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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 9/4/11

Revolutionary Change: An Expatriate View

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Revolutionary Change: An Expatriate Perspective
Revolutionary Change: An Expatriate Perspective
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I have just finished my third book Revolutionary Change: an Expatriate Perspective. It's my first non-fiction work, a collection of essays on change making. Right now it's only available as an ebook. However it should be out in soft cover by the end of the year.

Until Sept 30, I'm offering a free download to OpEdNews readers. Smashwords offers a 100 page free sample at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/83632

If you decide to read the whole thing and want a free download, let me know (either by messaging me or through the contact form on my website www.stuartbramhall.com).

Synopsis

I started the book intending to offer a unique perspective on the US political system after nine years living overseas. It seems to have turned into a book on social class and political change. People tell me this point of view is quite rare in the US progressive movement, which tends to be dominated by upper middle class academics and professionals.

The book focuses attempts to examine why progressives have such difficulty recruiting low income white and minority workers. I have always believed this relates to the failure of many liberals to recognize and acknowledge the distinct cultural differences in blue collar and minority communities. Progressives also have an unfortunate tendency to leap on the lifestyle bandwagon -- for example, anti-smoking, anti-obesity, and gun control. This immediately puts them at odds with the low income Americans they seek to recruit.

About half the book focuses on general approaches to organizing that appear to be effective in engaging the working class (comprising 80% of the US population). One example is the sustainability movement has already been quite successful in enlisting activists at all income levels. The reason for this, I believe, is that it offers concrete activities neighborhoods and communities can immediately plug into -- as survival planning for economic hard times, natural disasters, or even the collapse of global capitalism.

Civic Engagement and Reclaiming the Commons

Throughout the book, I strongly emphasize civic engagement and reclaiming the commons -- which I feel are the two most important areas of focus for working class activists.  Engaging with neighbors and other community members comes more naturally to low income and disenfranchised groups (remember, we grew up playing in the street while our middle class peers were at piano, violin, and dancing lessons). At the same time we have a strong instinctive understanding of class privilege, the flip side of reclaiming the commons. From childhood, we are very much aware that people with more money than us control everything.

This is the main reason the young looters in London went for the wide screen TVs, rather than for food. From a class perspective, this is called "leveling," not greed.

Revolutionary Change: An Expatriate View

Introduction and Excerpt from Part I

Introduction

Revolutionary Change: An Expatriate View is a collection of essays published between 2010 and 2011. In addition to heralding undreamed of political upheaval, the year 2011 has inspired new hope on the left of overthrowing the corporate-dominated political elites that have seized control of our western democracies.

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I am a 63 year old American child and adolescent psychiatrist and political refugee in New Zealand. I have just published a young adult novel THE BATTLE FOR TOMORROW (which won a NABE Pinnacle Achievement Award) about a 16 year old girl who (more...)
 
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