TheDC Book Review: Ted Rall’s ‘Anti-American Manifesto’

Jeff Winkler Contributor
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Last Monday, cartoonist and columnist Ted Rall told MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan that the revolution is nigh. “A war is coming,” Rall warned. “Are you going to fight back? Will you do whatever it takes, including taking up arms?”

Rall was promoting his new book, “The Anti-American Manifesto,” and if you think his questions seem a little over the top, you’re likely one of “them” — a group Rall defines as “reactionary, stupid, overpaid, greedy, shortsighted, explicative, power-mad, abusive politicians and corporate executives.”

The “Anti-American Manifesto” is a relentless and unfiltered condemnation of the corrupt capitalist husk currently known as the United States of America. The book is unwavering in its message: The country is dead and rotting thanks to Them and We must rise up and burn what’s left of the corpse in a violent revolution.

America-to-Nazi-Germany comparisons abound. There’s also nostalgia for the bloody French Revolution; warm words for Lenin; an uncomfortably tepid take-down of 9/11 truthers; and the positive examples of China’s “local block cadres” keeping an eye on fellow citizens’ every move.

Which isn’t to say there’s nothing for conservatives in “The Anti-American Manifesto.” Rall berates limp-wristed liberals for their pacifism, mocks Michael Moore and calls Obama a failure. The primal scream runs 278 pages. There are no pictures and few cartoons. It’s a tough slog.

As a service to The Daily Caller’s readers, we’ve assembled a condensed version of “The Anti-American Manifesto,” coupling words from the book with a medium Rall knows well: cartoons.


Rall gives some backhanded compliments to an “extreme right” that appreciates the Second Amendment and knows how to camp in the woods. Between labeling all conservatives as crazy, religious nuts who are ready to take control when America collapses, Rall encourages gun-shy lefties to grow a pair of buck shots. The right and left, he writes, can actually get along in some cases, too.

“If racist skinheads in Idaho have guns and training and resolve, straight-edge anarchist punks from Brooklyn should be willing to cooperate with them … or at least leave them be.”

Rall isn’t a big fan President Obama. Actually, he really dislikes the guy, calling him “Bush without the opposition.” Sounding eerily like a Republican, Rall says Obama and the government’s policies have only wasted our money. Those greedy prescriptions not only put the country in an economic tailspin, says Rall, but new policies will just makes things worse.

“Insulated by the famous beltway bubble, denied access to ordinary citizens and surrounded by ‘yes men,’ Obama doesn’t have a clue about what’s really going on,” writes Rall.

For Rall, the left is a disappointment. It’s filled with academics and college students who think they’ve done their revolutionary duty by signing a petition or participating in a march. The left, says Rall, does just enough to feel good about itself without doing any serious lifting.

“Like other liberal critics of the regime, Michael Moore is probably scared. And rightly so! Were he to declare himself in favor of a revolution or something less, something vaguer … Moore would soon find himself marginalized by the media to an even greater extent than he is today,” writes Rall.

“The Anti-American Manifesto” is filled with the kind of raging bravado one finds in the locker room of the Holden Caulfield School for Boys.

Essentially alternating the odd and even pages between screw-the-man and fight-back-now, respectively, Rall’s book reads like Tyler Durden’s lost essays, except the first two rules of this Fight Club include ranting as loud as possible.

It’s sure to appeal to the macho Dirty Harrys, if not the women who are busy dominating college campuses and acting as the primary earners of their family.

While he rails on violent conservatives, Rall writes wistfully about a number of groups.They include: the French revolutionaries who behead their enemies, the Weatherman, Black Panthers, the Symbionese Liberation Army, the Red Army Faction, and the National Liberation Front (FLN).

His most frequent examples of positive resistance are the Animal Liberation Front, the Earth Liberation Front and al-Qaeda, members of which are very popular on the FBI Most Wanted sheets — for very good reason.

Mind you, these groups are cut from a completely different crazy than what Rall calls the “right-wing Republicans.” These groups include: the Aryan Nations, the John Birch Society and … the Tea Party.

At its best, “The Anti-American Manifesto” is a spirited condemnation of everything that pisses you off when you get home from work. At its worst, it could be categorized as “fiction” and placed beside “The Turner Diaries.”

What Rall doesn’t offer is a cohesive plan of action, what the possible post-apocalyptic Utopian alternatives would be, or even what role he plays in this revolution. Rall, after all, is telling folks to revolt right now without doing so himself.