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The Democrats: A Critical Historyby Lance Selfa
Synopses & Reviews
"Worthy reading for anyone who is interested in social change."--MediaMouse.org
"The Democrats is at its best not just when analyzing Democratic foibles — and there are plenty — but when assessing how the party stifles dissent . Lance Selfa has crafted a smart, readable history of the Democrats that reminds us of the partys allegiance to capital."
—Eleanor J. Bader, The Indypendent
"If you've ever wondered where the democracy is in the Democratic Party and why US elections rarely seem to change anything, this book will explain the where and the why. Providing readers with the history of the Democrats from its genesis as the party of the slaveholders to the neoliberal DLC, author Selfa describes the Democrats' role in diverting Americans' desire for change."
Offering a broad historical perspective, Selfa shows how the Democratic Party has time and again betrayed the aspirations of ordinary people while pursuing an agenda favorable to Wall Street and U.S. imperial ambitions.
He examines the relationship between party leaders and social movements, from the civil rights struggle to the movement to end the Iraq war; reveals the unhappy marriage between U.S. labor and the party of the people;” and assesses the mixed record of attempts to build a third party alternative.
Further, Selfa argues that the Democrats record of backing the rich and breaking promises to its voting base is not a recent departure from an otherwise laudable past, but results from its role as one of two parties serving the interests of the U.S. establishment.
An unblinking look at the Democrats that shows why they continue to disappoint so many supporters.
"The Democrats: A Critical History is worthy reading for anyone who is interested in social change."--MediaMouse.org
The 2006 elections put the Democrats in the majority in both houses of Congress, yet those hoping for change have been deeply disappointed. Lance Selfa looks at the Democrats in a broad historical perspective, showing that today’s betrayals stem from the Democratic Party’s role as one of the two parties serving the interests of the US establishment, not of the broader public or its “base” of women, African Americans, trade union members, and working and poor people.
Many other books on the Democrats have seen the party’s recent history as a departure from its storied past as the “party of the people.” Selfa’s book is one of the few written for a popular audience to challenge this myth and to put today’s crisis of the Democratic Party’s legitimacy in a historical perspective.
As the 2008 presidential season heats up, there will be many books about individual candidates and their personalities. This book is for people who want to go beyond campaign puffery to look at the serious topics and questions at stake, with a vision that isn’t limited to the next election cycle.
Lance Selfais a researcher and author. An editor and contributor to International Socialist Review, he edited The Struggle for Palestine(Haymarket Books, 2002). He lives in Chicago.
About the Author
Lance Selfa is an editor of and contributor to International Socialist Review. He edited The Struggle for Palestine (Haymarket, 2002). He lives in Chicago.
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