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Are Progressives Depressed or Too Privileged to Produce Social Change?

Are you on the Left? Do you feel tired? Worn out? Beaten down? Do you suffer from Outrage Fatigue? Psychotherapist Bruce Levine thinks that may be because many on the left have given up hope, that progressive movements have grown too used to being on the losing side to mount much of a counterattack. Les Leopold disagrees, and feels that many progressive organizations aren’t being given their due for all of the work that they do. What do you think? Read their exchange to find out!

A few weeks ago Bruce Levine wrote a provocative article titled “Are Americans a Broken People? Why We’ve Stopped Fighting Back Against the Forces of Oppression.” Levine suggested that many progressives and much of the general population may be so broken by the system that they’ve given up hope and become passive. He uses the metaphor of an abusive relationship, in which lack of hope and the sense that nothing matters make people passive instead of angry.

Levine, a radical psychotherapist practicing in Cincinnati, Ohio, has carved out a popular niche with readers, writing about psychological issues related to politics and change. Two of his most-read articles are “The Case for Giving Eli Lilly the Corporate Death Penalty” and ” Has American Society Gone Insane?”

Longtime labor organizer and economic thinker Les Leopold, whose recent book The Looting of America was excerpted on AlterNet, took offense to Levine’s article and wrote a response. While calling Levine’s argument an eyeopener, Leopold wrote that he has not experienced the passivity Levine describes in labor unions and among progressives. Leopold insists that progress will come from the hard work of organizing: building infrastructure, connecting issues and thinking big. We can’t count on people like Al Gore, who was passive after the 2000 election, and Barack Obama.

Read the whole article here.


Economic Development is Broken. Here’s How to Fix It

Economic development today is completely broken. That’s the argument of author Michael Shuman in his new book, The Local Economy Solution. The singular focus on attracting global corporations is not just ineffective but counterproductive, Shuman argues, especially given the huge opportunity costs. Indeed, it’s not far-fetched to suggest that the best way most communities can […] Read More..

5 Shareable Strategies for Creating Climate Action

Frustrated about climate change? You’re not alone. Most people in our society find themselves somewhere on the spectrum of depressed about our climate situation to flat-out denying that it exists. In fact, the more information about global warming that piles up, the less we seem to do to combat it. What is the reason for this […] Read More..

A Mini-Festo for Earth Day – Rebuild the Foodshed

For the past month, author Philip Ackerman-Leist has been on a Twitter MiniFesto campaign – each day sending out a new tweet designed to spark conversation and pass along some lessons he learned whilst working on his last book, Rebuilding the Foodshed. You might also know Philip as the author of his memoir Up Tunket […] Read More..

Books in the News: ‘The Tao of Vegetable Gardening’ & More!

What does Taoism have to do with gardening? That question is being answered in The Washington Post this week with a lengthy profile of Chelsea Green author Carol Deppe—gardener, plant breeder, seed expert, and geneticist based in Oregon—and her new book The Tao of Vegetable Gardening. “Once I read The Tao of Vegetable Gardening, with its […] Read More..

Depressed about Climate Change? Good. Here’s How to Take Action

The facts about climate change are settled. Mostly. In fact, the news seems to get worse, and more urgent, every day. Yet, the more the facts stack up, the less resolve many people seem to have about getting behind solutions that will stem, or turn, the tide. What gives? In What We Think About When […] Read More..