Rabbi Michael Lerner’s Revolutionary Love is not so much a book as a manifesto, the public declaration of a political philosophy determined to save people from self-destruction. Encompassing loving criticism of the cultural concerns blocking the way, proposals for radical policy, and a vision of a future built on the notion of revolutionary love, it is a blueprint for a bright future.
There is no room for cynicism in the book’s philosophy. It peels apart the insidious myths of capitalism that keep people hopeless and apathetic, daring its audience to practice optimism as activism. Its final chapter is outstanding: written as if from the year 2140, it is a work of visionary fiction, painting a picture of a radically egalitarian society to which humanity should aspire. This prospective future draws on Hebrew Bible concepts of work, rest, and land ownership, in particular the jubilee and sabbatical years. The Christian and Jewish left may find the result, akin to liberation theology, inspiring, even worth a work of its own.
Elsewhere, the book brings together a compelling range of macro-level policy ideas and micro-level shifts in value systems. It does not do enough to acknowledge those already in the process of working in these ways, though, including Black Lives Matter or Movimiento Cosecha; focus is almost exclusive to Lerner’s organizations and the Love and Justice Movement he proposes building, and the resultant tone is unintentionally self-important.
Filled with big-picture vision, Revolutionary Love is a manifesto for recovering cynics looking for a place to plug in, or for those wrested out of apathy but not sure where to start. Welcome to the Love and Justice Movement: just check your cynicism at the door and let the new world begin.
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