratic Party (with emphasis on formulating a coherent message), voting and election reform, the role and uses of the media, environmental issues, economic policy, international relations, and tax and fiscal policies. Though the book emerged in the wake of a defeat for the Left, there is much optimism here, signaling that the 2004 election may have brought about not the end of a movement, but a beginning. --Shawn Carkonen
About the Author
Dennis Loy Johnson and Valerie Merians are the coeditors of Poetry After 9-11 and publishers at Melville House Publishing. Dennis Loy Johnson is the author of The Big Chill: The Great, Unreported Story of the Bush Inauguration Protest. They both live in New York City.