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19 review for Taking Sides: The Education of a Militant Mind

  1. 4 out of 5

    Larry Bassett

    In 1985: forty-seven artists record “We Are the World”; Academy Award for Best Picture is Out of Africa; Hurricane Gloria makes landfall in North Carolina, Long Island and Connecticut; Kansas City Royals win the baseball World Series; Ronald Reagan begins second term; OPEC oil is $28/barrel; Taking Sides by Michael Harrington is published Michael Harrington (1928 – 1989) was in the forefront of the movement for democratic socialism in the U.S. To the extent that he tried to work within the In 1985: forty-seven artists record “We Are the World”; Academy Award for Best Picture is Out of Africa; Hurricane Gloria makes landfall in North Carolina, Long Island and Connecticut; Kansas City Royals win the baseball World Series; Ronald Reagan begins second term; OPEC oil is $28/barrel; Taking Sides by Michael Harrington is published Michael Harrington (1928 – 1989) was in the forefront of the movement for democratic socialism in the U.S. To the extent that he tried to work within the existing political system, especially the Democratic Party, he was a liberal. To the extent that he championed socialism and worked for systemic changes in capitalism, he was a radical. Harrington struggled within the Democratic Party for his entire political life. I watched Harrington from a distance during my activist years wondering why he clung so tenaciously to the Democrats. Politically, I have always been a supporter of third parties, including my participation in the Human Rights Party in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the 1970s. In 1970 Zolton Ferency left the Democratic Party, having served Michigan party chairperson from 1963 to 1968, and became one of the founders of the HRP. During Michael Harrington's four decades as America's leading socialist thinker, writer and speaker, he contributed to every progressive movement. One of the first of his twenty books, The Other America, is credited with spurring the Great Society anti-poverty programs. From his organizing with the student and civil rights movements in the 50's and 60's, to his leadership of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (DSOC) and the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) in the 70's and 80's, he consistently urged socialists to reach beyond isolation and build coalitions with labor and progressive groups in day-to-day struggles. Source: http://dsausa.org/about/DTH.html The problem with reading a 1985 book that says “Capitalism is dying” is that it is now 25 years later and you could say the same thing. So, die already! Someone once told me that the most efficient way to read a newspaper is to pick up a discarded paper several days after its publication. By then you would know something about the outcome of some of the stories and could decide if you needed to read more. In this way you could focus on reading the material in the paper that is most relevant. And, of course, you would not have to pay for the paper! Taking Sides is a collection of essays previously published in Dissent, The New International, New Republic, Commonweal, The Nation, The Village Voice, Commentary and Harper’s between the years 1955 and 1983. Each section of essays is prefaced by an introduction written by Harrington in 1985 when the book was published. The relevance of this material in 2010 would be for a compilation of political history and mid 20th century socialist thought or to study the life and times of the writer, Michael Harrington. I am looking forward to reading a biography of Harrington, The Other American, that was published in 2000 and that examines his entire life and work. Harrington also wrote The Long-Distance Runner: An Autobiography published in 1988, the year before his death. We have heard “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Michael Harrington left a legacy of over 20 books that detail his thoughts and experiences in working for democratic socialism. Today being labeled a socialist in the U.S. can be the death knell of a political career. Labeling President Obama a socialist who supports income redistribution is one of the most recent examples. “From those according to their ability, to those according to their need” is another phrase whose time seems not to have yet come back.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dexter Thomas

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ginger Griffin

  4. 5 out of 5

    DH

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rosa Mandel

  6. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

  7. 5 out of 5

    PKN3 GoodReads

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lee's Storage

  9. 5 out of 5

    Shawn Gude

  10. 5 out of 5

    David

  11. 5 out of 5

    William Clayton

  12. 4 out of 5

    jeffrey

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bhaskar Sunkara

  14. 4 out of 5

    William Harrison

  15. 4 out of 5

    mark mendoza

  16. 5 out of 5

    ErrBookErrDay

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ivan Cedron

  19. 5 out of 5

    Justin Clark

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