Politics: There'll be no hope of "change" until we change the system

Historian Paul Street is interviewed by Truthout's Mickey Z.

Independent policy researcher, historian, journalist, activist, political commentator and speaker Paul Street harks back to the day of the public intellectual, a quaint time when facts and reasoned analysis were essential components of our political life.
Mickey Z.: So much of the American experience is based on myths like the two-party system, "land of opportunity," and more. How do you offer a more nuanced view of US history in your work?

Paul Street: I agree on the power of those great American myths and would add some other and related ones: the notion that the United States is a benevolent force for democracy and good in the world; the idea that that the profits system is a form of freedom and democracy; the myth that we can achieve significant democratic change simply by voting in quadrennial corporate-crafted and candidate-centered elections; the notion that we live in a "post-racial" era wherein racism has been mostly defeated; the myth of an independent and objective media. What I try to do to explode these and other key national legends is fairly similar to what you and other American dissidents like Bill Blum and Noam Chomsky and the late Howard Zinn do. I try to rescue from what E.P. Thompson called "the enormous condescension of posterity" (and from what George Orwell termed "the memory hole") some of the many inconvenient facts that do not fit the official narrative imposed by the dominant fables. And I try to fit the doctrinally inappropriate alternative facts into a compelling, accurate counter-narrative that links past to present and vice versa.
Read Obama, Democracy and the "Drum Major Instinct": Interview With Author Paul Street by Mickey Z. (Truthout 2010-09-28).

Books b Paul Street:
The Empire's New Clothes: Barack Obama in the Real World of Power (2010); Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics (2008); Racial Oppression in the Global Metropolis: a Living Black Chicago History (2007); Segregated Schools: Educational Apartheid in Post-Civil Rights America (2005); Empire and Inequality: America and the World Since 9/11 (Cultural Politics & the Promise of Democracy) (2004).

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