Jeremy's Reviews > Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism

Democracy Matters by Cornel West
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's review
Feb 17, 2010

did not like it
bookshelves: sociological

It's pretty rant-ish, his analysis is not terribly nuanced or original. It usually amounts to things like, gosh, did you know that capitalism produces a society where people pursue profit to the point that they are alienated from social/personal fulfillment. It's about as vanilla as leftist thought comes. That aside, the book does seem to come from a sincere effort to diagnose the American situation circa 2005. And as someone currently studying classics, it was nice to encounter lots of references to Plato and Thucydides. Everything sort of breaks down in the last chapter when he talks about how much of a spineless prick Larry Summers is. His attempt to spin what is basically personal gossip into his broader analysis, while well intentioned, just comes across as being really self-centered, and not very interesting. This seems to suffer from the same problem which a lot of leftist political writing did in the last decade, you really have to struggle to read it as much more than a reaction to the insane bullshit of the Bush administration. But that's one elephant in the room that we're all still trying to get past, so I can't really fault him for not succeeding in the thick of it.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Cris (new)

Cris I knew not to take this guy seriously when he opened Race Matters with an anecdote about how hard it is for him to get a cab in New York City.

message 2: by Addy (new)

Addy Reading Race Matters in 2000 and seeing him speak at Cornell the year before I enrolled set me up with a great respect for his perspectives on race theory. Still, Democracy Matters was weak, weak, weak--agreed.

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