Academic journal article Theory in Action

Revolt! the Next Great Transformation from Kleptocracy Capitalism to Libertarian Socialism through Counter Ideology, Societal Education, & Direct Action

Academic journal article Theory in Action

Revolt! the Next Great Transformation from Kleptocracy Capitalism to Libertarian Socialism through Counter Ideology, Societal Education, & Direct Action

Article excerpt

Revolt! The Next Great Transformation from Kleptocracy Capitalism to Libertarian Socialism through Counter Ideology, Societal Education, & Direct Action by John Asimakopoulos Transformative Studies Institute Press, 2011. Pp. 159. $14.95 (Paperback). ISBN: 9780983298205

[Article copies available for a fee from The Transformative Studies Institute. E-mail address: journal@transformativestudies.org Website: http://www.transformativestudies.org ©2012 by The Transformative Studies Institute. All rights reserved.]

I highly recommend this book to anyone who works for a living, and even mature teenagers about to enter the workforce, as they are our future and are exposed to more and more capitalist propaganda as they go through high school which, depending on various factors, including adult guidance, could either teach them to learn and think critically or prepare them to be cogs in a defective capitalist system. In Revolt!, Asimakopoulos early defines "working class" essentially to mean anyone who must work in order to live, which would encompass a major percentage of people from all lines of work. And to be sure, he cites some of Karl Marx's concepts, such as capitalism being the problem and that band-aiding the problem with bailouts is merely part of its vicious cycle and not a solution to social injustices and inequalities on a national and global scale.

In addition to outlining the problem, the author talks about the historical buildup of the capitalist powers that be, dating back to Breton Woods in the 19l century and bolstered by laws created over the years by corrupt politicians loyal to corporations. The insidiousness and tenacity of the problem is due to the fact that corporate greed and exploitation of whole groups of people (including most of us) and our resources are being disguised by corporate-owned media as the American way. Those who challenge it are met with force by government that has been hijacked by large multinational corporations through lobbying. What the author terms a "revolving door" between politics and big business, is exemplified by former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, previously of Sachs Goldman. Not only are the laws and practices and many institutions, such as Wall Street and credit card companies, corrupt and self-serving, but they actually produce a negative effect on America's productivity and consumption by shifting jobs to other countries and giving its own citizens fewer and fewer social guarantees such as health benefits. Further, jobs are cut, and people forced to work more for less pay and under substandard conditions. This naturally affects our ability to spend on the things we would like, leading to a corporation's own decline. However, the government comes in and bails out the corporation, resetting the cycle but not solving the problem, and potentially making the next downturn even worse than the previous one.

Asimakopoulos also lays out a groundwork for fighting back against this nightmare, producing three basic tools to anyone wishing to make social change: societal education (to increase awareness of the "rich getting richer and poor getting poorer" phenomenon, for instance), counter ideology (to offer an alternative to the hegemony), and direct action (the most important, grassroots tool). Direct action can and has taken many forms, and the author specifically cites how this and the other tools had major positive influence on the well-being of labor unions in past uprisings, as well as the civil rights/black power movement, two that he details extensively in the book. As members of the community, we are called upon by the author to help change the system; mere votes for one flavor of capitalist mouthpiece over another, as between a Republican and a Democratic candidate, has often shown to be inadequate because greed does not respect party lines. A sympathetic yet ineffective candidate only gives the public the illusion of change. What is needed is independent media (through radio, television, print, and Internet) to spread and "delegitimize" the system held dear to the corporate-owned mass media. …

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