Is America Necessary? Conservative, Liberal, & Socialist Perspectives of United States Political Institutions

By Henry Etzkowitz; Peter Schwab | Go to book overview

the world they are entering in earnest. Student PIRGs can Inspire with a large array of projects which demand the development of analytic and value training for and by students. These projects will show that knowledge and its uses are seamless webs which draw from all disciplines at a university and enrich each in a way that arranged interdisciplinary work can never do. The artificial isolations and ennui which embrace so many students will likely dissolve before the opportunity to relate education to life's quests, problems, and realities. The one imperative is for students to avoid a psychology of prejudgment in this period of their lives when most are as free to choose and act as they will ever be, given the constraints of careers and family responsibilities after graduation. The most astonishing aspect of what has to be done in this country by citizens is that it has never been tried. What students must do, in effect, is create their own careers in these undertakings.

The problems of the present and the risks of the future are deep and plain. But let it not be said that this generation refused to give up so little in order to achieve so much.


Stanley Aronowitz. On organization: a good party is hard to find.

Enormous possibilities for building a serious national movement have been opened up to the left by the temporary political disarray among America's ruling class. This crisis in governmental authority, combined with the domestic and international crisis in the U.S. economy, has created "objective" conditions that could lead to a shift of political and social forces within our country.

Until now, only the social crisis has been generally acknowledged--that is, the deep fissures that have appeared in the consciousness of masses of people as the compulsions of their daily lives collide with their perception that these ordinary routines of bourgeois existence are both socially unnecessary and politically repressive. At the same time, the bankruptcy of the great institutions of social learning--family, schools, and law--has become apparent to an unprecedented degree.

Only relatively recently has it become clear that the U.S. is experiencing a political and an economic crisis as well. The details of the so-called "constitutional crisis" are well-known; less apparent is the vast turnoff to electoral politics now in process. In former years, the Republicans managed to win the support of workers and other underlying classes because of the parsimonious facade in the midst of prosperity and their manifest patrician cleanliness. These advantages, formerly used to compensate for the narrow constituency of the party, have virtually disappeared in the wake of Watergate and the seemingly rampant inflation. As for the Democrats, ordinary Americans have been treated to the most shameful display of impotent hand-wringing by the "party of the working people" in the face of its greatest opportunity since the Depression to recover from voter rejection. The lackluster quality of the 1973 municipal elections attests to the failure of the two capitalist parties to convince us that voting makes any difference.

The most telling critique of U.S. capitalism is the shortages of materials and energy that have plagued the entire economy. The fuel and materials shortages are not the result of the recent Mideast crisis. Nor do they reflect the essentially rapacious using up of natural resources that does constitute a threat to the U.S. standard of living as well as the ability of developing nations to meet their basic material needs. Rather, the "energy crisis" is a brilliant instance of the chaotic nature of capitalist production. It is yet another testament to the weakness of the profit system as an effective regulator of resource allocation. In its special report on the shortages. Business Week attributes the situation to corporate refusal to expand production in view of the price-control policies of the federal government and the corporations' desire to reap enormous profits on restricted output. In other words, the shortage

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Is America Necessary? Conservative, Liberal, & Socialist Perspectives of United States Political Institutions
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Part One 15
  • 1 - Where Do I Stand? 17
  • Conservative 21
  • Conclusion 28
  • Socialist 44
  • Notes 46
  • Part Two 57
  • 2 - The Presidency 61
  • Conservative 67
  • Socialist 79
  • Notes 85
  • 3 - The Pentagon 101
  • Conservative 107
  • Socialist 117
  • 4 - The Secret Police 133
  • Conservative 139
  • Socialist 152
  • Notes 160
  • Part Three 167
  • 5 - Elite Clubs and Associations 169
  • Conservative 173
  • Notes 184
  • Notes 192
  • 6 - Multinational Corporations 209
  • Conservative 213
  • Socialist 221
  • Notes 244
  • 7 - Organized Crime 257
  • Conservative 259
  • Socialist 264
  • Part Four 283
  • 8 - Congress 285
  • Conservative 289
  • Socialist 296
  • Notes 303
  • 9 - The Courts 315
  • Conservative 319
  • Socialist 330
  • Notes 337
  • 10 - Regulatory Agencies 347
  • Conservative 349
  • Socialist 361
  • Notes 369
  • Political Parties 385
  • Conservative 387
  • Liberal 396
  • Conclusion 410
  • 12 - Academia 413
  • Conservative 416
  • References 427
  • Notes 434
  • Part Five 449
  • 13 - The Media 451
  • Conservative 453
  • Liberal 467
  • Notes 474
  • 14 - Banks 483
  • Conservative The Great Banking Retreat. 485
  • Socialist 489
  • Notes 497
  • 15 - Unions 511
  • Conservative 513
  • Notes 519
  • A Critical Issue 537
  • 16 - The Economic Crisis 539
  • Conservative 542
  • Socialist 544
  • Notes 550
  • Part Seven 557
  • 17 - Political Programs 567
  • Louis Banks. the Mission Of Our Business Society. 568
  • Ralph Nader and Donald Ross. Toward an Initiatory Democracy. 576
  • Stanley Aronowitz. On Organization: A Good Party Is Hard to Find. 581
  • Mass Parties and Reformism 587
  • Notes 596
  • Fred R. Harris. Up With Those Who'Re Down. 602
  • Part Eight 613
  • Appendix 621
  • Note 644
  • Index 649
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