Bombardier Books

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.

“For half a century, Mark Satin lived a life in the middle of movements that have shaped the world we know—from the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s, to the Green Party and ‘radical centrist’ movements of today. He tells the moving story of the people, ideas, and events that shaped these movements, and holds no punches on why all of them—and he—fell short. Satin ultimately articulates a viewpoint held by millions of Americans who are increasingly alienated from the left and the right. For those of us filled with broken dreams, misgivings, and second thoughts about social change, this is an indispensable book.”

Michael Shuman, Author of The Local Economy Solution and Put Your Money Where Your Life Is

“Mark Satin’s Up From Socialism: My 60 Year Search for a Healing New Radical Politics is a heartbreakingly beautiful and searingly honest book by a man who desperately loves America and, indeed, humanity itself. What you will find here is the history of a candid and deeply committed one-time leftist and activist who reveals the dark underside of radical activism of the left and how it scarred him. But Satin, while far from perfect, is a beautiful soul. If you are interested in a radical politics of hope and of the soul that can transcend the deep division in our country—then this is your book.”

Jason D. Hill, Author, What Do White Americans Owe Black People?, Professor of Philosophy, DePaul University

“The failed idealism of the 1960s hits an uncomfortable nerve today. How did that passion burn itself out and help divide the country? Mark Satin is one activist who never gave up, but learned much along the way that could keep history from repeating itself. This saga of his driven, six-decade struggle to birth a ‘visionary’ and ‘healing’ new politics is an honest, funny, and ultimately tender testament to what really matters and where true change begins.”

Annie Gottlieb, Author, Do You Believe in Magic?: The Second Coming of the 60’s Generation

“As one who’s spent most of his adult life in the high-tech community, which is awash in dynamic new ideas and concepts, I’ve often wondered why the social change community still seems stuck in irrelevant political ideologies from long ago. Satin’s book beautifully and heartbreakingly lays out the answer, actually several answers, and none of them is pretty. But if we’re ever going to acquire the personal insights, conceptual tools, and sheer nerve to jump off of what Satin calls the us-against-them merry-go-round, this book is where all of us—young and old, left and right—need to start.”

Gordon Feller, Former Executive Director, Planetary Citizens; Former Urban Innovations Director, Cisco Systems

“This powerful, soul-searching book, written by a man who’s been around the political block, is a pleasure to read. Through poignant stories and courageous self-revelations, Satin takes us on a journey that makes it abundantly clear what’s been missing in the best-intended efforts of politically minded people to make our world a better place.”

John Amodeo, Author, The Authentic Heart; Online Columnist, Psychology Today

Up From Socialism is the story of a search for a new kind of politics, and of a man who wouldn’t take ‘impossible’ for an answer. Carried along by colorful narration, the reader is witness to the good, the bad, and the bizarre of countercultural politics from the 60s anti-war foment to the current era of polarization. Satin’s work is a bracing and honest examination of the clear light and disturbing darkness that often co-exist in our idealistic impulses, and an extended meditation on how we might better heal ourselves and bring hope to our troubled culture.”

Carter Phipps, Author, Evolutionaries; Host, Thinking Ahead Podcast

“A host of characters, vivid as anything in fiction, walk through the pages of this book—the quixotic and the realistic—all trying hard, often falling on their faces, sometimes getting up again.”

Maxine Rosaler, Author, Queen for a Day: A Novel in Stories

“An extraordinary trip into self-awareness—and into what it really takes to be useful to others.”

John D. Marks, Founder and Former President, Search for Common Ground; Former U.S. State Department Official

“Mark Satin is a role model. He has led a remarkable life as a political activist, social entrepreneur, profound networker, and insightful author—non-stop—since the 1960s. From early on he was aware that what this country needs is a new, transpartisan political movement filled with tough love and fierce kindness. He is also a role model because, as he shows in this book, he was eventually willing to own his own flaws, faults, and incompleteness and to commit slowly and often agonizingly to work on his shadow, recognizing that transformation cannot happen politically unless many take similar responsibility.”

John Steiner, Co-Founder, Bridge Alliance US; Leadership Council, Convergence Center for Policy Resolution

“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 D. Slaton, Co-Editor of the Book Transformational Politics; First Platform Coordinator, U.S. Green Party Movement