Two more books (with good titles)

“American Fascists” by Chris Hedges. A couple of little things annoyed me – like his tossing Hamas in with other fascist groups. But overall a very good and very scary book, whose title is descriptive. A good sequel to “what’s the matter with kansas” by Thomas Frank, and things have advanced since then. The main thing that I like is that he doesn’t advocate dialogue and recognizes that these people have to be fought. They have contempt for us, and there’s nothing to be gained by tolerating them.

“The Failure of Political Islam” by Olivier Roy. This is no anti-imperialist as far as I could tell, but some interesting stuff. Good title, anyway. Roy has an interesting argument: that as a political movement Islamism is based on reforming the individual, and because it’s based on reforming the individual it doesn’t develop comprehensive programs for transforming society, which limits it. It has gotten somewhere because of the failure of previous ideologies, nationalism, secularism, and socialism, but it too has failed, leaving the third world in an unresolved crisis. Fits with Vijay Prashad’s book’s idea about how the fall of the third world idea left the poor countries without a way out of their crisis. Vijay Prashad’s sequel, “Poorer Nations: A People’s History of the Global South”, promises to be a bit bleaker than his latest book…

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.

2 thoughts on “Two more books (with good titles)”

  1. Derrick Jensen
    Have you read Derrick Jensen’s two volume Endgame. If you have I wonder what you make of his arguments for violence?

    Chau for now


    1. Chris Hedges on Alternative Radio
      Hey Justin,

      I just caught most of a lecture by Chris Hedges broadcast on CIUT, deriving from Alternative Radio. It was devastating — made me want to get the book.

      One of the key points that I took from it was the very simple observation that the organized christian rightists are “selective literalists”, picking and choosing what to take from scripture that is literal, and what to simply avoid or omit. The logic of that decision – the cherry-picking – is the key to understanding that what truly animates these groups (or at least their architects) is something different from theology. They are not puritans – Hedges in fact calls them heretics. I find that a helpful clarification — and a reminder that the same basic point applies to plenty of politicized religious movements (or at least their leaders).

      He also put a very interesting, special emphasis on the particular obsession (among these rightists) with attacking gays and lesbians, and the parallel there with German fascism.

      -Kevin S.

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