We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Review: A People’s History of the World

Click here to access this book review by Robert Drury King from Heathwood Institute and Press. The author of the book is Chris Harman, a British journalist and activist.
...from the ‘Introduction’ to A People’s History, is an essential passage that betrays [reveals] Harman’s view on structure, and even suggests that his methodology is structural and systemic:
Simply empathising with the people involved in one event cannot, by itself, bring you to understand the wider forces that shaped their lives, and still shape ours. You cannot, for instance, understand the rise of Christianity without understanding the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. You cannot understand the flowering of art during the Renaissance without understanding the great crises of European feudalism… You cannot understand the workers’ movements of the 19th century without understanding the industrial revolution. And you cannot begin to grasp how humanity arrived at its present condition without understanding the interrelation of these and many other events.
The aim of this book is to try to provide such an overview. First, Harman speaks of wider forces, forces that go beyond the actions of individuals and thus become forces that are systemic. Not only this, such wider forces actively shape the actions and ideas of individuals.

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