January 7, 2011
From Gary Reiswig’s review of The Anti-American Manifesto in The East Hampton Star:
Competently published and well written, Ted Rall’s “The Anti-American Manifesto” reveals an angry writer.
He’s angry that President Obama has no inclination “to push for the sweeping reforms that might save American late-stage capitalism from itself”; he’s angry that Obama has continued the Bush wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that have killed an estimated one million people; he’s angry that “environmental apocalypse” looms just around the corner and few people have the will to do what is necessary to stop it or even slow down its arrival; he is angry at corporations, including “big sharks of capitalism” who “pay themselves millions in bonuses while firing workers,” and he’s angry that many who may agree with him aren’t talking about the dangerous predicament of our country.
On the first page, he states openly: “The government has become so undemocratic and unresponsive that the only reasonable means of opposing it is to strive for its violent overthrow.” On the other hand, he insists he will not lead a revolution. “I want you to think, damnit! Figure out for yourself what is wrong.”
But, again, returning to the possibility of violent revolt, speaking about what it would have taken to prevent bailed-out corporations from awarding millions of dollars in bonuses to high-paid executives with common taxpayer money, the author asks, “What would a hundred thousand angry New Yorkers armed with bricks (or guns) be able to accomplish?” The author believes the U.S. as it is today will not survive much longer. And when the government and economic system collapse, it will be “Us” against “Them” for control. He defines “Us” as “Hard-working, underpaid, put upon, thoughtful, freedom-loving, disenfranchised, ordinary people.” And “Them” as “Reactionary, stupid, overpaid, greedy, shortsighted, exploitative, power-mad, abusive politicians and corporate executives.”
“The Us,” he further explains, means the people who favor a secular nation and agree that the great disparity of wealth between the rich and the poor must be changed, and that a world economy based on exploiting the earth’s resources to make consumer goods that people must be convinced they need must not be sustained.
“The Them,” he further explains, are racist and religious fundamentalists who want to form an ethnically white Christian country with a religious agenda similar to the agenda of the fundamentalist Muslims our troops are killing in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr. Rall observes that the radical filmmaker Michael Moore believes that a “solution should fall short of revolution.” But the author asks, “Why shouldn’t we have a revolution? Isn’t it obvious that nothing short of revolution can fix a system impervious to reform?”
Read the rest of the review at the East Hampton Star website.