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Publishers WeeklyStarred Review.
Using plain but deft language, longtime community organizer Gecan (Going Public: An Organizer's Guide to Citizen Action) diagnoses the range of problems threatening the country, community by community, as our institutions grow unreliable and corrupt: "No longer young... no longer without apparent limitations or constraints, these places, like people, have developed ways of avoiding reality," including (PR-supported) denial, gimmicks (buying soccer teams, leasing landmarks), blaming others (today, usually Hispanics and Muslims), and withdrawing ("White flight"). He also examines the potential for failure in the present administration's approach to the working poor, identifying on-the-ground conditions as a major blind spot for both of the cultural forces behind President Obama-elite academia, and the old-school Chicago political machine. Later sections explore the work of community organizers in Chicago, New York and elsewhere, "experiments that have already transformed parts of cities and counties and regions," and draw vivid conclusions for policy and politics in general. Exposing the crimes of exploitative politicians, real estate agents and the foreclosure industry, Gecan makes it clear that the fleecing of the American worker is a problem comparable in scope, ethics and injustice to American slavery.
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