At an annual celebration in 2120, a storyteller tells why and how the Americans of our times built a movement to retake their country.
Help fund publication of a book that presents a practical and revolutionary path full of heart.
It is the night of the Winter Solstice in 2120. At one of thousands of community gatherings across the country, a storyteller performs the annual retelling of how, back in 2023, the people took over their own government, making it an instrument for directing their collective resources towards peace, social justice, environmental responsibility, and a society hospitable to the needs of the human spirit. She explains why a united movement, led by a new kind of grass-roots political party, was needed. Then she tells how that party and movement developed over a period of years, and how they finally succeeded.
Return of the Light, in which this retelling is portrayed, is part overview of the need for fundamental change in every area of U.S. public policy, part map of the road forward, and part organizing tool. In its entirety, it is a great source of hope and inspiration.
Those who have read the manuscript have marveled at the power of telling the story from the perspective of a future where “The Change” has long since happened. (The party that led it was called Be the Change, from Gandhi’s exhortation to “Be the change you want to see.”)
The backward-looking narrative, from a point of view where wars, reckless environmental despoliation, economic and health insecurity, a thoroughly corrupted political system, and a culture spiritually undermined by consumerism are all things of the past, reminds today's reader of how much we have learned to tolerate the intolerable. It explains the obstacles the people of our times faced in creating the society we wanted—the power of corporate money in politics, the low level of political consciousness of much of the population, corporate control of the media, and electoral laws that marginalize third parties. The book instills a deeply-felt sense that overcoming those obstacles is possible, because it is a credible account of victory over them having already been achieved.
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This book has been written, and professionals will copyedit it, design its interior and cover, shepherd it through production, and create a marketing plan. There is always the possibility at any of these points of lack of timely delivery of satisfactory service, which could delay shipment of the book.
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Don Hazen, Executive Editor of the progressive web site AlterNet.org, emailed the author after having read half of the manuscript:
"Your manuscript is very interesting, and I’m enjoying it. I can’t recall anything else that catalogues the failures of consumer capitalism and the future solutions, at the same time and place. It is a very encouraging read, in a time of little optimism. . . . [Once it is published,] I’d be interested in excerpting it on AlterNet . . . ."
Michael Parenti, author of The Face of Imperialism, Contrary Notions, and many other books critiquing U.S. society and foreign policy, writes,
"Return of the Light is a utopian 'looking backward' analysis of society and how a prosperous, equitable politico-economy can be created. Clearly written, hopeful and useful for those interested in building a real democracy."
Leslie Keenan, President of the Printed Voice, which will publish the book once the funding goal is reached, remarked, “This book could be explosive!” This was a spontaneous comment in a non-promotional setting.
The level of disenchantment in our country is high; what is missing is a concrete vision of empowering action, beyond protesting this or that government policy. As the storyteller explains,
"It was like one of those super-saturated chemical solutions, where all it takes is for a tiny seed crystal to be dropped in, and the dissolved mineral suddenly forms a large and beautiful crystal around it. Clearly the country was ready for something new; people just couldn’t act on that readiness without a vision of the road forward. But as soon as there was something around which a movement could coalesce, it did."
The book is a step towards providing that “something.” Though it is written from the perspective of over a century from now, it even answers the question of how to get started, as the storyteller explains how the groundwork was laid for a massive, powerful, and united movement.
There's a bit more detail in the answer to the question on following up, below. If you are considering a substantial donation and need to see more for yourself, click "Contact Me" next to the author's picture, above right. Ask him to send you a .pdf of part of the manuscript.
Return of the Light will be published by The Printed Voice, a small, highly selective “co-publishing” company which is enthusiastic about the book. Co-publishing is a hybrid between going with a traditional publisher, which could mean that the book would not be in print for at least three years and would return too little money to help fund followup efforts, and self-publishing, which is quick and pays more, but requires an upfront investment and either giving up all control or getting involved in production and distribution in a way that can be difficult for a neophyte. Either route requires the author to do most of the marketing. The Printed Voice is a highly selective publisher which handles the production and distribution details and works with the author on marketing, but, as with self-publishing, does not front the costs.
We want this project to be successful once funded, so we have a detailed budget for copy editing, cover design, interior design and formatting, and preparation of a marketing plan. We allocated additional funds to publicize and promote the book, including creation of a web site. We added 10% so that unforeseen contingencies do not hold it up; funds to send copies of the book to you, our contributors; and another 8% to the total to cover the fees charged by Kickstarter and AmazonPayments, which will process pledges when the funding goal is reached.
A small part of the funding will support a web site, which will help promote the book and provide a means for like-minded people in a locality to find each other and start circles to discuss this and other relevant books. It will also provide an online discussion forum.
Michael Goldstein has already begun work on a follow-up non-fiction book, with the working title, The End of the Two-Party System. The second book will explain in greater depth and detail, and with more facts, the themes of Return of the Light: the full extent of the catastrophe that is our domestic and foreign policy, the need for a drastic overhaul of the political system in order to get any of the changes most Americans want, the necessity for a party that organizes an unprecedently massive and sustained movement outside of the stacked electoral process, and how such a party can be created and function.
This is Kickstarter's policy. It protects you as a donor: your pledge will not be collected if there is a risk that a project cannot be executed effectively because it is underfunded.
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