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Sierra Magazine

Sierra's September/October 2004 Let's Talk book selection:
Regime Change Begins at Home
A book by Charles Derber

Regime Change What it's about
Give the Bush administration credit for one thing: it has inspired the sharpest political commentary of any in American history. A deluge of literature has been provoked in response to its seemingly inexhaustible pandering to corporations, its Orwellian layers of lies, its militarism, and outright cruelty masquerading as compassionate conservatism. Regime Change is one of the clearest and most forceful expositions of how corporations have come to dominate the U.S. and how George Bush in particular is an instrument of corporations. But Sperber goes beyond the scathing critique of Bush to a critique of the Democrats and a demand that they mount a strong populist attack to reclaim government from the corporate regime. In making the case, Sperber looks at U.S. history as a series of regime changes involving the rise and fall of corporate power: first, the robber barons of the the post-Civil War era, and the populist revolt that resulted in trust-busting; the resurrection of corporate influence in the 1920s; the New Deal's response to it with landmark legislation to protect working people and stabilize the economy; the Reagan revolution in which conservatives regrouped and reasserted corporate power, undoing New Deal reforms. Sperber sees the country poised for another regime change, ready for a populist revolt. He calls for activist involvement to bring it about, and lists a number of organizations people can join to advance the changes.

Where to get it
(Berrett-Koehler. Now selling at HALF PRICE, only $9.98, to Sierra Club members--plus shipping; shipping is FREE for orders of 10 or more copies. Club members can order by calling 1-800-929-2929 and giving the operator the code RCBAH. Available to nonmembers for $19.95 at

About the author
Charles Derber is a professor of sociology at Boston College and former director of its graduate program on social economy and social justice. He has published eight books, on political economy, international relations, and society, including, People Before Profit: The New Globalization in an age of Terror, Big Money and Econmoic Crisis; The Nuclear Seduction: Why the Arms Race Doesn't Matter and What Does; and The Wilding of America: Money, Mayhem, and the New American Dream.

An advocate for social change, he has worked with grassroots peace and justice movements; organized a worker education program for the United Auto Workers, and helped unions deal with the problems of displaced workers.

Discussion questions

What are the principal problems with the Bush administration? Which should merit the most attention?

Does the book's analysis of history make sense when applied to today's situation?

Among the many issues the book addresses, such as globalism, tax breaks for the rich, and environmental damage, which are the most crucial to address as a tactic to excite people to make changes?

How can we make a better case for environmental protection in the context of a politics dominated by corporations?

Should corporations be stripped of rights that protect them as if they were persons?

What laws should be passed, if any, to take control of the media away from big business interests?

Corporations have created great wealth. How can a critique of their failures be presented in a convincing way to people who have benefited from their activities?


Learn more about Charles Derber's books, courses, and vision at his home page.

Watchdogging Bush:

  • Truthout
  • The Daily Mis-Lead

    Some regime change organizations:

  • National Labor Committee
  • Global Exchange
  • Reclaim Democracy
  • Greenpeace

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