Cover image for Whose millennium? theirs or ours?
Title:
Whose millennium? theirs or ours?
Author:
Singer, Daniel, 1926-2000.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Monthly Review Press, [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
vi, 295 pages ; 24 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780853459439

9780853459460
Format :
Book

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HX73 .S557 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

"Magisterial in its historical sweep, fiercely democratic in its vision, Whose Millennium? is the thinking person's 'bridge to the 21st century.' There is an alternative to rampant inequality and the corruptions of power, and-ever so modestly and persuasively-Daniel Singer points the way."--Barbara Ehrenreich

This visionary book challenges the chorus of resignation-the notion that there is no alternative, that profit is the best relationship between people, and that the market guarantees democracy. Daniel Singer insists that a more free and egalitarian society can be won, and he predicts that the new millennium will be an age of confrontation, not consensus, with Western Europe as a probable first battlefield.

In social criticism of rare scope and insight, Singer probes the outcome of the Russian Revolution and Russia's post-1989 turmoil, the transformation of the Polish trade union movement Solidarity into a reactionary and clerical force, the failure of social democracy in Western Europe, the emergence of an unbalanced world after the collapse of one superpower, and the massive 1995 strikes and demonstrations in France-which, Singer argues, were the first revolt against the prevailing idea that there is no alternative to market stringency.

As an alternative, Singer calls for "realistic utopia": a politics engaged with present-day possibilities but daring to pursue a world beyond capitalism, one that would put into consistent practice the ideals of democracy and equality.


Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

To many people, the end of the Soviet Union marked the death of socialism and the victory of capitalism. Not to Singer, European correspondent for the Nation. Instead, he presents a revised version of socialism as an alternative to present conditions. Part 1 recounts the disasters of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, along with the problems these areas encountered on the road to liberal capitalism. Next, Singer uses the 1996 Russian presidential elections and the sad shift of Poland's Solidarity movement from liberation to reaction as examples of corrupt idealism. However, Singer sees light in the darkness. The 1995 worker strikes in France stand as a spark of resistance to unchecked capitalism. This leads to Part 3, which presents an embryonic vision of a worldwide Socialist and democratic society as a "realistic utopia." However, the questionable Socialist examples of China, North Korea, and Cuba are not discussed in this otherwise engaging work. Interesting reading for individuals seeking alternatives as the world enters the 21st century.ÄStephen L. Hupp, Swedenborg Memorial Lib., Urbana Univ., OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Singer terms his book "a presumptuous pebble trying to upset the juggernaut." It is in fact an impressive blend of scholarship and leftist partisanship. Singer denies the smug neo-Hegelian claim of profit's defenders that with the new millennium comes the global reign of capital. At a tactical level, he admits that socialism's enemies are rhetorically successful in equating socialism with the tyranny and failure of 20th-century Stalinist "Marxism-Leninism." Singer's own socialist principles are radical but thoroughly democratic. By his logic, failure of "real existing socialism" in Eastern Europe should have liberated movements for genuine socialist democracy. Instead, socialist leaders in the UK, Germany, and elsewhere are deserting mass parties' commitments to labor and the welfare state. Singer is still optimistic that socialism has a future in the new millennium. In grim case studies of Russia and Poland, Singer ably chronicles the failure of "real existing capitalism" and attendant ills of deprivation, corruption, and cynicism. He calls for a new international socialist movement, based in labor, and formed somewhere in Western Europe. Leftist critics may take Singer to task for his Eurocentrism or his focus on labor to the neglect of feminism or ecology. Even so, his well-written work will interest historians and scholars of political economy. Upper-division undergraduates and above. J. D. Gillespie; Presbyterian College