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

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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 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.


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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 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.

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

  1. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    A wonderful book about revolutionary, sustainable activism written by the daughter of Chinese immigrants who participated in several of the twentieth century’s major social movements, including workers’ rights, civil rights, women’s rights, and more. Grace Lee Boggs’s The Next American Revolution feels full of wisdom and at the same time accessible even to those still searching to define what activism means to them. I loved so many of the points Boggs includes in this book, including the focus o A wonderful book about revolutionary, sustainable activism written by the daughter of Chinese immigrants who participated in several of the twentieth century’s major social movements, including workers’ rights, civil rights, women’s rights, and more. Grace Lee Boggs’s The Next American Revolution feels full of wisdom and at the same time accessible even to those still searching to define what activism means to them. I loved so many of the points Boggs includes in this book, including the focus on community and connection over capitalistic desires for wealth and individual satisfaction, the solidarity between Asian and Black communities, and the importance of moving beyond elected officials and/or the state to evoke major change. Boggs reiterates the point that we are the revolution we desire. This emphasis on our own revolutionary potential feels hopeful amidst the constant news of racism, xenophobia, sexism, transphobia, and capitalist exploitation that pervades contemporary society. Recommended to those who want a radical perspective on long-term activism and how we can envision what revolution will entail. While I agree with some other reviewers who state that they wanted more concrete strategies to create change, I hear Boggs’s point that those strategies will be based in the context of the current movement and era. I also feel like this book may serve as a powerful impetus to begin learning about specific strategies to enact change, like organizing and advocacy and dismantling internalized systems of oppression and such. I feel glad to read a narrative by an activist Asian American women and want to read more activist and social justice-oriented books by Asian Americans in the future.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dont

    For nearly a century, leftists have been fixed on the debate over reform or revolution. The problematic surfaces in the most unexpected places, a recently discussed in an issue of the magazine Jacobin dedicated to the problem of copyleft versus intellectual property. Even Paulo Freire weighed in on the debate at one point in his life, arguing that reform must be seen as a learning opportunity on the road to revolution. Grace Lee Boggs, together with her late husband, radical political thinker Ja For nearly a century, leftists have been fixed on the debate over reform or revolution. The problematic surfaces in the most unexpected places, a recently discussed in an issue of the magazine Jacobin dedicated to the problem of copyleft versus intellectual property. Even Paulo Freire weighed in on the debate at one point in his life, arguing that reform must be seen as a learning opportunity on the road to revolution. Grace Lee Boggs, together with her late husband, radical political thinker James Boggs, has over the years turned our focus to another problematic; the difference between rebellion and revolution. The problem emerged in sharp relief in the wake of the urban uprisings of the 1960s. In Detroit and cities across America, disenfranchisement of the urban poor, mostly communities of color, exploded in violent frustration resulting in massive destruction, death, and new regimes of police command and control. At the time, many radicals sought in the ashes the seeds of revolution. But for the Boggses, the experience clarifies how revolution will never emerge solely from rebellion, resistance, subversion, or protest. As Grace Lee Boggs says in the conversation with Immanuel Wallerstein at the end of The Next American Revolution, protesting a dysfunctional system to become functional will never lead to revolution. As happened in Detroit and cities elsewhere, urban conflagration and the subsequent demand for a functional system gave rise to political opportunists securing theiri own power within the existing system. But what then is revolution? How does our conception of revolution take into account the historical reality of dysfunction as inherent to the system in its waning years? In her clear and accessible language, Boggs describes how everyone wants revolution. We just don't know what it is. The Next American Revolution offers a guide to identifying revolutionary moments and in so doing provides the lens to see revolutionary possibility all around us. It is in a chapter on education (a central concern in Boggs's writings and organizing for many decades) she reminds us of Freire's crucial dictum that revolution involves both denunciation and annunciation. In the current systemic dysfunction, that which needs to be negated is the systems of materialism, militarism, and consumerism. Each has contributed to creating human beings wholly dependent, isolated, and subject to determination by forces and interests beyond human scale and planetary sustainability. In contrast, Boggs writes, Americans in particular must learn to live simply so that others may simply live. In order to ascertain the new revolutionary system that is being called into existence in the present, Boggs asks us to follow the lead of the poor who everyday invent alternatives within a failed system that never meets their needs but only produces greater suffering and fragmentation. The revolutionary potential of those social practices invented by the poor lies precisely in the way they sow the seeds for new understandings of human community; self-determined, self-reliant, and grounded in cooperation. To denounce the failed systems we have without acknowledging and joining in solidarity with the alternatives arising all around us in the creativity and dignity of the poor, we will never have the people power to match forces with those whose notion of revolution is to conserve the accumulation of wealth. There can be no popular movement unless people see prefigured today the possibility of an alternative to the massification produced by the system we presently have. In this sense, Boggs emphatically rejects the vanguardism and mass politics of an older notion of revolutionary politics (one that we see celebrated in the recent Hollywood film series, "The Hunger Games"). Speaking from her own experience of decades of activism within numerous revolutionary tendencies, Boggs describes the hierarchical and dehumanizing aspects of the old concepts of revolution as merely mirroring the capitalist system. In themselves, they offer no revolutionary alternative. Reading The Next American Revolution profoundly makes the possibility of systemic transformation appear human-sized. At the same time, Boggs's analysis produces its own contradictions that require patient and creative reading. Written on the eve of Obama's first inauguration, The Next American Revolution speaks often and buoyantly about his rise to power and the role of a mass movement in ensuring his election. Even when she is clear that the radical potential in Obama's presidency rests in the desire for transformative change among the millions who volunteered on his behalf, the book communicates little historical memory that such moments have occurred often only to result in profound disillusionment and cynicism. Boggs's focus, however, is on the ground; how a movement seeking "change we can believe in" is the first step in taking responsibility to make that change in our lives. Elsewhere in The Next American Revolution, Boggs sharply warns that a test for any revolutionary project lies in its break from dependency on the Federal government. At one point, Boggs states sharply that demands for benevolent action and justice from the state on behalf of the poor always arises out a sense of one's own victimization. Empowerment begins with self-determination not with demands that the state function on behalf of the poor. This seems like uncharacteristically, for Boggs, non-dialectical thinking. Also unclear, however, in Boggs's prognosis is how self-determination prepares communities for inevitable backlash that will come from the state and, in particular, from the police who rarely passively accept their obsolescence. Importantly, Boggs harbors little naïvete about the likelihood of backlash. As she says in the book's final pages, it is precisely due to racist backlash (e.g. Tea Party extremism) that the poor must pursue their own inter-dependence and self-determination. But with everything to lose, the forces of reaction (including the capitalist classes and their allies) will not simply whither away in the night as we're seeing now in the Canadian government's brutal retaliation against First Nations communities daring to live by their own environmental policies. That all said, the fact that Boggs brings us to this point in our political thinking and questioning itself testifies to the profound insights that she has to offer. Early in the book, Boggs sites science philosopher Margaret Wheatley in arguing that revolutionary change is not produced by critical mass but through critical connections. The Next American Revolution has the exhilarating effect of catalyzing those connections through the ideas and lived experience of its nearly 100-year old author. No-one alive today more than Grace Lee Boggs embodies the history and disappointments of the Twentieth-Century Leftist struggle. As The Next American Revolution attests, no-one more than Boggs embodies optimism for a new Century of experimentation and bold action. It is because of the lessons from the past that we know our task today. For its simple language and equally complex ideas born out of decades of experience in the struggle, Bogg's The Next American Revolution is probably one of the most important books written in a generation. Even in its contradictions, it can only help readers in the work of transformative change. I will certainly be recommending this book to other members of my own political collective as well as the many activists, artists, educators, and organizers I encounter everyday who have made the commitment to becoming the future we're all waiting for -- and urgently need.

  3. 4 out of 5

    K

    3.75 Well-written, informative, easy to follow, Grace was very very smart. However we have differing views on why we do this work, and reading her critiques of "victimization" coming from oppressed people rubbed me the wrong way. 3.75 Well-written, informative, easy to follow, Grace was very very smart. However we have differing views on why we do this work, and reading her critiques of "victimization" coming from oppressed people rubbed me the wrong way.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Malik Newton

    A straightforward account of what we must do and what is already being done to bring about the next American Revolution. This book speaks simply and honestly about the need for a revolution in a society dominated by violence, alienated from nature (as much as itself), and dying from a lack of imagination, compassion, and (principled) action. The great, late Grace Lee Boggs dismisses as obsolete understandings of revolution that demand masculinists surges and seizures of state power. Instead, she A straightforward account of what we must do and what is already being done to bring about the next American Revolution. This book speaks simply and honestly about the need for a revolution in a society dominated by violence, alienated from nature (as much as itself), and dying from a lack of imagination, compassion, and (principled) action. The great, late Grace Lee Boggs dismisses as obsolete understandings of revolution that demand masculinists surges and seizures of state power. Instead, she centers people, and the web of relationships and practices of care we must nurture in order envision and embody our new world. Her essential political framework is that another world is possible. Indeed, as she tells it, it is this deep visioning of other worlds which has been the revolutionary fuel for people committed to putting an end to the triple pillars of racism, materialism, militarism. I find her fundamental analysis and acute sense of how history moves refreshing. Boggs isn't stuck on static notions of social change; she is committed to the practical engagement of our creative capacities. In that vein, she emphasizes the need, as we move, to reflect and, as she puts it, to grow our souls. She talks some about our changing society, where since the 1970's, atleast, we have rapidly moved into a post-industrial phase, marked by neoliberal politics. This fundamental change in political economy demands that we ask new questions. In the flight of factories and the once American dream of stable factory work, increasingly Americans are faced with precarity and insecurity. In this regard, what's true for Americans is and always has been doubly true for Black Americans. As such, her analysis has pushed me to reflect on our shifting time, place and conditions as it pertains to where we work, live, and play. I find some value in her proposal, essentially, that we begin where we are. That is, also, that we begin with who we are. As Grace Lee beautifully expresses it: we are the change we wish to see in the world. A good read, for sure. I still have some studying to do. With this, however, I feel I'm on the right track.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Les

    I'm looking forward to discussing this book in depth or at least attempting to during the salon that I read it for. I really was in lockstep with her on some major points and no where on the same planet that she resides on other key points. It wasn't exactly theoretical, but it was far from concrete. And some of the contradictions were less than helpful. Utopian, but also real in some ways (I know). This was written before the presidential candidate receiving the most votes "failing" to be elect I'm looking forward to discussing this book in depth or at least attempting to during the salon that I read it for. I really was in lockstep with her on some major points and no where on the same planet that she resides on other key points. It wasn't exactly theoretical, but it was far from concrete. And some of the contradictions were less than helpful. Utopian, but also real in some ways (I know). This was written before the presidential candidate receiving the most votes "failing" to be elected (Hill, not Gore). So...factoring that into the conversation on this book is going to be sumpthin. And if she said being the change you wish to see ONE MORE TIME - Gandhi didn't even say that and he was certainly given the light treatment in this book. Argh. Like I said, I was with her and then not on and off throughout. I hope if I'm around 90 - and I really don't plan on being here that long - I still possess and articulate solutions, whatever others may make of them. And that goes whether they make a movement or a mockery out of said solutions. I'm unsure if this is more a testament to her life or to action, but people are taking it as both - so they say. So be it. She did say it all may go to shit before results can be cultivated effectively (I'm paraphrasing).

  6. 5 out of 5

    Happyreader

    I appreciate the compassionate approach to activism taken by Grace Lee Boggs. So much more productive to focus on what can be accomplished than to get dragged down by opposition. The missing link for me, however, was the economic component. I understand that Dr. Boggs wants us to get beyond our environmentally damaging, soul sucking focus on getting more stuff. At the same time, the reality we live in requires that we earn money to afford safe housing and provide us with adequate healthy food an I appreciate the compassionate approach to activism taken by Grace Lee Boggs. So much more productive to focus on what can be accomplished than to get dragged down by opposition. The missing link for me, however, was the economic component. I understand that Dr. Boggs wants us to get beyond our environmentally damaging, soul sucking focus on getting more stuff. At the same time, the reality we live in requires that we earn money to afford safe housing and provide us with adequate healthy food and other necessities. There is a substantial segment of the population whose wages are so low that, even with full-time work, they still qualify and need food stamps to feed their families. While the movement to grow our own food, as discussed in her Detroit urban farms chapter, is laudable and will provide fresh produce for those involved in the community gardens and urban farms, not everyone has the time or inclination to grow their own food. Plus where is the incentive to motivate those who consume the most to make do with less? A more equitable distribution of wealth would go a lot further to solve our hunger issues than building more gardens. Plus, if we consider community to be the larger community of states and nation, we would hope for a more sustainable food system that can healthfully feed our nation so that the non-agriculturally inclined can earn a suitable living providing goods and services that creatively serve us. For something truly revolutionary, we need to think beyond returning to a more agrarian way of life. I’m interested in hearing more ideas that would motivate all segments of our society, especially those who consume at the highest levels, to move away from our consumer-focused model to more creative and profitable ways to contribute to a more sustainable national community.

  7. 5 out of 5

    C

    This book is basically a soul burrito. You can't smash the system with a burrito, but you can eat it, and be sustained a bit longer. And that's an important part of "working out a strategy that combines a short-run, immediate attempt to solve people's needs and a medium-run strategy of transforming the system" (p. 197). You can try to do one or the other, but things work out best when you do both at once. I learned about GLB from a PBS special (filmed by Grace Lee of the Grace Lee project, FWIW). This book is basically a soul burrito. You can't smash the system with a burrito, but you can eat it, and be sustained a bit longer. And that's an important part of "working out a strategy that combines a short-run, immediate attempt to solve people's needs and a medium-run strategy of transforming the system" (p. 197). You can try to do one or the other, but things work out best when you do both at once. I learned about GLB from a PBS special (filmed by Grace Lee of the Grace Lee project, FWIW). In that documentary, as in this book, what grabs you most about GLB is her quiet optimism. She is a dreamer where I and so many others, in this age, feel as if we are being devoured by our pessimism. But where some dreamers get caught up in their dogma or righteousness and become isolated from reality, she comes across as someone who is constantly questioning and refining her ideas in conversation with others. GLB compels me because this combination - someone who has this capacity to dream, intellectually analyze and develop that dream over time, AND then translate that into direct action, always attempting to integrate these three parts - is what I'd like to become. Others mentioned that they found it frustrating and GLB doesn't offer more details and strategies, and as someone who tends to be very problem-solution oriented, I felt this too. I think that she approached it this way because, as she says "reality is constantly changing" (p. 5), and what seemed to work for her at one time and place will not necessarily work for us, where we are. We need to build new strategies in the moment. (That said, I feel that history is both comforting and informative, so - I look to other books.) In the meantime, feed your soul and enjoy the burrito.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Drick

    Grace Boggs, is a 96 year old community activist from Detroit who writes with the clarity of a veteran and the vision of someone who expects to live another 50 years. In this book Boggs lays out her vision for participatory democracy in the 21st century with such clarity and practicality that it is hard not to believe she has seen the future with the vision of a prophet.I only learned of Grace Boggs about 3 years ago, but until reading this book, I only considered her an interesting figure. Howe Grace Boggs, is a 96 year old community activist from Detroit who writes with the clarity of a veteran and the vision of someone who expects to live another 50 years. In this book Boggs lays out her vision for participatory democracy in the 21st century with such clarity and practicality that it is hard not to believe she has seen the future with the vision of a prophet.I only learned of Grace Boggs about 3 years ago, but until reading this book, I only considered her an interesting figure. However, this spry Chinese-American woman who was married to an African American autoworker activist husband, Jimmy Boggs, has risen to the top of my list of the great unsung heroes of social change. This book is a must read for anyone involved in efforts to bring about signficant social change in our day.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Glenn

    Her veteran status does not forgive her ultra-left errors. Her book presents a disappointing mismatch of ideas without a clear direction. She falls into agreement with many of the same old arguments used against the left. She has a tendency to shy away from speaking truth to power, instead using a muddled and vague vocabulary. On the whole, the book is worryingly appealing on first appearances, which I fear will mislead many well-meaning comrades who would be better-off reading a sturdier concre Her veteran status does not forgive her ultra-left errors. Her book presents a disappointing mismatch of ideas without a clear direction. She falls into agreement with many of the same old arguments used against the left. She has a tendency to shy away from speaking truth to power, instead using a muddled and vague vocabulary. On the whole, the book is worryingly appealing on first appearances, which I fear will mislead many well-meaning comrades who would be better-off reading a sturdier concrete analysis. Put the Boggs down and go back to the old comrades she admired in her younger days: Lenin, Trotsky, etc.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mara

    This book is amazing! Grace Lee Boggs is so incredibly inspiring and redefines what it means to be revolutionary. This is a book I will read over and over and over again and quote for the rest of my life. I recommend it to anyone and everyone, especially if you are at all interested in social justice issues.

  11. 4 out of 5

    rae

    Yes already feeling this. Blew through the first hundred pages thanks to my insomnia. This is the perfect book to read as I muddle through my own spiritual and political crises.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Eric Dye

    This was a fantastic book to read - particularly in this moment that we are in. Most of the essays in this book were written in he middle of Obama’s first term and so there seemed to be space for opportunity. It is sad to read some of the passages in the wake of what actually happened shortly after Boggs’ passing in the 2016 election. However, Boggs’ collection of essays lay out a revolution that isn’t really about electoral politics. It is about the work we all do to change ideas and foster a b This was a fantastic book to read - particularly in this moment that we are in. Most of the essays in this book were written in he middle of Obama’s first term and so there seemed to be space for opportunity. It is sad to read some of the passages in the wake of what actually happened shortly after Boggs’ passing in the 2016 election. However, Boggs’ collection of essays lay out a revolution that isn’t really about electoral politics. It is about the work we all do to change ideas and foster a better sense of community around those ideas. We have to change the way we think to be able to reshape society. Attempts to seize state power the make change from the top down have failed with tragic results throughout the world. Likewise, capitalism continues to dehumanize us because all we can think about is accumulation and all capitalists think about is growth - the consequence is tragic and unsustainable. But you can’t just try to wipe away systems overnight with a top down approach. Systems operate on the beliefs and ideas we have collectively. So we need to all do our part to radically transform those ideas among ourselves with more of a horizontal approach to bring about the revolution we need, and Grace Lee Boggs does a wonderful job laying many of the strategies we can use to do just that. Finally, make sure you read the afterward with Boggs and Wallerstein, it is a wonderful conversation.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Shasun Sulur

    The last line sums up the book pretty well: “They/ we are the leaders we’re looking for” This book had me rethink what I understood about revolutions, anti capitalism , Marxist/Leninist thought, and abolishing power structures. Theory aside, Grace Lee Boggs draws on her vast knowledge and experience to urge activists and passionate people to not wait for a revolution but to start one in their own community. Understand problems created by oppressive power structures, understand what paradigm shif The last line sums up the book pretty well: “They/ we are the leaders we’re looking for” This book had me rethink what I understood about revolutions, anti capitalism , Marxist/Leninist thought, and abolishing power structures. Theory aside, Grace Lee Boggs draws on her vast knowledge and experience to urge activists and passionate people to not wait for a revolution but to start one in their own community. Understand problems created by oppressive power structures, understand what paradigm shift needs to happen, work to engage those around you and create consciousness, and focus on creating more equitable power structures and empowering people, not corporations and not the state.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lawrence

    ht aisha shillingford circa 2017 What are the main ideas? * most people are walking around with a definition of "revolution" that is outdated and rooted in leninist-stalinist timeframes. those timeframes create a fundamentally different revolutionary need than the times today: they were revolting from a place of scarcity; today's revolutions (at least in the global north) are needed to move in the direction of **less.** * revolution is an inside job * people really underestimate the role of educati ht aisha shillingford circa 2017 What are the main ideas? * most people are walking around with a definition of "revolution" that is outdated and rooted in leninist-stalinist timeframes. those timeframes create a fundamentally different revolutionary need than the times today: they were revolting from a place of scarcity; today's revolutions (at least in the global north) are needed to move in the direction of **less.** * revolution is an inside job * people really underestimate the role of education (as political work) in revolution * malcolm and martin, whose lives were both cut short, have had their complexities and their analsyes frozen in time by the flattening of history. but, their trajectories seemed to be leading them closer to each others' stances (malcolm was moving towards a more spiritually grounded stance for revolution (see his hajj), martin was realizing that nonviolence wasn't a relevant or strategic tactic in all contexts (see his time in chicago)). * rebellion is *against* the status quo, generally reactive. revolution is *towards* something better and may begin reactively but is rooted in people ready to create something else. * revolution, if effective, must create more human humans. If I implemented one idea from this book right now, which one would it be? the next american revolution will require us to remake ourselves in order to remake the society. any revolutionary who is serious about society change will also be serious about their personal change and understand the link between the two. i should bring the same rigor i apply externally to my internal change processes. How would I describe the book to a friend? incredible. in this brilliant manifesto or sorts, grace lee boggs, a movement strategist, theorist, organizer, and teacher, brings together major threads as she frames, given her lived experience, what the front edge of american revolution looks like. from deep understanding of inner work to clarity about the breadth of many generations of revolutionary organizing, boggs powerfully pulls together critical pieces of what has stopped working with visions for what could. her life and legacy of work in detroit demonstrate that her thinking is praxis, not just intellectual pontification. this feels like a once in a half-century kinda book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    David

    I have been waiting for this book all my life. At last, a revolutionary vision that makes sense! Not a bunch of violent macho extremism or ideological puritanism - just a great deal of creative thinking and common sense, distilled over a long lifetime of radical activism (and wide reading). The book came out in 2011, and it is heartbreaking to read in 2018. The things she says about W's administration were certainly true, but they also sound like what we are living through now, only W's administr I have been waiting for this book all my life. At last, a revolutionary vision that makes sense! Not a bunch of violent macho extremism or ideological puritanism - just a great deal of creative thinking and common sense, distilled over a long lifetime of radical activism (and wide reading). The book came out in 2011, and it is heartbreaking to read in 2018. The things she says about W's administration were certainly true, but they also sound like what we are living through now, only W's administration looks like the Good Ol' Days by comparison. She was very clear-eyed about Obama, too, reminding us what he said about the need for us to make the change we needed. Instead, we fell into the usual complacency that Our Hero would take care of everything (whether the hero was Obama, Bernie, or Hillary), and now we hope it's not too late to save our country and the world from the horrifying results. I hope the midterms will mark the start of our path back to sanity, so we can take up the work that this book sets out for us. Apparently this book was assembled from the first author's writings by Scott Kurashige, who did a beautiful job of making it read seamlessly, as if Grace Lee Boggs had dictated it to him. He also contributed an excellent introduction. Highly recommended, especially if, like me, you are just now learning about the late, great Grace Lee Boggs (1915-2015). She's definitely worth learning about, in my opinion, so I plan to read her autobiography, as well as the book she wrote with her husband, Jimmy Boggs, not to mention other works mentioned in this book. This slender volume is a great read -- I got it from the library, and urge you to check it out.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Thomson

    Super grounded yet inspiring perspectives on progress and liberatory social change from possibly my favorite thinker/activist of the last century. As radical leftists, anti-capitalists, and seekers of social justice, we often feel that existing structures and institutions are so rotten that they need to be entirely thrown out and replaced - but how is this possible when they have such a stranglehold on power? Existing notions of revolution involving armed struggle and popular seizure of power ha Super grounded yet inspiring perspectives on progress and liberatory social change from possibly my favorite thinker/activist of the last century. As radical leftists, anti-capitalists, and seekers of social justice, we often feel that existing structures and institutions are so rotten that they need to be entirely thrown out and replaced - but how is this possible when they have such a stranglehold on power? Existing notions of revolution involving armed struggle and popular seizure of power have both historical precedent and a certain romantic appeal, but Grace Lee Boggs identifies the insufficiency of these ideas for our modern predicament and argues that the next "revolution" will (must) look different, with an emphasis on a bottom-up, grassroots approach to social progress. Strikes a great balance of principled capitalist critique, historical reflection (the author was involved with the civil rights and Black Power movements), and contemporary examples of sustainable activism. Personally, I found the persistently optimistic tone a bit difficult to keep up with, as I'm a pretty staunch pessimist when it comes to humanity's ability to achieve large-scale liberation. However, I bow to Boggs' intellect and experience, and I ultimately agree either way that this approach, building self-sufficiency and dual power starting at the individual and community level, is our only way forward.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Hilary

    This book is engaging and fun to read but for some reason it's not very memorable. I am amazed by Grace Lee Boggs and so much of the content of this book is affirming and powerful. But as I read it, it feels like the words run through my fingers. For some reason, it just doesn't stick. There are great sections about King, Gandhi, Love, Beloved Community, and the power of the people. I also love the way she emphasizes our need to grow souls. reflecting on the ways of working in the 60s: "Our meetin This book is engaging and fun to read but for some reason it's not very memorable. I am amazed by Grace Lee Boggs and so much of the content of this book is affirming and powerful. But as I read it, it feels like the words run through my fingers. For some reason, it just doesn't stick. There are great sections about King, Gandhi, Love, Beloved Community, and the power of the people. I also love the way she emphasizes our need to grow souls. reflecting on the ways of working in the 60s: "Our meetings and our demonstrations lacked the sense that our souls and the souls of those we worked with are growing, that in our relationships and in our community organizing we are patiently building a spiritual framework for our everyday lives." (174) "This is what revolutions are about. They are about creating a new society in the places and spaces left vacant by the disintegration of the old; about evolving to a higher Humanity, not higher buildings; about Love of one another and of the Earth; not Hate, about Hope, not Despair; about saying YES to Life and NO to War; about becoming the change we want to see in the world." (134) I had hoped to find a copy of the article she references co-writing ("Another World is Necessary, Another World is Possible, Another World Has Already Begun") but was not able to...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Zach

    I quit this about one-third of the way through. She makes great points about the future of America, capitalism, and the necessity of change, but the entire thing is delivered in the manner of an inspirational commencement address. Yes we need to organize, yes the government has shorted the poor... but how? Do you have examples of things that have or are working? Or is it a call to arms to hold a protest sign and raise awareness. The book is big on high-minded concepts that sound good on paper but I quit this about one-third of the way through. She makes great points about the future of America, capitalism, and the necessity of change, but the entire thing is delivered in the manner of an inspirational commencement address. Yes we need to organize, yes the government has shorted the poor... but how? Do you have examples of things that have or are working? Or is it a call to arms to hold a protest sign and raise awareness. The book is big on high-minded concepts that sound good on paper but those lack of specifics turned me off for good.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jay

    A blast of hope in trying times. Highly recommended reading for anyone despairing over our tremendous social problems, inequalities, endless war, environmental destruction, institutionalized racism, broken education system. Read this if you're wondering how the world can possibly change. Are we screwed? Maybe, but maybe not. "Another world is possible." A blast of hope in trying times. Highly recommended reading for anyone despairing over our tremendous social problems, inequalities, endless war, environmental destruction, institutionalized racism, broken education system. Read this if you're wondering how the world can possibly change. Are we screwed? Maybe, but maybe not. "Another world is possible."

  20. 4 out of 5

    Eva

    I haven't read a book that made me think & reflect about society and life in a very long time. Grace Lee Boggs will be missed. RIP. I haven't read a book that made me think & reflect about society and life in a very long time. Grace Lee Boggs will be missed. RIP.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    i finished this book in literally one day so i'll do a review later i just never want to read again i finished this book in literally one day so i'll do a review later i just never want to read again

  22. 4 out of 5

    April

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. An intellectual and a grassroots social activist. I learned even more about how MLK and Malcolm X influenced the civil rights movement and other social justice movements of the past. Where would we be today if they had lived long, full lives doing the good work that they did? Making positive change is a continuous struggle and Grace is right that we do need a paradigm shift before real change can happen. It's happening slowly, I think, and there are positive movements in the right direction. Slo An intellectual and a grassroots social activist. I learned even more about how MLK and Malcolm X influenced the civil rights movement and other social justice movements of the past. Where would we be today if they had lived long, full lives doing the good work that they did? Making positive change is a continuous struggle and Grace is right that we do need a paradigm shift before real change can happen. It's happening slowly, I think, and there are positive movements in the right direction. Slower than we'd like to see, however. But we will continue. Book coincidences - Starhawk, her book The Fifth Sacred Thing is next on my to-read list and she is mentioned and quoted in this book! This book also mentions one of the other things that I'm fascinated by: quantum physics. "However, changes in small places also affect the global system, not through incrementalism, but because every small system participates in an unbroken wholeness. Activities in one part of the whole create effects that appear in distant places. Because of these unseen connections, there is potential value in working anywhere in the system. We ever know how our small activities will affect others through the invisible fabric of our connectedness." pg. 50 "We know we have not been alone in Detroit. All over the planet more and more people are thinking beyond making a living to making a life--a life that respects Earth and one another." pg. xxi "Above all, Detroit is the place that has crystallized for us Martin Luther King Jr.'s call for a 'revolution of values' against the 'giant triplets of racism, militarism and materialism.'" pg. 10 "The only certainty with capitalism is that it never stands still. It mandates that all who partake in the system engage in a process of constant and unending accumulation lest they be bulldozed in the path of creative destruction. Hence, the security, stability, and prosperity of postwar Detroit would prove fleeting or illusory." pg. 12 "The giant triplets had taken firm hold. Marked by the achievements of a middle-class standard of living for millions of workers, the American Dream had grown increasingly corrupted by crass materialism." pg. 13 "In words that will resonate throughout this book, we must define revolution both by the humanity-stretching ends to be achieved and the beloved community-building means by which to achieve those ends." pg. 15 "Out of the depths of poverty, segregation, despair, abandonment, pollution, and marginalization, grassroots activists are bringing to life projects and movements that while local in scope are projecting and shining a light on the fundamental human values of hope, cooperation, stewardship, and respect. It is in this regard that we have come to see the sprouting of a farm in the middle of a concrete jungle as transformative in ways that even a large mass protest is not. As Grace argues, echoing author Margaret Wheatley, movements are born of critical connections rather than critical mass." pg. 17 "The core mission of this book is to help us comprehend the epochal shift that confronts us at the dawn of the new millennium and to help project and guide the actions we must urgently take. We need to have a clear sense of what is dying, what is growing, and what has yet to be born in this phase of transition. We must move toward the future lacking a clear-cut blueprint of what is to be done and shedding a dogmatic sense of the eternal truth, but carrying with us a shared sense of the awareness, values, methods, and relationships necessary to navigate these uncharted waters." pg. 21 "To confront our problems, we must break with the cult of economic growth, resist xenophobic scapegoating, and realize there is no technological fix that will restore our profligate ways of the late twentieth century." pg. 23 "Yet rather than wrestle with such grim realities, too many Americans have become self-centered and overly materialistic, more concerned with our possessions and individual careers than with the state of our neighborhoods, cities, country, and planet, closing our eyes and hearts to the many forms of violence that have been exploding in our inner cities and in powder kegs all over the rest of the world. Because the problems seem so insurmountable and because just struggling for our own survival consumes so much of our time and energy, we view ourselves as victims rather than embrace the power within us to change our reality." pg. 33 "In this period, we need artists to create new images that will liberate us from our preoccupation with constantly expanding production and consumption and open up space in our hearts and minds to imagine and create another America that will be viewed by the world as a beacon rather than as a danger." pg. 36-37 "To become truly human and to really know Truth, people discovered, we need to summon up all our mental and spiritual resources, constantly expanding our imaginations, sensitivities, and capacity for wonder and love, for hope rather than despair, for compassion and cooperation rather than cynicism and competition, for spiritual aspiration and moral effort." pg. 41 "For example, most of us reject the getting and spending that not only lay waste to our own powers but also put intolerable pressures on the environment. We try to eat homegrown rather than processed foods and to maintain our physical well-being through healthful habits rather than by dependence on prescription drugs. Overall, we try to make our living in ways that are in harmony with our convictions." pg. 42 "We must have the courage to walk the talk, but we must also engage in the continuing dialogues that enable us to break free of old categories ad create the new ideas that are necessary to address our realities, because revolutions are made not to prove the correctness of ideas but to begin anew." pg. 51 "When you read Marx (or Jesus) in this way, you come to see that real wealth is not material wealth and real poverty is not just the lack of food, shelter, and clothing. Real poverty is the belief that the purpose of life is acquiring wealth and owning things. Real wealth is not the possession of property but the recognition that our deepest need, as human beings, is to keep developing our natural and acquired powers and to relate to other human beings." pg. 60 "These two notions--that reality is constantly changing and that you must constantly be aware of the new and more challenging contradictions that drive change--lie at the core of dialectical thinking." pg. 62 "Then, with rebellions breaking out all over and young blacks joining the Black Panther Party by the tens of thousands, we had to ask ourselves whether there is a fundamental distinction between a rebellion and a revolution. Out of that questioning, we concluded that although rebellion is a stage in the development of revolution, it falls far short of revolution. . .rebellions are important because they represent the standing up of the oppressed. Rebellions break the threads that have been holding the system together. They shake up old values so that relations between individuals and groups within society are unlikely ever to be the same again. But rebels see themselves and call on others to see them mainly as victims. They do not see themselves as responsible for reorganizing society, which is what the revolutionary social forces must do in a revolutionary period. They are not prepared to create the foundation for a new society. Thus, while a rebellion usually begins with the belief on the part of the oppressed that they can change things from the way they are to the way they should be, they usually end by saying, 'They ought to do this and they ought to do that.' In other words, because rebellions do not go beyond protesting injustices, they increase the dependency rather than the self-determination of the oppressed." pg. 66-67 "The next American Revolution, at this stage in our history, is not principally about jobs or health insurance or making it possible for more people to realize the American Dream of upward mobility. It is about acknowledging that we Americans have enjoyed middle-class comforts at the expense of other peoples all over the world. It is about living the kind of lives that will not only slow down global warming but also end the galloping inequality both inside this country and between the Global North and the Global South. It is about creating a new American Dream whose goal is a higher Humanity instead of the higher standard of living dependent on Empire. It is about practicing a new, more active, global, and participatory concept of citizenship. It is about becoming the change we wish to see in the world." pg. 72 "We have to help the American people grow their souls enough to recognize that because we have been consuming 25 percent of the planet's fossil fuels even though we are less than 5 percent of the world's population, we are the ones who must take the first big steps to reduce greenhouse emissions. We are the ones who must begin to live more simply so that others can simply live." pg. 73 "Therefore, World War IV, the war in which the whole world is now engaged, is a new kind of war: an ongoing and total war, the war of the 'Empire of Money' against Humanity. The Empire on Money seeks to impose the logic and practice of capital on everything, to turn every living being, the Earth, our communities, and all our human relationships into commodities to be bought and sold on the market. It seeks to destroy everything that human beings have created: cultures, languages, memories, ideas, dreams, love, and respect for one another. It even destroys the material basis for the nation-state that Western societies created in the nineteenth century to protect us, if only marginally, from the forces of money." pg. 76 "Under these historically new conditions the meaning of revolution must also undergo a dialectical change. Fighting on the side of Humanity against the Empire of Money, we need to go beyond opposition, beyond rebellion, beyond resistance, beyond civic insurrection. We don't want to be like them. We don't want to become the 'political class,' to simply change presidents and switch governments. We want and need to create the other alternative world that is now both possible and necessary. We want and need to exercise power, not take it." pg. 76 "The main reason why Western civilization lacks Spirituality, or an awareness of our interconnectedness with one another and the universe, according to Gandhi, is that it has given priority to economic and technological development over human and community development. Advanced technology has made it possible for people to perform miracles, but it has impoverished us spiritually because it has made us feel that outside forces determine who and what we are. Traditional societies lacked our material comforts and conveniences, but individuals had more Soul, or a belief in the individual's power to make moral choices, because these societies valued the community relationships that they depended on for survival." pg. 88 "Because modern societies, capitalist or communist, are committed to unlimited growth, Gandhi anticipated that they would eventually become so gigantic and complex that human beings would be reduced to masses, dependent on experts, serving machines instead of being served by them." pg. 88 "Moreover, the abundance created by pursuing unlimited economic growth would make it almost impossible for people to distinguish between Needs and Wants, so that they would end up being enslaved by the temptations of material wealth and luxuries, a form of bondage [Gandhi] considered even more cruel than physical enslavement." pg. 88-89 "For similar reasons, Gandhi rejected Western strategies for revolutionary struggle that depend on constantly agitating the masses and increasing their anger, militancy, and rebellion. Struggles of this kind, he said, could only end up with political leaders who are preoccupied with prestige and power and with states dominating rather than serving society." pg. 89 ". . .encouraging [people] to think for themselves in order to create self-reliant local communities. Such communities should be based on two pillars: Work that preserves rather than destroys skills while fostering cooperation rather than competition and Education whose goal is the building of community rather than increasing the status and earning power of the individual. Stressing the importance of human relations beyond the nation-state, Gandhi began projecting a new concept of global citizenship." pg. 89 "This revolution of values must take us beyond traditional capitalism and communism. Capitalism, [King] said, 'encourages a cutthroat competition and selfish ambition that inspire men to be more I-centered than thou-centered.' Communism, as it had been instituted by parties in state power, had reduced men to 'a cog in the wheel of the state.' 'Each represents a partial truth,' concluded King. 'Communism fails to see the truth in individualism. Capitalism fails to realize that life is social.'" pg. 92 "Then comes a passage in which by simply replacing the word 'communism' with 'terrorism,' King could be talking to us today. 'This kind of positive revolution of values is our best defense against communism. War is not the answer. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons... We must not engage in a negative anti-communism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy, realizing that our greatest defense against communism is to take offensive action in behalf of justice. We must with positive action seek to remove those conditions of poverty, insecurity and injustice which are the fertile soil in which the seed of communism grows and develops.'" pg. 94 "Love isn't just something you feel. It's something you do every day when you go out and pick up the papers and bottles scattered the night before on the corner, when you stop and talk to a neighbor, when you argue passionately for what you believe with whoever will listen, when you call a friend to see how they're doing, when you write a letter to the newspaper, when you give a speech and give em' hell, when you never stop believing that we can all be more than we are. In other words, Love isn't about what we did yesterday; it's about what we do today and tomorrow and the day after." pg. 96-97 "As a result [of Americans being faced with mortality due to terrorism], growing numbers began to recognize that spiritual values such as compassion, generosity, and community are more important than material consumption." pg. 98 "Especially in this age of rapid social and technical change, education 'is not something you can make people do in their heads' with the perspective that years from now, eventually, they will be able to get a good job and make a lot of money. Some children may accept this regimen. But in a world where kids and adults watch and hear the same devastating news on TV and radio hour after hour, we can no longer treat children and young people like cogs whose 'job' is to ingest basics to fit into the economic machine as workers and consumers. Those who feel most acutely the contradiction between the need for change in their daily lives and the abstractness of school subjects will create so much turmoil inside and outside the school that teachers can't teach and no one can learn." pg. 137 "Today's schools fail, the Caines explain, because they concentrate only on memorization instead of building on the multiple and complex powers of the human brain. Among these are the capacity to function on many levels simultaneously, to change in response to others, to keep searching for meaning, to create patterns, to enrich ideas by linking them to emotions and all the senses, to perceive and create at the same time, to be uninhibited by threats (like rewards and punishment), and to be enhanced by challenges and opportunities to make a difference." pg. 141 "Like workers in the factory, children and young people are denied their full humanity by a system that trains them to survive, consume, and produce." pg. 142 "Instead of viewing the purpose of education as giving students the means for upward mobility or helping the United States to compete on the world market, we need to recognize that the aptitudes and attitudes of people with BAs, BSs, MBAs, and PhDs bear a lot of the responsibility for our planetary and social problems. Formal education bears a large part of the responsibility for our present crisis because it produces morally sterile technicians who have more know-how than know-why. At a time when we desperately need to heal the Earth and build durable economies and healthy communities, too many of our schools and universities are stuck in the processes and practices used to industrialize the Earth in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries." pg. 149 "Our children will be absorbing naturally and normally the values of social responsibility and cooperation at the same time that they are being inspired to learn the skills and acquire the information necessary to solve real problems. This is the fastest way to motivate all our children to learn and at the same time turn our communities, almost overnight, into lively neighborhoods where crime is going down because hope is going up." pg. 158 "However, carrying out the true spirit of the activists who sparked the first American Revolution in December 1773 means rejecting consumerism and the stranglehold of luxury goods on our lives." pg. 169 "However, since discovering that the personal is political, women activists have been abandoning the charismatic male, vertical, and vanguard party leadership patterns of the 1960s and creating more participatory, empowering, and horizontal kinds of leadership. Instead of modeling their organizing on the lives of men outside the home--for example, in the plant or in the political arena--they are beginning to model it on the love, caring, healing, and patience that, along with an appreciation of diversity and of strengths and weaknesses, go into the raising of a family." pg. 173 "These visits have reaffirmed my belief that the movement today, in this period and this country, is being created not by the cadres of a vanguard party with a common ideology, but by individuals and groups responding creatively with passion and imagination to the real problems and challenges that they face where they live and work." pg. 178 "If you want to understand right-wing populism in the United States--or, indeed, in Europe or in other parts of the world today--understand it in terms of people panicking. They don't know how to protect themselves. They do see that they're in a shaky situation, and they lash out at whatever. That leads to xenophobia: You find the enemy and attack it in a way that doesn't solve any of your problems, but it makes you feel better for a few minutes--until the next time that it doesn't work." pg. 201 Book: borrowed from Skyline College Library.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dots

    I was lucky enough to receive this book as a gift from a friend, filled with little sticky notes that marked parts where he stopped and things he wanted to highlight. This is my first book of 2021 and I wish Grace was here to see it now. As a first generation Chinese American who is involved in activism- change seems daunting and impossible on this globalized scale. Grace reminds us that it is with local, community work across different communities across the world that helps to enact true change I was lucky enough to receive this book as a gift from a friend, filled with little sticky notes that marked parts where he stopped and things he wanted to highlight. This is my first book of 2021 and I wish Grace was here to see it now. As a first generation Chinese American who is involved in activism- change seems daunting and impossible on this globalized scale. Grace reminds us that it is with local, community work across different communities across the world that helps to enact true change (and here I am getting my Masters in the EU lol). What interests me, or saddens me? is that this books is written at the beginning of the Obama Era. When Bush's presidency seemed like the worst of the worst and technology already seemed like a monster against humanity. Grace seemed to think Bush was the end of an era. I wonder how she would view the emergence of Donald Trump? There are points where I disagree with Grace in the book- but her life is still one I hold in high regard. I hope to continue to be a life long learner like her- to continue to read and engage and speak to those around me. Her book preaches love and light, about humanity and heart. To a certain extent, it's true that in order to not burn out, you have to put your hope in the good of humanity. Maybe I've become too cynical, but it seems almost impossible for us to pry ourselves out of the consumerist world and "burn our credit cards to demonstrate our independence from the casino economy". Her book seems almost like a pipe dream rather than achievable goals for the 21st century.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Chalida

    Part of doing my own self-reflection lately means looking at moments of Black and Asian American solidarity which led me and a few other Asian American women to this book. I have been reading this slowly over the course of weeks and will take away a few things. Grace spent most of the 1950s attending Black Power meetings, and it wasn't until the 1960s that she felt that after living with the Black community, observing and being present, that she could act. Listening is key! I also appreciated he Part of doing my own self-reflection lately means looking at moments of Black and Asian American solidarity which led me and a few other Asian American women to this book. I have been reading this slowly over the course of weeks and will take away a few things. Grace spent most of the 1950s attending Black Power meetings, and it wasn't until the 1960s that she felt that after living with the Black community, observing and being present, that she could act. Listening is key! I also appreciated her reminder of the Marxist definitions of wealth and poverty. "Real poverty is the belief that the purpose of life is acquiring wealth and owning things. Real wealth...the recognition that our deepest need, as human beings, is the keep developing our natural and acquired powers and to relate to other human beings," (60). Her connection to education is based on this definition. Grace reminds us that real education is work not isolated in a school building for 12 years but deeply connected to the community. Some of it resides in the physical labor of working with your hands to create what you need. In this very tech-centered world, I see the reliance and desire on material things and I remember thinking when my 8th graders were most happy this year was when they were reading to preschoolers and being role models, and reading their poetry to parents and community members. How do we do more of that? Especially now. Work has to be meaningful, and connected to community.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Darnell Anderson

    Important Read for Positive Change So many transformative gems from a lifelong activist and philosopher. Must-read for any stage of activism. Grace Lee Boggs is a national treasure

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tien

    Really enjoyed thinking about Grace Lee Boggs' long term vision of activism and evolution. Needed a book to give me some hope and nourish the spirit. Really enjoyed thinking about Grace Lee Boggs' long term vision of activism and evolution. Needed a book to give me some hope and nourish the spirit.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    now i want to garden on moving toward ~community self-reliance and an economy rooted in human solidarity rather than amoral competition ~

  28. 5 out of 5

    Megan Gafvert

    Great chapter on education, but lots of philosophy and history that was over my head

  29. 4 out of 5

    María

    3.5 stars, rounded up.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Annie Windholz

    Grace Lee Boggs is a radical American social activist, philosopher and feminist who has written many books, and pioneered many initiatives in her home town of Detroit. In the 1940s and 1950s she worked closely with Marxist leaders in the US, but in the 1960s she and her husband Jimmy Boggs created their own political direction which Grace continued until the end of her life in 2015. Grace Lee Boggs, of Chinese-American descent, was actively involved in the Black Power movement with her husband. I Grace Lee Boggs is a radical American social activist, philosopher and feminist who has written many books, and pioneered many initiatives in her home town of Detroit. In the 1940s and 1950s she worked closely with Marxist leaders in the US, but in the 1960s she and her husband Jimmy Boggs created their own political direction which Grace continued until the end of her life in 2015. Grace Lee Boggs, of Chinese-American descent, was actively involved in the Black Power movement with her husband. In The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century, Grace Lee Boggs final work in 2011, she takes us through her theoretical political journey- beginning as a Marxist and moving to Detroit to get involved in the workers movement, but over time becoming more anarchistic and creating her own vision of the future. Quoting Martin Luther King Jr. she writes, “Communism fails to see the truth in individualism. Capitalism fails to realize that life is social… work which improves the conditions of mankind… work which extends knowledge and increase power and enriches literature and elevates though… [work that] is not done to secure a living… it is not the work of slaves, driven to their task either by the lash of a master of by animal necessities. It is the work of men who perform it for their own sake and not that they may get more to eat or drink or wear or display. In a state of society where want is abolished, work of this sort could be enormously increased.” In addition to questioning the meaning of work, Boggs speaks about the difference between rebellions and revolutions throughout the book, citing many social justice leaders along with adding her own thoughts. She quotes Paulo Freire in that people “cannot enter the struggle as objects in order to later become human beings.” Stressing communal learning as well as valuing individuals, Boggs questions our public schools system, and imagines a different future. “Our schools have been in a continuing crisis because so few educators are able to or willing to take the risk of leaving behind the old factory model and creating a new one that meets the human and social needs of young people to be creators of knowledge and social change,” Boggs writes. In addition to questioning current social structures that maintain the status quo, Boggs is also critical of progressive movements trying to change the world: “The movements of the sixties, I noted, were led mostly by men coming out of patriarchal culture. So there was a lot of top down vertical leadership… However, since discovering that the personal is political, women activists have been abandoning the charismatic male, vertical, and vanguard party leadership patterns of the 1960s and creating more participatory, empowering, and horizontal kinds of leadership. Instead of modeling their organizations on the lives of men outside the home… they are beginning to model it on the love, caring, healing, and patience that, along with an appreciation of diversity and of strengths and weaknesses, go into the raising of a family,” Boggs writes. Grace Lee Boggs asks us to become leaders in our own destiny, and asks us to dream big and work hard toward those dreams. Her work did not center on what was easy, but what was necessary for a society which respected all human life, and maximized human potential.

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