ABOUT THE NEWS- LETTER
RADICAL MIDDLE, THE BOOK:
OUR CONGRES- SIONAL SCORECARDS:
OUR POLITICAL BOOK AWARD WINNERS:
RESPONSES FROM OTHERS:
WHO WE ARE:
[new subtitle: Our Only Real Alternative]
Book by Mark Satin
My book New Age Politics (originally Canada, 1976; U.S., 1979; “40th Anniversary Edition,” 2015) has a long and colorful history.
I wrote it
as a Vietnam War draft resister in Canada.
After Jimmy Carter's pardon, I toured the U.S. with it, mostly by
Greyhound bus, speaking anywhere and everywhere for nearly three years (see
I wrote it as a Vietnam War draft resister in Canada. After Jimmy Carter's pardon, I toured the U.S. with it, mostly by Greyhound bus, speaking anywhere and everywhere for nearly three years (seeHERE). Many now say it was the first book to weld insights from the feminist, ecology, human-potential, spiritual, decentralist, world-order, and similar movements into a holistic new political philosophy or ideology that could challenge the dominance of liberalism and Marxism. Of course, that ideology is still under construction today.
Picture at left: Cover of the 40th Anniversary Edition (aka 4th edition), 2015. According to the foreword bv David Spangler, the cover depicts "faceless people on both sides fighting with each other to the ultimate detriment of us all." Our only real alternative is spelled out in the book.
what you’ll find below:
A PDF (electronic copy) of the press release for the fourth edition, published
in October 2015;
Excerpts from the 2015 edition (shown at left),
The story of New Age Politics, written for this website in 2014;
An account of the three-year New Age
Politics bus tour, launched in 1978;
Excerpts from 50 reviews and print-media mentions of the book;
For more information.
PDF of the OCTOBER 2015 PRESS RELEASE
Just click HERE
press release telescopes the book into 850 words for busy journalists and
Its first two headlines: “Lorian Press to publish updated “40th
Anniversary Edition of Mark Satin’s classic New
Age Politics: Our Only Real
Alternative / Upstart Seattle publisher obtains rights from Random
EXCERPTS FROM THE FOURTH EDITION (2015)
include the detailed Table of Contents and the first three pages of Satin’s
THE STORY OF NEW AGE POLITICS
What’s It About / Why Does It Matter?
which I began writing exactly 40 years ago this nmonth (February 1974), was an
attempt to articulate a new political philosophy, based on the movements that
began to arise after the New Left faded away in the 1970s – especially the
feminist, spiritual, ecology, human-potential, decentralist, and
dedicated thinkers and activists are now engaged in that great search for a
new political philosophy that can take us beyond the 19th century worlds of
liberalism, conservatism, and Marxism. But
when I started writing New Age Politics, first in a freezing Montreal
garret, and then in a series of communal houses and island dwellings in and
around Vancouver, B.C., I felt intellectually alone.
of my friends and political colleagues were anarchists or socialists of one
kind or another, and felt no need to change their ways. The Revolution was
just around the corner, wasn’t it? And
if it wasn’t, well, that didn’t have anything to do with the beloved
industrial-era analyses, values, goals, and strategies we were projecting ...
First of Its TYPE
New Age Politics is often recognized as the first book of its type.
For example, in the original draft of his foreword to the German
edition of New Age Politics (1993), Fritjof Capra – co-author of Green
Politics – wrote:
was the first attempt to not only describe a new kind of political activity
but also to provide a synthesis of the new political theory beyond left and
writing in The Nation (August 31, 1985), antinuclear activist Harvey
themes of New Age politics were first articulated in the late 1970s by Mark
Satin, ... [after] it dawned on him that “the ideas and energies from the
various ‘fringe’ movements – feminist, ecological, spiritual, human
potential and the rest – were beginning to come together in a new way."
in his foreword to the fourth edition of New
Age Politics (2015), spiritual thinker David Spangler writes:
stands as the first comprehensive articulation of a transformational political
ideology. It shows, in great and
systemic detail, how we can depthfully understand our world of crisis and get
to a world of collaboration and wholeness.
fact, New Age Politrics was quickly followed by a number of books that
also took comprehensive (holistic) appraches to fashioning a new politics out
of the new energies at work in the world.
Any short list would have to include Theodore Roszak’s Person /
Planet (1978), Marilyn Ferguson’s The Aquarian Conspiracy (1980),
Alvin and Heidi Toffler’s The Third Wave (1980), Hazel Henderson’s The
Politics of the Solar Age (1981), and Fritjof Capra’s The Turning
Point (1982). Roszak obttained
a copy of my book in 1976, from me, at the World Symposium on Humanity in
Vancouver; the next day he told me he’d read it all night and wished that
he’d written it himself! Ferguson
and the Tofflers obtained copies in 1978.
FOUR Versions of New Age Politics
are four distinct versions of New Age Politics.
first, printed in 1976, is the most succinct (84 tightly-packed pages) and is
aimed at a largely counter-cultural audience.
At the time of writing, I was a 27- to 29-year-old American Vietnam War
resister living in Vancouver, B.C., in what we all then called – without a
trace of irony – “voluntary simplicity.”
I worked on my book in a variety of places including a free-love
commune in (of course) the Kitsilano neighborhood, the great main library at
the University of British Columbia, the offices of a far-left underground
newspaper – The Western Voice – on whose editorial collective I’d
once loyally served, and a house trailer on Mayne Island, off the Vancouver
coast, where on clear days you could see all the way to the U.S.
had made myself persona non grata in the small publishing world of Canada at
that time, when I went ballistic over the vulgar and wildly inappropriate
cover my Toronto publisher had created for my autobiograohical novel (that
cover is still tormenting me on Amazon, HERE).
Thus it was that I wrote, designed, typeset, and printed the first
edition of New Age Politics myself, and lugged it to the first “World
Symposium on Humanity,” held in Vancouver in 1976 – where it promptty sold
out and garnered the attention of the Toronto Star (which ran a
humongous article about it) and New Age Journal in the U.S. (which
serialized key parts of it). Many
second version of New Age Politics was published by Whitecap Books, in
Canada, in 1978. It is
considerably longer than the first (240 pages) and aims at a broader audience.
It benefited from the keen eye of Bonnie Kreps, a Canadian journalist
and spiritual seeker and founder of Toronto New Feminists.
The cover art was contributed by Anne Koedt, co-founder of New York
Radical Feminists and author of a paper that was ubiquitous in
transformational circles the 1970s, “The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm.”
U.S. President Jimmy Carter pardoned all draft resisters, I embarked on a
two-year speaking tour of the U.S., largely by Greyhound bus, with a big box
of books always in tow. I
eventually spoke at over 90 venues; see HERE.
at left: Satin speaking to over 600 community organizers at his first U.S.
event after Carter’s pardon – the annual Northwest Network of Non-Profit
and Cooperative Groups conference, Silver Falls State Park, Oregon, April
section V.-E, "Coda," below. I still love you, Nancy,
Brian and Sue! – M.S., 10-17-15
third version of New Age Politics appeared in the U.S. in 1979.
It came about when a representative of Dell Publishing Co. discovered
that I was, surreptitiously, selling dozens of copies of my book at a plant-
and cat-bedecked booth at a national meeting of the American Sociological
third version is longer than the others (349 pages) and far more detailed.
It includes important new sections on New Age economics, and a 22-page
political platform offered as a “discussion document.”
In addition, its tone is different.
It is the third version that is discussed in political-science texts
like Andrew Jamison’s The Making of Green Knowledge and Herbert W.
Simons and Michael Billig’s After Postmodernism: Reconstructing Ideology
IN 2015: The fourth version of New Age
Politics, aka the “40th Anniversary Edition,” was published
by Lorian Press of Seattle in 2015. It
is my favorite version by far and I’m sure it is the best.
Taking advantage on my 30 years of experience as a political newsletter
editor (see HERE and HERE)
and attorney, I took the first and second versions, totaling 160,000 words,
and turned them into an updated and “streamlined” 50,000 word version that
speaks to the present moment (see Table of Contents HERE).
THE NEW AGE POLITICS BUS TOUR
don’t do this sort of thing anymore. See
EXCERPTS FROM THE MEDIA
A. EXCERPTS FROM REVIEWS OF THE CURRENT EDITION (2015)
Age Politics: Our Only Real
Alternative (Lorian Press, 2015) by Mark Satin captures the transformational political perspective emerging out of the
social movements of our time. Originally published in the 1970s the ideas have
been streamlined and are now more relevant than ever."
“[I]t’s perfect timing for the
revised edition of a classic book from the 1970s that goes right to the heart
of [today’s] dilemmas and offers an optimistic route into the future—Mark Satin’s New Age Politics.
Originally published in 1976 by a
non-profit publishing collective in Canada, the book became a bestseller on
both sides of the Atlantic. … With
its advocacy of a whole raft of institutions that are now beginning to emerge
40 years after Satin first outlined them, New
Age Politics was way ahead of its time. …
Satin sees … the essential sub-structure of a different form of
“Forty years after it
was originally published, Mark Satin’s book on spirituality and the
political sphere, New
Age Politics, is being updated and re-released.”
Age Politics: Our Only Real Alternative crosses over between politics and
spirituality because of Satin’s conviction that the best political change is
inspired by a transformed consciousness. Although
my views are strictly secular and Satin’s are not entirely so, I’ve found
him to be one of the most intriguing thinkers of our era.”
strove to pull together the differing transformational movements of the 1970s
into a holistic political ideology that reached deeper than boundaries, ballot
boxes, and economic philosophies. … In
the effort he created a powerful image of a six-sided mental prison, its walls
consisting of established systems, attitudes, and institutions. …
After 40 years we find ourselves still imprisoned by multiple issues
such as racism, nationalism, sexism, environmentalism. …
So we still need writers like Mark Satin to point out the complexity of
the structure, to tell us that if one wall is cracked others will crumble.”
Satin is one of the most creative political theorists of our time, and his new
book represents his best thinking. This comprehensive critique of the
present and vision for the future was published originally in another
form, and Satin has transformed it into a compelling
workbook for the massive changes facing the US and other nations. One of
the most attractive features of New Age Politics is that Satin is
a true centrist, integrating left and right into a more productive whole.”
writes with an assurance that comes off as almost smug, but there is an
important saving grace: his ideas are not entirely his own and he draws on a
large number of thinkers. … [S]pirituality
… is one of Satin’s elements of a New Age society – which is why BSN
endorses his views. … Satin’s book is one of several signs that things
are now picking up. It is a very
good guide as to how readers can become part of the major historic
developments that are taking place [now].”
Excerpts from reviews of the first edition (1976)
60,000 words Satin has made a comprehensive critique of North American society
and outlined a Utopian society to replace it. ...
At 30 he’s already miles ahead of the academics and intellectuals who
cling to the Marxist vision.”
at left: The cover art for the first printing of the first edition was truly
dreadful – even David Spangler laughs at it in his foreword to the 2015
edition. Fortunately, subsequent
printings of the first edition were humanized by this cover from artist
Suzanne Soldan of Vancouver, B.C. It
was meant to depict an androgynous young person looking skeptically at the
world she or he is inheriting.
does a good job of drawing the best thinking of over 200 new age philosophers
into just a few pages. ... [A]
stimulating and inspirational book.”
is a surprisingly practical utopianist, a thrower out of the old.
His little book (60,000 words ...) is not at all the usual dogmatic
sophistry of the pamphleteer.”
is an excellent book of the new spiritual consciousness that ... necessarily
includes a new politics.”
cogent political analysis we’d been seeking. ...
[T]he most intelligent effort we’ve seen to date that describes the
politics emerging out of the union of power and innocence.”
is clear that feminism has made a deep impact on [this book].”
in an easy and pungent conversational style, ... Mark Satin develops not only
a mental but also an emotional analysis of the present situation in its
landmark publication. ... Satin
has done those who are interested in a new way, a great service.
This book marks him as one of this era’s most imoportant new
... writes in an engaging, personal vein and raises stimulating questions.”
concise analysis and set of suggestions for evoluionary change. ... [Says] we
must tap the inner courage to live life in a way which is in harmony
with our vision.”
thoughtful analysis from an aware, well-read person.
I like his life-oriented (as opposed to thing-oriented) philosophy.”
[that] feminism, men’s liberation, ruralism, ecology, humanism,
non-traditional education, A.T., and neo-pacifism are melding into a new
alternative to both Marxism and Liberalism.”
attempt ... to synthesize the thinking of an age. ...
[T]ries to wrench readers out of their ideological security.”
young people have gone the route that Mark Satin describes, liberal to SDS
activist to draft dodger during the Vietnam war, to the ‘growth movement’
and an inner search, to renewed activism with a different perspective and set
of values. But none [had]
articulated the philosophic basis for their post-ideologial politics [until
fresh viewpoint to help us see out of the present impasse.”
Satin has done an enormous piece of important work.”
Arnold Klassenm Gay Community
News (Boston), December 10, 1977
Excepts from reviews of the second edition (Whitecap, 1978)
Satin is one of the few profound political thinkers of our day who has grasped
the significance of both spiritual practice and psycho-spiritual growth. ...
The auhor’s active political background, and more recent involvement
in self-growth, make him uniquely qualified to draw together ideas which up
until now have remained isolated from one another.”
Picture at left: The cover art for the second edition was contributed by Anne Koedt, co-founder of New York Radical Feminists.
has brought together a million threads and woven a coherent message – and
he’s not a Utopian.”
Age Politics: Healing Self and Society inspired this year’s [University
of Manitoba] festival theme of Living in the New Age. ...
Mr. Satin says he has traveled 40,000 miles, ‘mostly by bus,’ since
his book was published and he has found people everywhere feel ‘that this
continent deserves a second chance.’”
Age Politics ... [is] a gathering [of many people’s thoughts], a
centering, a vast summary, gentle, conscious, confident, loving, high.”
what Satin espouses in both his talks and his book – a politics of personal
responsibility and reconciliation – is striking a responsive chord with a
rapidly expanding audience.”
this brilliant, cogently organized review of ... what has slowly been brewing
in the seemingly ‘quiet’ times of the later 70s ... Satin captures the
flavor of a changing political paradigm as no other author has.”
has taken the important realizations of the 1970s [spiritual, environmental,
and feminist] movements, and welded them with the important realizations of
his more overtly political 1960s years. The
result is ... a book which is creating a lot of interest and enthusiasm in
Canada and the USA.”
Excepts from reviews of the third edition (Dell, 1979)
is a compelling work, drawing on an impressive number of sources. …
[A] useful formalization of a number of related and converging ideas
that have been around for a long time, but have gained increasing currency.
… [An] outstanding work of
at left: My young editors at Dell had the art dept. create a cover that
modeled the book's fresh and holistic new perspective.
attractive work of synthesis and summary.”
indispensible introduction to what is now being called ‘new age thought.’
... [L]ibertarian principles,
coupled with a renewed sense of moral responsibility and spiritual
appreciation drawn from the rich lode of new age thinking, can produce a
higher synrhesis accfeptable … perhaps even to a majority.
By showing the way to this synrhesis, … New
Age Politics makes an extremely valuable contribution to contemporary
New Age Politics, Mark Satin asks us to consider that the problems from
which we as individuals and as a society suffer are caused by our values,
attitudes, and views of reality, our feeling that we are separate from each
other and nature, and our failure to see our basic connectedness and
interdependence in the world. ... It
is a wonderfully inspiring book, and is as interesting as it is
is steadfastly upbeat, open-armed, self-effacing, and earnest toward friend
and foe alike (though not necessarily toward their ideas). ...
[He] may move many readers to new or greater efforts to build the
better place we all long for.”
plain-spoken, pragmatic vision of a new politics that transcends the old
political ‘isms,’ borrowing what it needs from conservatives and liberals,
and showing us that there’s nothing incompatible about personal growth and
wealth of the material ... is likely to make the reader dizzy.”
major achievement. ... Libertarians
would do well to listen to the New Agers about ecology and people’s spitiual
aspects. What they have in common
is the desire to set people free from impersonal, institutional forces that
inhibit their aspirations.”
themes of New Age politics were first articulated in the late 1970s by Mark
Satin. ... Drawing on decentralist
and feminist theories of the early 1970s, Satin’s New Age Politics
called for an escape from the ‘six-sided prison’: patriarchism,
egocentricity, scientism, bureaucracy, nationalism and urbanism.
In its place Satin advocated a ‘third force’ which would transcend
the traditional divisions between Marxism and capItalism.”
with [the rise of] this legal self-help movement was a much broader
sociopolitical movement [variously described as] ‘the third wave’ [citing
A. Toffler], ‘new age politics’ [citing M. Satin], or ‘the aquarian
conspiracy’ [citing M. Ferguson].”
Passages from books
do-it-yourself spirit also moved Mark Satin – a young American draft
resister living in Canada – to write, design, and even typeset his own book,
New Age Politics: The Emerging New Alternative to Marxism and Liberalism.
The book sold 10,000 copies, which Satin mailed from his basement
before he sold reprint rights to a mainstream publisher – to secure, he
explained apologetically, more money and wider distribution for his work.”
Picture at left:
Satin carrying a box of New
Age Politics books (fresh off the press
from D. W. Friesen
& Sons, printers for Whitecap Books) during his multi-year
Greyhound bus tour of North America; on a stretch of now “redeveloped”
off Market Street, San Francisco, 1979.
Age Politics ... [is an] absolute must for gaining familiarity with the
aims and euphemisms of the New Age Movement. ...
Do not venture in the water without an excellent Bible basis, however.
Unless you know the real, the counterfeit could be seductive.”
New Age Politics Mark Satin articulates some of the ethics and vaues
that would likely form the platform of a new society in harmony with diverse
Satin claims that we are more than simply economic beings, and our liberation
must include a spiritual as well as an economic recovery.
In short, the New Age political message is our consciousness is
unlimited and our responsibility is total.
As gods come of age we must transform the planet.”
the eve of the 21st century a growing number of thoughtful people are tired of
debating 19th century theories on the most efficient method of production.
New Age thinkers, such as Schumacher in Britain and Hazel Henderson and
Mark Satin in the United States, insist that neither Marxism nor Liberalism is
adequate – that the basic values underlying both systems do not promote
most adequate example of an attempt to offer a systematic overview of New Age
politics is Mark Satin’s New Age Politics.”
who have accepted uncritically the media stereotype of the New Age as
apolitical should refer to Mark Satin’s New Age Politics.”
“[A] fresh analysis if today’s culture … and the blueprint for
a new politics beyond the traditional spectrum of left and right.”
Satin is one of the New Age’s leading political strategists. ...
New Age Politics present[s] a vision for a new political and
Age Politics fascinated me. It
spoke of a politics that originated with the heart rather than the traditional
power politics stresing manipulation and force of will.”
Satin’s movement-encompassing treatise, New Age Politics, calls for a
new ‘revolutionary’ strategy appropriate to our time. ...
[But] it explicitly rejects the working class as the primary agent of
change, endorsing instead a range of local activities involving the
transformation of one’s consciousness. ...
Like Laclau and Mouffe [in Henemony and Socialist Strategy,
1985], Satin labels himself a post-Marxist. ...
After treating ... both discourses, I turn to the ways in which a
critique of New Age as represented by Satin ... reflects back onto
post-Marxist prescriptions for revolutionary strategy. ”
Spretnak had edited The Politics of Wiomen’s Spirituality and would
soon author The Spiritual Dimension of Green Politics, and Satin was
the author of New Age Politics and would become publisher of the New
Age newsletter New Options. ... Spretnak
and Satinn played a significant role in facilitating the articulation of Green
political thought, and the philosophies they represented have left their
influence on the Greens’ ideological foundation.”
of those leading the discussion of the antiquated aspects of the political
system and identifying emerging trends came outside of the academic community.
... Citizens found intriguing
questions, analyses, and directions in books by nonacademics such as Heidi and
Alvin Toffler, Fritjof Capra, Marilyn Ferguson, Hazel Henderson, Betty Friedan,
E. F. Schumacher, John Naisbitt, and Mark Satin.”
Satin’s book New Age Politics is a survey of New Age and spiritual
politics. .... The book aimed to
make this politics explicit by presenting in some detail its analysis,
worldview, goals, economics, and strategy.”
of Teilhardism in our time are multiplying and becoming more eloquent, from
Danald Keys Earth at Omega to ... Mark Satin New Age Politics.”
most ambitious effort to fashion a new-age manifesto was Mark Satin’s
comprehensive but quite readable New Age Politics, which appeared ...
just as multiple strains of the counterculture began to emerge as parts of an
identifiable if not yet coherent ‘movement.’”
the United States there seemed to be not one but many different kinds of
movements developing [in the late 1970s] ... as well as a number of ideologies
that already then seemed to be in competition with one another: the social
ecology of Murray Bookchin, the new-age politics of Mark Satin, the
appropriate technology of Amory Lovins, the ecofeminism of Carolyn Merchant,
to name some of those that I became acquainted with”
the publication of Mark Satin’s New Age Politics in 1978, it has been
clear that New Age activists intend to continue promoting a political agenda
for a united global community under the control of a one-world government.”
“’New Age’ [is] being quietly
but proudly reclaimed as a spiritual tag. …
[P]ublications that have been invoked as founding texts of an eponymous
movement … did indeed promote the emblem, most notably David Spangler’s Revelation: the Birth of a New Age (1977), from Scotland, and Mark
Satin’s New Age Politics: Healing Self
and Society (1978), from Canada. Although
Spangler’s concerns are theosophical–metaphysical and Satin’s
secular–humanistic, Spangler would surely agree with Satin’s basic thesis,
namely: “If we want to change North America in a New Age direction, then
we’re going to have to begin with our selves [sic].”
Satin [was] a young man who had vehemently opposed the Vietnam War and while
in Canada had written a seminal book, New
Age Politics. On returning to
the U.S., he rode a Greyhound bus to 24 cities and regions, … shar[ing what]
in those days (1970s) were often considered far-our ideas about human
potential, threats to the environment, appropriate technology and renewable
energy, feminist issues, decentralization, futurist
projections, world order. …”
Satin accepted amnesty in 1978, he was invited to speak at a gathering in the
States. He had just returned, and
he was awake all night before the talk with excitement and fear. ...
The speech got a standing ovation, and Satin wept.
His vision of what was possible, of what in fact was already moving
through the culture, had evidently struck a nerve. ...
Two decades later, we know that Satin’s hopes for a new political
platform did not materialize. But
over those long years in [Canada], he caught sight of and began to plan for
the general movement for change that is taking form now.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Amazon.com’s page on the fourth edition of New
Age Politics, go HERE.
Satin’s Amazon Author Page linking to all six of his books, go HERE.
the Wikipedia biography of Satin, now a starred “Featured Article” there,
ou are doing original research on New Age or transformational politics, or on
related subjects, hundreds of documents pertaining to Satin’s writing and
promotion of New Age Politics are in the Mark
Satin Papers at the Joseph A. Labadie
Collection at Hatcher Graduate Library, University of Michigan.
The New Age Politics portion of the Satin papers includes 50
documents from Satin’s talks and workshops on New Age politics, 50 press
clips and book excerpts about New Age Politics, 50 letters to and from
Satin from 1974 – 1979, and Satin’s personal memoir of his New Age
A duplicate set of the New Age Politics portion of Satin’s papers is in the Satin, Mark papers at the Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library, University of Toronto. A third set is in Satin’s personal possession in Oakland, CA. If you would like to access them there, write him at msatin (at) mindspring (dot) com. Please be brief, use 14-point type (because of his eye condition), and put “Research” in the subject line
ABOUT THE RADICAL MIDDLE CONCEPT
GREAT RADICAL MIDDLE GROUPS AND BLOGS:
SOME PRIOR RADICAL MIDDLE INITIATIVES:
SOME RADICAL MIDDLE LESSONS:
SOME PRIOR WRITINGS BY MARK SATIN:
NOT JUST RADICAL MIDDLE: