Two books if you’re ready to give up

If you’re ready to give up, these two books will not help you — they might push you over the edge, actually. Still, I recommend them.


If you’re ready to give up, these two books will not help you — they might push you over the edge, actually. Still, I recommend them.

I picked up ‘Quitting America’ by Randall Robinson after seeing Tim Wise’s mention of it in his blog. I had heard of it before but Tim’s recommendation of it made me pick it up. I had read ‘The Debt’ and thought it was very good, very good writing and just very well done. Like ‘The Debt’, I sat and read Quitting America in a single sitting. It’s that kind of book. Robinson describes the reasons he has given up on the US. Though he returns to the US to give talks, and hopes that this book has some influence, it seems to me that the message in the book is that the US population cannot be redeemed — it is too deeply racist, too far gone in its contempt for the rest of the world, and he is no longer willing to waste his life trying to fight it. Instead he has moved to St. Kitts, where the biggest problem is — US encroachment…

The kind of despair not only of US institutions but of the US population itself reminded me of Ward Churchill’s book ‘On the Justice of Roosting Chickens’, which is an introductory essay that is based on one he wrote on Sept. 12, 2001, in which he speculates about the motives of the 9/11 attack and concludes that whatever the toll, it will not approach what the US has inflicted and will inflict on the third world; plus a chronology of domestic and international atrocities by the US (not unlike William Blum’s ‘Killing Hope’).

Both are quite heretical in their despair based approach, and unfortunately it is all too easy to document reasons to despair. Still, I think neither writer has really given up to the extent that it might seem: after all, they are putting their ideas out to audiences, hoping to move people to make change. That is, I think if they believed their own conclusions, they wouldn’t have bothered to write and they wouldn’t bother to keep speaking and working. So, whether you read their books or not (and I think you should), don’t give up!

Justin Podur

Author: Justin Podur

Author of Siegebreakers. Ecology. Environmental Science. Political Science. Anti-imperialism. Political fiction. Teach at York U's FES. Author. Writer at ZNet, TeleSUR, AlterNet, Ricochet, and the Independent Media Institute.