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The Next American Revolution

The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century

Grace Lee Boggs
With Scott Kurashige
Foreword by Danny Glover
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: 1
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    The Next American Revolution
    Book Description:

    A world dominated by America and driven by cheap oil, easy credit, and conspicuous consumption is unraveling before our eyes. In this powerful, deeply humanistic book, Grace Lee Boggs, a legendary figure in the struggle for justice in America, shrewdly assesses the current crisis—political, economical, and environmental—and shows how to create the radical social change we need to confront new realities. A vibrant, inspirational force, Boggs has participated in all of the twentieth century’s major social movements—for civil rights, women’s rights, workers’ rights, and more. She draws from seven decades of activist experience, and a rigorous commitment to critical thinking, to redefine “revolution” for our times. From her home in Detroit, she reveals how hope and creativity are overcoming despair and decay within the most devastated urban communities. Her book is a manifesto for creating alternative modes of work, politics, and human interaction that will collectively constitute the next American Revolution.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94881-5
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)

    This book is about our journey. It is drawn from Grace’s reflections on her journey, but it is about our journey as well.

    When Grace Lee Boggs celebrated her ninety-fourth birthday in the summer of 2009, I knew it was important for me to be there in Detroit with her and those who love her. Ossie Davis, a close friend of Grace and Jimmy Boggs, often said that he went to places where he was invited to speak because he knew that was where he was supposed to be at that moment.

    As I traveled outside the United States for...

    (pp. xiii-xx)
    (pp. 1-27)

    These are perilous times, shaped by economic meltdown, wars, persistent social divisions, and the prospect of environmental calamities for whose full extent few are remotely prepared. A view of the modern world driven by American dominance, cheap oil, easy credit, and conspicuous consumption is rapidly unraveling before our eyes. In the face of such crises, the institutions of the status quo appear increasingly outmoded and ineffective.

    Because the future is more uncertain than ever, these perilous times are also precious times. Collectively, we have a window of opportunity to rediscover the nonmaterial things that bring us joy and fulfillment. I...

  6. CHAPTER ONE These Are the Times to Grow Our Souls
    (pp. 28-51)

    On June 27, 2010, I celebrated my ninety-fifth birthday. Over the past few years I have become much less mobile. I no longer bound from my chair to fetch a book or article to show a visitor. I have two hearing aids, three pairs of glasses, and very few teeth. But I still have most of my marbles, mainly because I am good at learning, arguably the most important qualification for a movement activist. In fact, the past decadeplus since the 1998 publication of my autobiography,Living for Change, has been one of the busiest and most invigorating periods of...

  7. CHAPTER TWO Revolution as a New Beginning
    (pp. 52-78)

    We are at a pivotal time in our country’s history. The power structure is obviously unable to resolve the triple crises of global wars, global economic turmoil, and global warming. Millions are losing their jobs and homes. Workers feel they can no longer maintain the “American standard of living” that defined the “middle class.” Barack Obama’s “Yes, we can” call for change energized millions of young people, independents, and those fed up with Bush and the war. Now new sources of anger are being directed at Obama.

    What we urgently need are impassioned discussions everywhere, in groups small and large,...

  8. CHAPTER THREE Let’s Talk about Malcolm and Martin
    (pp. 79-104)

    History is not the past. It is the stories we tell about the past.Howwe tell these stories—triumphantly or self-critically, metaphysically or dialectically—has a lot to do with whether we cut short or advance our evolution as human beings.

    Historians of the black experience have a crucial role to play in helping blacks and everyone in this country develop a common understanding of the important role that the black struggle for human rights has played through the years not only to advance blacks but also to humanize this country. We need to revisit the movements of the...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR Detroit, Place and Space to Begin Anew
    (pp. 105-134)

    Detroit is a city of Hope rather than a city of Despair. The thousands of vacant lots and abandoned houses provide not only the space to begin anew but also the incentive to create innovative ways of making our living—ways that nurture our productive, cooperative, and caring selves.

    The media and pundits keep repeating that today’s economic meltdown is the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. But in the 1930s the United States was an overproducing industrial giant, not today’s casino economy. In the past few decades, once-productive Americans have been transformed into consumers, using more and more...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE A Paradigm Shift in Our Concept of Education
    (pp. 135-158)

    In the spring of 2006 Oprah Winfrey devoted two full shows to our failing schools. On both shows she was joined by Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, who have pledged millions of dollars to address the problems of education.

    “It is going to take activism,” Oprah insisted. “We can’t just sit passively by and act like it’s OK.”

    She began by exposing the glaring inequities in our public schools, contrasting an inner-city Chicago school that lacks even minimal toilet facilities with a suburban school that enjoys an Olympic-size swimming pool. Again and again she cited dropout figures....

  11. CHAPTER SIX We Are the Leaders We’ve Been Looking For
    (pp. 159-178)

    Several years ago I received a poster of a twenty-something me designed by New Mexico artist Amy Gerber, whom I’ve never met. Amy created the poster after she heard me say onBill Moyers Journalin June 2007 that “we need to embrace the idea that we are the leaders we’ve been looking for.”

    The phrase comes from the story that Zoharah Simmons, now a University of Florida professor of religion, tells of her experience four decades ago. As a very young and somewhat nervous Mississippi Freedom Summer volunteer going door to door with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, she...

  12. NOTES
    (pp. 179-190)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 191-201)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 202-202)