The Democrats: A Critical History

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Overview

"Worthy reading for anyone who is interested in social change."--MediaMouse.org

"The Democrats is at its best not just when analyzing Democratic foibles — and there are plenty — but when assessing how the party stifles dissent…. Lance Selfa has crafted a smart, readable history of the Democrats that reminds us of the party’s allegiance to capital."
—Eleanor J. Bader, The Indypendent

"If you've ever wondered where the democracy is in the Democratic Party and why US elections ...

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The Democrats: A Critical History

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Overview

"Worthy reading for anyone who is interested in social change."--MediaMouse.org

"The Democrats is at its best not just when analyzing Democratic foibles — and there are plenty — but when assessing how the party stifles dissent…. Lance Selfa has crafted a smart, readable history of the Democrats that reminds us of the party’s allegiance to capital."
—Eleanor J. Bader, The Indypendent

"If you've ever wondered where the democracy is in the Democratic Party and why US elections rarely seem to change anything, this book will explain the where and the why. Providing readers with the history of the Democrats from its genesis as the party of the slaveholders to the neoliberal DLC, author Selfa describes the Democrats' role in diverting Americans' desire for change."
—Ron Jacobs

Offering a broad historical perspective, Selfa shows how the Democratic Party has time and again betrayed the aspirations of ordinary people while pursuing an agenda favorable to Wall Street and U.S. imperial ambitions.

He examines the relationship between party leaders and social movements, from the civil rights struggle to the movement to end the Iraq war; reveals the unhappy marriage between U.S. labor and the “party of the people;” and assesses the mixed record of attempts to build a third party alternative.

Further, Selfa argues that the Democrats’ record of backing the rich and breaking promises to its voting base is not a recent departure from an otherwise laudable past, but results from its role as one of two parties serving the interests of the U.S. establishment.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781931859554
  • Publisher: Haymarket Books
  • Publication date: 4/1/2008
  • Pages: 260
  • Product dimensions: 5.54 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author


Lance Selfa is an editor of and contributor to International Socialist Review. He edited The Struggle for Palestine (Haymarket, 2002). He lives in Chicago.
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Table of Contents

Introduction The Beginning of a New Era? 1

Ch. 1 "History's Second-Most Enthusiastic Capitalist Party" 11

Ch. 2 The Party of Slavery Becomes the Party of the People 40

Ch. 3 The Rise of the New Democrats 65

Ch. 4 Social Movements and the "Party ofthe People" 87

Ch. 5 Defenders of the Empire 126

Ch. 6 Can the Left Take Over the Democratic Party? 158

Ch. 7 Why Is There No Alternative? 177

Conclusion: Is the Lesser Evil Good Enough? 189

App Hal Draper: Who's Going to Be the Lesser Evil in '68? 199

Notes 206

Index 234

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2008

    Precisely what the title is!

    As the title suggests, this is definately a critical history of what we know today as the Democratic party. However it is also much more than that, it not only chronicles the party's developments/history but the role it has historically played within the United States, particularly, as Selfa puts it being 'Capitalism's plan b'. I would highly recommend this title for both those on the left but also people generally interested in subject matter as per described by the title/back cover.

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