The above book, published by AK Press, will become available as of 1st May. It is a large selection of essays edited by Jeffrey St.Clair and Joshua Frank, strung together to cover all aspects of the present Administration, and it works very well. Here I have found some old friends like Ralph Nader and Tariq Ali and a host of writers doubtless well established in their own fields, but new to me. Terrier-like they sink their teeth into the lies and deceits shaking the truth out. All come with enough biographical information at the tale of their pieces for follow-ups.
The collection may be from a fairly left of centre publisher, but it will give little comfort to those, who with tears of righteous rage in their eyes marched, knocked doors, scrimped cash and donations, campaigned and voted for Obama in the hope and trust he would be the promised instrument of change in America. To the contributors Obama has been a chimera, his promises an illusion. To many here he has continued Bush’s policies at home and abroad not just tacitly but enthusiastically. Under Obama, the contributors argue, here is a President committed to advancing the interests of the corporation over those of the individual, of a lawyer riding roughshod over the Constitution and civil protections for the individual.
To a liberal, to a democrat, to the ordinary citizen it might be a depressing read, confirmation, if it is needed, of the breach of promise the Obama Administration has become to America’s left if it did not also make one quite so angry.
That said, the book is not without humour, albeit sour and sharp. The essays are a page or two long, at the most several pages. They are for the most part blog posts or newspaper articles. They take apart Obama’s record on the environment, the military, democracy, heath care and human rights. The compromises and sell-outs to Big Oil and Wall Street are dragged squealing and struggling into the disinfectant of sunlight. They are without exception well argued and readable.
I would go so far as to suggest that if you intend voting this fall then this book is required summer reading.
Copyright David Macadam 2012