Up From Socialism

My 60-Year Search for a Healing New Radical Politics


An essential introduction to the visionary, beyond-left-and-right political activism of the last 60 years, and a deeply honest insider account of why those activists have—so far—fallen short.

“I appreciate that Satin is willing to be so candid. It helps us all learn. And he writes in a way that touches the soul.” —Christa Slaton, First platform coordinator for the U.S. Green Party movement, and co-editor of the book Transformational Politics: Theory, Study, and Practice

In a gripping first-person narrative that reads like a novel, using his own experiences as a lens, Mark Satin tells the story of three generations of thinkers and activists who tried—and are still trying—to create a post-socialist, post-conservative, visionary and healing new politics for the U.S.

In this book, Satin shows that the increasingly militant movements of the Sixties drove many young people away—and into a search for a political system and world that could work for everyone. He looks at initiatives and organizations that over the next 30 years tried to further that search, such as the New World Alliance and the early U.S. Green Party movement. Then he illuminates the 21st century turn to “radical centrist” and “transpartisan” political initiatives.

Each chapter begins with a brief, context-setting introduction. Throughout the book are intense, blow-by-blow accounts of organization- and movement-building, as well as brief glimpses at over 40 often underappreciated visionary books. And always there are deeply honest accounts of Satin’s and other activists’ often shaky relationships with colleagues, family, and lovers—because getting healing politics right cannot be divorced from getting personal and interpersonal behavior right.

You will enjoy watching Satin’s encounters with civil rights militant Hardy Frye, Weather Underground terrorist Mark Rudd, environmental activist Paul Hawken, “beyond GNP” economic thinker Hazel Henderson, futurists John Naisbitt and Alvin Toffler, Nobel Peace Prize nominee Gene Sharp, Aquarian Conspiracy author Marilyn Ferguson, critical race theory co-creator Derrick Bell, radical centrist author John Avlon, and more. Nobody, least of all Satin, comes across as all-wise here, and long before this subtle and courageous book ends you will realize that a truly visionary and healing politics can only be built if we’re willing to address all the behavioral, intellectual, organizational, and attitudinal issues this book raises.

About the author(s)

Following unsettling “apprenticeships” as a teenage civil rights worker in Mississippi and campus SDS president, Mark Satin helped create the Toronto Anti-Draft Programme, the New World Alliance (a “beyond left and right” national political organization), the U.S. Green Party movement (initially “neither left nor right”), and the American Bar Association’s Section of Dispute Resolution. His books include New Age Politics: Healing Self and Society (1979, one of the few books to have been commended by writers in both the libertarian Reason and the far-left The Nation) and Radical Middle: The Politics We Need Now (winner of the 2004 “Outstanding Book Award” from the Ecological and Transformational Politics Section of the American Political Science Association). His Washington D.C.-based national political newsletters New Options and Radical Middle served visionary activists for over two decades. He lives in Oakland CA with his partner, a writer and mother of two Indigenous sons.

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