Meta Mendel-Reyes provides a critical look at our fascination with the sixties, discusses the ways in which democratic participation was at the heart of sixties politics, and explores the interrelationship between the history and memory of the sixties and contemporary democratic politics.
Mendel-Reyes stresses that if told properly, the story of the sixties could help open our eyes to the possibility that ordinary people can take democratic action and do have the ability to make a difference in nineties politics.
In a time of cynicism about the American government's ability to solve the crises of inequality, poverty and racism, Mendel-Reyes puts the decline of political participation in historical context and provides hope for the coming decades.
Meta Mendel-Reyes is Assistant Professor of Political Science, and the Director of the Democracy Project, at Swarthmore College.
"...the author argues that the civil rights and student campaigns of the 960s were firmly in the tradition of American democracy... this work argues thatthe secret of the 1960s may be that participation is not simply a cost of citizenship but is also integral to the process of building cummunity and therfore becomes a a benefit of civic life." -- Choice
"It is an exciting and dynamic book that comes at a time when the nation is forced to reexamine its priorities and continue to grapple with issues of social justice and equality." -- Byllye Avery, Founder, National Black Women's Health Project
"This is a terrific book. We need to re-learn some of the great lessons for the '60s -- that ordinary people can do extraordinary things, that we can change society for the better, that if we organize, the future is in our hands. This book helps us to understand why it matters to reclaim democracy, that it is possible to do, and provides some guidance for how it can be done." -- Heather Booth, President Midwest Academy and Paul Booth, Director of Organizing, AFSCME (Both former 60's activists)
"We live in the shadow of the 1960s. This brilliant, engaged and yet scholarly book not only recovers the history by bringing the sixties into the nineties, Meta Mendel-Reyes more importantly shows how it matters 'what our part is going to be'." -- Michael Rogin, University of California, Berkeley