The American Revolution: Pages from a Negro Worker’s Notebook (2009 edition)

am_revThe American Revolution: Pages from a Negro Worker’s Notebook – New Edition
by James Boggs
With New Commentary by Grace Lee Boggs and Others

“…brilliant and startling insights into the American past and the probable American future. Boggs…is a radical’s radical.” —The Nation

“We think Mr. Boggs has things to say that all Americans, and especially Americans of the Left, ought to listen to.” —Leo Huberman & Paul Sweezy, founders of Monthly Review

James Boggs, born in Marion Junction, Alabama in 1919, never dreamed of becoming President or a locomotive engineer. He grew up in a world where the white folks are gentlemen by day and Ku Klux Klanners at night. Marion Junction is in Dallas County where as late as 1963, although African-Americans made up over 57 percent of the total county population of 57,000, only 130 were registered voters. After graduating from Dunbar High School in Bessemer, Alabama, in 1937, Boggs took the first freight train north, bumming his way through the western part of the country, working in the hop fields of the state of Washington, cutting ice in Minnesota, and finally ending up in Detroit where he worked on WPA until the Second World War gave him a chance to enter the Chrysler auto plant. In 1963, drawing on his own experience as a factory worker and radical militant, he wrote these pages.

Boggs offers both a keen analysis of U.S. society and a passionate call for revolutionary struggle. He sees the growing trend toward automation, the decline of organized labor, the expansion of imperialism, and the deepening of racial strife as fundamentally rooted in the contradictions of U.S. capitalism. And he concludes that the only way forward is a new American revolution—one that, from his perspective writing in the 1960s, appeared to have already begun.

This new and expanded edition, now more relevant than ever, includes an introduction by Grace Lee Boggs as well as additional historical and personal commentary.

James Boggs (1919–1993) was an African American auto worker and radical activist raised in rural Alabama. His books include Racism and the Class Struggle and Revolution and Evolution in the Twentieth Century (with Grace Lee Boggs), both published by Monthly Review Press.

Grace Lee Boggs (1915– ) is a philosopher and activist based in Detroit. The daughter of Chinese immigrants, she has chronicled her life in struggle in the autobiographical Living For Change. The James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership was founded in 1995 in Detroit to carry on their work and honor their legacy.

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A Paradise Built in Hell

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A startling investigation of what people do in disasters and why it matters

Why is it that in the aftermath of a disaster, whether man-made or natural, people suddenly become altruistic, resourceful, and brave? What makes the new-found communities and purpose many find in the ruins and crises after disaster so joyous? And what does this joy reveal about ordinarily unmet social desires and possibilities?

In A Paradise Built in Hell, award-winning author Rebecca Solnit explores these phenomena, looking at major calamities from the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco through the 1917 explosion that tore up Halifax, Nova Scotia, the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, 9/11, and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. She examines how disaster throws people into a temporary utopia of changed states of mind and social possibilities, as well as looking at the cost of the widespread myths and rarer real cases of social deterioration during crisis. This is a timely and important book from an acclaimed author whose work consistently locates unseen patterns and meanings in broad cultural histories.

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The Age of Unthinkable

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Today the very ideas that made America great imperil its future. Our plans go awry and policies fail. History’s grandest war against terrorism creates more terrorists. Global capitalism, intended to improve lives, increases the gap between rich and poor. Decisions made to stem a financial crisis guarantee its worsening. Environmental strategies to protect species lead to their extinction.

The traditional physics of power has been replaced by something radically different. In The Age of the Unthinkable, Joshua Cooper Ramo puts forth a revelatory new model for understanding our dangerously unpredictable world. Drawing upon history, economics, complexity theory, psychology, immunology, and the science of networks, he describes a new landscape of inherent unpredictability–and remarkable, wonderful possibility.

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