Many people in the United States- almost all in fact- have benefitted from the work Ralph Nader has done in promoting the rights of consumers while blunting the power, avarice, and mono-maniacal stress on profits that define the corporate world. Just as most of us have benefitted, so few of us realize the kind of planning, work, determination, and desire to overcome seemingly impossible odds that characterize the movements that have in fact demanded and delivered these rights.
Against this backdrop- and in an increasingly corporatized world with rightward drift, Ralph Nader’s new book comes as a solid and inspirational clarion call to “break through power.” With a rich narrative sensibility, Nader explains clearly that if only 1% of people spend even 300 hours a year on clear, goal-oriented activism, the world can be shaped by the contours of fairness, justice, and equality. He tells us about scores of people- many of whom are unknown to many of us and unsung by the media- who bettered society on the basis of determination and morality.
For many, Nader is a controversial figure. Some believe that his campaign for the presidency handed victory to George W. Bush. Others find him un-nuanced and tone-deaf to forms of injustice that don’t fall neatly in the society-versus-corporations metaphor. Whatever the case, all should know the degree to which he, in this readable and exciting book, praises movements like Black Lives Matter and those posited on the need for environmental justice.
Learning from successful activists is important and more so in a time that calls for clear participation in the public sphere by anyone interested in securing a decent world. Thus, the Left needs to stop infighting and picking at small differences in nuance or approach. Organizing for clear goals, with unmitigated purpose is the call of the hour.
Clearly, reading is not activism so how can one ask others to sit down and spend hours in a solitary act at this juncture in history? To me, the answer is simple: books like this inspire and create a common language and framework for us to help divert the historical progression and bend the arc towards justice. We need clarity of thought and clarity of principle to succeed and we need to learn how to be insanely successful in these endeavors because, frankly, organized, civilized life depends on it.
So whatever you might think of the author, please read this book.
Romi Mahajan can we reached at email@example.com