On Monday night I attended the NY book launch for Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA at Housing Works bookstore. CSPAN was there, and as you can see, the house was jammed. In this video, taken with my usual high standards, Debbie Smith, a contributor to the book, introduces her husband Michael Smith, lawyer and radio host, and asks, “Michael what’s been the reception of this book so far?”
Smith (a friend of this site) says the reception has been surprisingly friendly, indicating a groundswell of support for socialist ideas. Alice Walker wrote him to say the timing couldn’t be better. Fox Radio had him on and wants to have him back.
“Things are changing…. This book is a contribution to that energy and movement.” 49 percent of people under 30 have a favorable view of the word socialism; the online Webster dictionary’s highest number of hits last year were for the words capitalism and socialism.
The first part of the book is “an indictment of capitalism” based on its two claims, Smith says: providing democracy and a decent standard of living for people. Smith cites NSA spying and the Citizens United decision as proof of the failed promise of democracy.
“I’ll believe a corporation is a person the day it gets a colonoscopy.”
Later Smith addresses the material failures of capitalism, including the widening gap between rich and poor and environmental destruction. “We can’t solve global warming under capitalism.” He also addresses the (high) average age of the panelists/contributors to the book by explaining that there have been “hills and valleys” in the history of American socialism. “And the 60s was a hill,” providing the experience to the folks on the panel. “And we’re coming up onto another hill.”