Author: Sandy Boyer
review

The Intelligent Human’s Guide 
to Socialism

This is the book many socialists have been waiting for, although we probably didn’t know it. In just over 150 pages it describes the core socialist ideas in a clear, highly accessible way. The fact that the book is frequently laugh-out-loud funny makes it even better. Socialism … Seriously is written for people who are new to socialism and want to find out what it’s all about.

The first question about a book that sets out to explain socialism is, of course, what the author means by socialism.

Bernie Sanders’ Political Revolution

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Even a somewhat cynical 71 year old socialist like me could be thrilled to see Bernie Sanders talking about the need for an American political revolution on MSNBC. To be honest, I’m not sure that I ever expected to see a leading presidential candidate say we need a revolution on prime time TV.

When Bernie Sanders says we need a political revolution, he’s mostly talking about turning many thousands of new people out to vote. That would obviously be a very good thing. It’s just not enough to win the meaningful social changes that would add up to a political revolution.

The Sun, the Rain and the Whip

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Edward E. Baptist, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. Basic Books, 2014. 528 pages. Paperback, $19.

“Changes that reshaped the entire world began on the auction block where enslaved migrants stood, or in the frontier cotton fields where they toiled…Enslaved African Americans built the modern United States, and indeed the entire modern world, in ways both obvious and hidden.”
— Edward Baptist, The Half Has Never Been Told

This vital and enthralling book reveals how U.S. capitalism was built on the torture of enslaved people. Edward Baptist quotes a Mississippi overseer telling his friends that “the whip was as important to making cotton grow as sunshine and rain.” The whip “might open deep gashes in the skin of its victim, make them 'tremble' or 'dance'…but it did not disable them.”

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