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A new, radical reading of the US constitution.
An adroit collection of essays exposing the constitution for what it really is – a rulebook to protect capitalism for the elites.
Written by 55 of the richest white men of early America, and signed by only 39 of them, the constitution is the sacred text of American nationalism. Popular perceptions of it are mired in idolatry, myth, and misinformation - many Americans have opinions on the constitution but have no idea what’s in it.
The misplaced faith of social movements in the constitution as a framework for achieving justice actually obstructs social change - incessant lengthy election cycles, staggered terms, and legislative sessions have kept social movements trapped in a redundant loop. This stymies progress on issues like labor rights, public health, and climate change, projecting the American people and the rest of the world towards destruction.
Robert Ovetz’s reading of the constitution shows that the system isn’t broken. Far from it. It works as it was designed.
About the Author
Robert Ovetz is a Senior Lecturer in Political Science at San José State University, US. He is the author of When Workers Shot Back: Class Conflict from 1877 to 1921 and the editor of Workers' Inquiry and Global Class Struggle.
'A crucial and timely corrective about what words like democracy and freedom actually meant to the Founders. A gift to serious analysts of US politics - but, more importantly, to those who would build a system that serves people rather than property' Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University and author of 'Elite Capture'
'This ambitious, stimulating, thoughtful, exceedingly informative book sets a new standard in scholarship on the vaunted US Constitution' Gerald Horne, author of 'The Dawning of the Apocalypse'
'At a moment when the country is facing a constitutional crisis, it is well to understand what the Constitution is. This close analysis unravels in detail the achievement of the Framers 'to create a perpetual power of the elite minority to check the will of the majority', to ensure that the minority of the opulent would be protected from the threat of popular democracy' Noam Chomsky
'Powerfully addresses how the constitution and US politics reinforce capitalism and its dysfunction, offering crucial insights for the big changes coming' Richard D. Wolff, Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
'The Constitution is a problem hiding in plain sight. Everyone thinks they know what it means, but no one is willing to look too closely for fear that it might mean something different or that it might mean nothing it all. Robert Ovetz is one of the few who are willing to grapple with the problem head on. He deserves credit for his boldness and intellectual integrity' Dan Lazare, author of ‘The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy’
'An important corrective to a culture that engages in excessive veneration of the document and the political system it created' Sanford Levinson, author of 'Our Undemocratic Constitution'