[CORRECTION: the book is a year old. My mistake; my apologies.]
Leopold’s review, called Occupy the Police State, is worth reading in itself. The book is Andrew Kolin’s “State Power and Democracy: Before and During The Presidency of George W. Bush” (that’s a publisher link; I don’t do Amazon links when I have any alternative), and there’s an excerpt by Kolin on Truthout. Here is the beginning of the excerpt; I quoted as little as I could manage while still retaining the cogency so evident in Kolin’s writing:
The expansion of state power over the course of U.S. history came at the expense of democracy. As state power grew, there developed a disconnect between the theory and practice of democracy in the United States. Ever- greater state power meant it became more and more absolute. This resulted in a government that directed its energies and resources toward silencing those who dared question the state’s authority. Such questioning of state power had emanated as a response to mass- based political movements striving to further democracy with an increase in freedom, especially for the downtrodden. This put mass movements in direct confrontation with the elite politics of policy makers. So, over time, as the U.S. government continued on its course of seeking to increase state power by extending ever- greater control over people and territory, it also meant it worked toward a goal to diminish mass-based political movements. This tendency began not long after the end of the Revolutionary War, starting with the conquest of North America and by the start of the twentieth century, continuing with the expansionism outside of North America.
This confrontation certainly is being exacerbated in the post-Bush era, the democratic side symbolized by the Occupy movement and the repressive side comprising a whole long list of people and institutions in finance, government and the so-called 1% (more accurately, the 0.1%, or even the 0.01%… the forces grow in their oppressive tendencies as the rank by wealth ranges up to the Koch brothers and such). The conflict is very much out in the open now, with the primary combatants (literally) being kneeling or standing or sitting or marching or otherwise intransigent but rarely violent practitioners of civil disobedience on the side of democracy, and small armies fully equipped and armed for combat and calling themselves “police” forces on the side of the oppressors. The more we understand about who’s doing what, and why, the better equipped we will be to participate in the defense of democracy from wherever we stand. Or sit, in the case of cripples like me.
Now I’m off to see if the library has this book, and if not, whether it’s too late to add it to my Holiday gift list (take that, Bill O’Reilly!).
NOTE: HPL does not have the book, or any books by Andrew Kolin. A few years ago, HPL could be relied upon to have political books of various stripes, if they were, say, on the NYT bestseller list; e.g., they have Glenn Greenwald’s early books, and Paul Krugman’s. These days, though, I search in vain for new books of what could be called a liberal flavor. On the other hand, fiction by Tim LaHaye (the creepy “Left Behind” series) is readily available in every branch. Is the change real, or a product of my increasingly paranoid imagination?
NOTE: ouch. The lowest price, used, on Amazon is almost $50. I think I can live without this book, unless I can talk HPL into buying it. HPL is officially allegedly committed to diversity in political books, but who knows what happens in these lean times.
AMENDMENT: (the first, actually): this book is a year old. My apologies for thinking it was new. That makes the prices altogether ridiculous. Have I wasted your time? I hope not, but apologies if I have.