Fw: BOOK: Former Soviet Dissident "Disses" the U.S.
pieinsky at SPAMigc.apc.org
Sun Aug 22 09:33:53 MDT 1999
FYI. Someone sent me this book publication notice. I haven't seen the book
yet, but it sounds interesting and deserving of wider circulation. As I see
it, one of the key elements in rebuilding a revolutionary movement to
challenge capitalism around the world is "dissing" the U.S. and unveiling
the truth, not only about what it's been doing imperialistically in other
places of the world, but also about the rotten, exploitative, and alienating
social relations festering in its belly (where I happen to live). I've
begun compiling the evidence, statistical, anecdotal and otherwise, for yet
another Web page to add to my site.
Question for discussion: why do so many people -- yes, I know very well that
there are many exceptions to this in the Third World, especially -- seem so
clueless and think, despite all the voluminous evidence that can be provided
to the contrary, that the U.S. is still some kind of "land of opportunity"
and "land of freedom"? Is it just because of the pervasiveness (hegemony)
of U.S. Disney/CNN/Voice of America, etc. propaganda? Does the U.S. message
have a special appeal for people who already have a "petit-bourgeois
mentality", or what?
A Russian high school teacher spent some months two years ago living with my
neighbors as part of a liberal exchange program, Project Harmony. Her
expectations about what America would be like were apparently based on the
TV show "Baywatch" (which my neighbors had never seen). Was she ever hit
with cognative dissonance when she got to Vermont and found herself staying
in a fairly humble abode amidst all the snow!
----- Original Message -----
From: Clarity Press, Inc. <clarity at islandnet.com>
To: <pieinsky at igc.org>
Sent: Wednesday, August 18, 1999 12:11 PM
Subject: BOOK: Former Soviet Dissident "Disses" the U.S.
For immediate release
FORMER ANTI-SOVIET DISSIDENT "DISSES" THE UNITED STATES
In another of history's ironic twists, just as the Russian free market
leadership is urging an exhausted Russian people to stay the capitalist
course, in the United States, Clarity Press, Inc., is pleased to
announce the release of Discovering America As It Is, a monumental study
by former anti-Soviet dissident, Valdas Anelauskas, of the devastating
effect American-style capitalism is having on the American people.
Discovering America As It Is raises serious questions not only
concerning America's role as a leading model for development, but even
as to its future capacity to compete due to the deterioration of its
"human capital" resulting from anti-social domestic policies. The book
has already met with acclaim from prominent American social critics and
scholars (see below).
During the era of the Soviet Union, many human rights dissidents turned
to the United States to champion their cause. Many even emigrated to
the USA. Few, however, have expressed the disappointment that awaited
them there, and fewer still have publicly exposed their view of human
rights as practiced in the U.S. That fact alone would make Discovering
America As It Is an important book, coming as it does from one who was
expelled from the USSR for human rights activities on behalf of his
native Lithuania, arriving in America as a high profile dissident, and
initially speaking to American audiences alongside such key Republican
Party leaders as Newt Gingrich and Phil Gramm.
Ten years' observation of American reality has led Anelauskas to
conclude that the U.S. extreme capitalist system poses an even greater
threat than Soviet mock-communism to the well-being of the world. He
paints an extraordinary portrait of the America he discovered - the
America as it exists for most Americans. Twelve highly-documented
chapters - on poverty, crime, health, education, homelessness, the
deterioration of the family, income inequities and the replacement of
welfare by workfare - detail the public disarray which results from an
unfettered system of great wealth where the rich determine the social
Even more telling than the comparison of American capitalism with
communism, an issue which may --or may not -- be moot, Anelauskas' book
ceaselessly poses this question: Does capitalism have to weigh upon its
people so mercilessly - or is the American version more extreme, more
pitiless than that of other industrialized nations? In thousands of
citations, Anelauskas documents the precipitous plunge in living
standards of American citizens, measured not only against the standards
enjoyed by citizens in other capitalist countries in the industrialized
world, but against their own past levels. Among the many searing
results: in all categories that measure economic equity, citizens of all
other industrialized countries generally fare better than do Americans.
No matter, were it Somalia -- but this, in a country -- the richest in
the world -- which lays claim to global leadership and promotes itself
as the arbiter of global justice, the model for development and an
icon of prosperity?
The findings in this book represent more than the view of just one man.
This blistering reality is culled from innumerable researches by
international organizations, domestic and international NGOs,
independent U.S. think tanks, journalists, scholars, and even from
American government sources, documented in over 80 pages of endnotes.
While most critiques focus on one social sector or another, this
multidimensional study brings them all together, and the impact is
staggering. What this book enables us to grasp - intellectually and
emotionally - is the predatory and wasteful operation of unbridled
capitalism in its systemic dimensions, and the needless, preventable
injury it wreaks upon millions.
Anelauskas' ominous thirteenth chapter, "The New World Order Takes
Shape," elaborates the socio-military resources and paradigms which
serve to entrench and extend American hegemony, as it seeks to deflect
global efforts to institute the rule of international law, and to turn
the world back to the rule of force.
PROMINENT AMERICAN SOCIAL CRITICS PRAISE DISCOVERING AMERICA AS IT IS.
Howard Zinn, Professor Emeritus of Boston University and author of A
People's History of the United States: "This is an extraordinary book,
especially startling not because it is a diligently researched and
scathing critique of contemporary America, but because it is written by
a Soviet dissident who arrived here with great expectations and
discovered a sobering reality. The scope of the book is breathtaking, a
sweeping survey, factually precise and philosophically provocative ,
which deserves to be compared to de Tocqueville's 19th century classic.
I hope it will be widely read."
David Gil, Director, Center for Policy Change, Brandeis University:
"Anelauskas' examination of many dimensions of current and past
realities of the United States is a veritable tour de force. He avoided
the usual approach to deal with these dimensions as separate fragments,
each with supposedly separate solutions, but traced them to their
underlying common roots in the dynamics of the capitalist institutions
and ideology of this society and its culture. Teachers and students of
social sciences, history, and philosophy will find in this book a rich
source for understanding the forces which shape the quality of our lives
and human relations, at home and abroad."
American author and activist, Ward Churchill: "A fascinating read...If
just one-in-ten lifelong Americans had ever bothered themselves to learn
as much about their country as has this recent Lithuanian immigrant, the
horrors he writes about would never have existed. This is must reading
for the entire population."
For further information (Table of Contents, expanded press release) we
invite you to visit the Clarity Press, Inc. website at
http://www.bookmasters.com/clarity/b0015.htm. For review copies or
additional information, please contact Annette Gordon at
clarity at islandnet.com.
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