The Political Illusion
by Jacques Ellul
Jacques Ellul, the author of The Technological Society and Propaganda, here examines modern man’s passion for politics, the roles he plays in them, and his place in the modern state. He holds that everything having now been "politized," anything not directly political fails to arouse widespread interest among contemporary men–and in fact might be said not to exist. He shows that political activity is now a kaleidoscope of interlocking illusions, among which the most basic and damaging are those of popular participation in government, popular control of elected and other officials, and popular solution of public problems. This domination by the political illusion, Ellul demonstrates, explains why men now turn to the state for the solution of all problems–most of them problems that the state could not solve if it tried.
This close-reasoned, brilliant diagnosis and prognosis is, like Jacques Ellul’s earlier books, an alarming analysis of present-day life.
by W. Lance Bennett
History and Illusion in Politics
by Raymond Geuss, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge Raymond Geuss
by Jeffrey St. Clair, Joshua Frank
“Those who feel that like lemmings they are being led over a cliff would be well-advised not to read this book. They may discover that they are right.”—Noam Chomsky
“Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank have skillfully smoked out the real Barack Obama . . . the technofascist military strategist disguised as a Nobel Peace Laureate, but owned, operated, and controlled by Wall Street, Corporate America, and the Pentagon.”—Thomas H. Naylor, co-author of Affluenza, Downsizing the USA
“The writers assembled here hit hard, with accuracy, and do not pull punches.”—Marcus Rediker, author of The Slave Ship: A Human History
The Barack Obama revolution was over before it started, guttered by the politician’s overweening desire to prove himself to the grandees of the establishment. From there on, other promises proved ever easier to break. Here’s the book that dares not let Obama off the hook. It’s all here: the compromises, the backstabbing, the same old imperial ambitions. Covering all major “Obummer” categories since he took office, this fast-paced collection will delight the critical and offer food for thought for those contemplating the 2012 electoral circus—and beyond.
Jeffrey St. Clair is co-editor of CounterPunch, author of Born Under a Bad Sky and Been Brown So Long it Looked Green to Me, and co-author of Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs, and the Press.
Joshua Frank is an environmental journalist and co-editor of Red State Rebels: Tales of Grassroots Resistance in the Heartland. His investigative reports and columns appear in CounterPunch, Chicago Sun-Times, Common Dreams, and AlterNet.
Political Illusion and Reality
by David W. Gill, David Lovekin
Political Illusion and Reality is a collection of twenty-three essays on Ellul’s political thought. Veteran as well as younger Ellul scholars, political leaders, activists, and pastors, discuss aspects of Ellul’s thought as they relate to their own fields of study and political experience. Beginning with his 1936 essay “Fascism, Son of Liberalism,” translated and published here in English for the first time, Ellul and these authors will provoke readers to think some new thoughts about politics and government, and think more deeply about the main issues we face in our politically divided and troubled times.
The Illusion of Freedom and Equality
by Richard Stivers
Empire of Illusion
by Chris Hedges
Chris Hedges argues that we now live in two societies: One, the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world, that can cope with complexity and can separate illusion from truth. The other, a growing majority, is retreating from a reality-based world into one of false certainty and magic. In this “other society,” serious film and theatre, as well as newspapers and books, are being pushed to the margins.
In the tradition of Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism and Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death, Hedges navigates this culture — attending WWF contests as well as Ivy League graduation ceremonies — exposing an age of terrifying decline and heightened self-delusion.
The Future of Illusion
by Victoria Kahn
Kahn draws on theorists such as Carl Schmitt, Leo Strauss, Walter Benjamin, and Hannah Arendt and their readings of Shakespeare, Hobbes, Machiavelli, and Spinoza to illustrate that the dialogue between these modern and early modern figures can help us rethink the contemporary problem of political theology. Twentieth-century critics, she shows, saw the early modern period as a break from the older form of political theology that entailed the theological legitimization of the state. Rather, the period signaled a new emphasis on a secular notion of human agency and a new preoccupation with the ways art and fiction intersected the terrain of religion.
Understanding the F-Word
by David McGowan
Part II offers a retrospective of the twentieth century American presidential administrations, to demonstrate that the steady and inexorable march towards overt fascism was a defining characteristic that remained unchanged. The final section looks at the still very much alive eugenics movement, and analyzes the role played by the psychiatric establishment in validating the fascist state. This book will surely find no shortage of detractors, but if read with an open mind, it just may change the way you view the world.
by Theresa A. Amato
Busting the national myth that “anyone can grow up and be President of the United States,” Amato shows how independent and third-party candidates face egregious structural barriers that prevent them from fully participating in the race or even getting their names on the ballot. In addition to waging effective voter campaigns, these candidates must simultaneously fend off preposterous numbers of legal challenges from the two major parties–during twelve weeks of Nader’s ’04 run, as many as twenty-five lawsuits were filed in an effort to squash his campaign.
Amato makes a powerful case for specific federal reforms in the United States’ arcane system of ballot access laws, complex regulations, and partisan control of elections. Along the way, she also offers a spirited history of how third-party and Independent candidates have kept important issues on the table in elections past and contribute to our political life as a society.
Despite the dramatic run-up to the historic 2008 election and the efforts of both Obama and McCain to set themselves apart, the national political debate occurs in a very narrow range that’s defined by two major parties, which are both influenced by the same corporations, special interest groups, and lobbyists. And on election day, there just aren’t the kinds of genuine options that a healthy, multi-party democracy should offer. Looking beyond the Nader story to campaigns waged by challengers John Anderson, Ross Perot, Pat Buchanan, and others, Amato shows how limiting ourselves to two candidates deprives our country of a robust political life, strips would-be contenders of their First Amendment rights, and cheats voters out of meaningful political choice.