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Democracy's Edge PBby Frances Moore Lappe
Synopses & Reviews
"To save the democracy we thought we had, we must take it to where it's never been."
—Frances Moore Lappé
"Poetic and passionate...A small number of people in every generation are forerunners, in thought, action, spirit, who swerve past the barriers of greed and power to hold a torch high for the rest of us. Lappé is one of those."
"Please, please, please make this audacious book a priority, for it is written with the most careful and tender feelings about what we are all so near to losing—our democracy."
"America is lost in a gnarled thicket of bought politicos, corporate con men, and media hucksters. Lappé has drawn the map that will get us out alive."
"With the clear thinking, plain talk, and penetrating insight that we have come to expect from her work, Lappé confronts fundamental problems directly and constructively."
"Lappé is a pioneer in democratic thought and action."
"Extraordinary. A provocative and exciting new approach to reviving democracy."
"Democracy's Edge is an exciting and hopeful account of the rebirth of a living American democracy as people connect with each other around the country to solve problems and build a better society."
Three out of five Americans, both Republicans and Democrats, feel our country is headed in the wrong direction. America is at the edge, a critical place at which we can either renew and revitalize or give in and lose that most precious American ideal—democracy—and along with it the freedom, fairness, and opportunities it assures. Democracy’s Edge is a rousing battle cry that we can—and must—act now. From Jefferson to Eisenhower, presidents from both parties have warned us of the danger of letting a closed, narrow group of business and government officials concentrate power over our lives. Yet today, a small and unrepresentative group of people is making vital decisions for all of us.
But this crisis is only a symptom, Lappé argues. It’s a symptom of thin democracy, something done to us or for us, not by or with us. Such democracy is always at risk of being stolen by private interests or extremist groups, left and right. But there is a solution. The answer, says Lappé, is Living Democracy, a powerful yet often invisible citizens’ revolution surging in communities across America. It’s not random, disjointed activism but the emergence of a new historical stage of democracy in which Americans realize that democracy isn’t something we have but something we do. Either we live it or lose it, says Lappé.
About the Author
Frances Moore Lappé, author of fifteen books, has received seventeen honorary doctorates and was the fourth American to receive the Right Livelihood Award, called the Alternative Nobel Prize. She is cofounder of Food First, the American News Service, and the Small Planet Institute, www.smallplanetinstitute.org.
Table of Contents
The Path xi
PART ONE Living on Democracy's Edge 1
1. The Frame 3
2. The Long Arc 13
3. Power Is Not a Four-Letter Word 29
PART TWO Democracy Growing Up 49
4. Our Coat 51
5. The Elephant 77
PART THREE Democracy as a Verb 109
6. Attention 111
7. Action 151
8. Choice 183
9. Voice 219
PART FOUR Democracy in Our Bones 249
10. Learning 251
11. Security 277
12. The Invitation 309
Two Frames for Democracy 319
Toward a Language of Democracy 321
Entry Points for Living Democracy 405
The Author 451
What Our Readers Are Saying