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Shakedown Socialism Paperback – 1 Aug 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 134 pages
  • Publisher: Greenleaf Press (1 Aug. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1882514912
  • ISBN-13: 978-1882514915
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 0.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 906,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Oleg Atbashian, a writer and graphic artist from Ukraine, currently lives in New York. In the USSR he was a teacher, a translator, a worker, a freelance journalist, and at one time a propaganda artist, creating visual agitprop for the local Party committee in a Siberian town. He moved to the United States in 1994, hoping to forget about politics and enjoy life in a country that was ruled by reason and common sense, whose citizens were appreciative of constitutional rights, the rule of law, and the prosperity of free market capitalism. But what he found was a society deeply infected by the leftist disease of "progressivism" that was jeopardizing real societal progress. The result is this book, as well as many more essays, political parodies, and cartoons, published in various media in America and around the world. Most of it is collected at his satirical website - a spoof of "progressive" ideology, which Rush Limbaugh described on his show as "a Stalinist version of the Onion."

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent easy read. A revealing look at what it was really like in the USSR and why socialism is flawed.
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By Mr Rowan Murphy on 5 Feb. 2015
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By Mr Darrin D Smith on 13 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback
Loved it
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 61 reviews
113 of 119 people found the following review helpful
A must-read for every American 25 Aug. 2010
By Karen Lingefelt - Published on
Format: Paperback
I have the privilege to know Oleg Atbashian through membership at his hilarious and satirical website, The People's Cube. There, through the prism of his own firsthand experience under Marxism, he leads us in skewering liberalism, progressivism, socialism, hope and change . . . or whatever label the Professional Left is using these days to cover the ragged holes in that hundred year old package of phony goods they keep pushing on America.

Truth is at the heart of good satire, and a sense of humor is the lifeblood for keeping one's sanity and perspective in times of tribulation--and beyond. Oleg has the unique ability to not only look back and see the absurdity of life in a Communist regime--but to cleverly use satire and humor to educate and even warn others of its perils.

Recent events make those warnings more dire, as it becomes harder to laugh in the face of increasing danger to our liberties. Recognizing that hideous face--as well that patched up, smoldering old package leaking something foul on America's doorstep--Oleg has taken a more serious turn with this book.

The text originally appeared as a series of essays at Pajamas Media. First thing each morning I'd read the latest installment with my coffee--though what Oleg wrote did a better job of waking me up than the caffeine. Had I waited till late evening to read his work, I doubt I would have been able to sleep that night. He wrote things that alarmed me and tore at my heart--not only because they once happened to human beings in another time and place, but because I see them happening here and now--in America.

And it's not just the increasing power and corruption of unions--the centerpiece of Oleg's book. It's something that's everywhere now. For years it's been seeping into our nation's pores, and it's now metastasized like an aggressive, deadly cancer consuming every organ in the body of our society. Many of us saw the warning signs on our own, but too many others continue to be like terminal patients in denial. Perhaps they're holding out for a miracle cure from someone who claims to understand what ails them, and will tell them they want to hear. Too bad they already fell for that in 2008.

What is wrong with such people, that they either can't see it, don't want to see it, or see it but insist it's not the same thing Oleg grew up with? Is it because of the bright, shiny new label hiding the old one on the Left's package that proclaims otherwise? Back in the 1970's, a certain oil company changed its name but assured its customers they could still count on getting "the same old gas." That could just as easily be the slogan of the Left--and their gas has never been anything but toxic.

The Left incites class envy by relentlessly attacking American prosperity with indignant rants against huge salaries and bonuses, or the "obscene" profits some company raked in last year. Yet if a company shows a loss, the Left is happy to see the government step in and take over. Meanwhile, the redistribution of American wealth is already in full swing: They insist that certain government programs, to be paid for by generations yet unborn, will stimulate the economy, while tax cuts proven to do the same thing, and with more efficiency and greater success, must end--because, so they say, the government can't afford to let us keep our own hard earned money.

That is, as Oleg calls it, "shakedown socialism."

He took a courageous leap of faith when he made the decision to break free of the old Soviet Union and the only life he'd ever known. Like millions before him, Oleg ventured to America in pursuit of an entirely new way of life, one that for over two centuries has promised and delivered freedom and opportunities found nowhere else in the world--only to be confronted with the very thing he sought to leave behind for good. Where can he go now? Where do any of us who cherish our liberties go?

We can find the answer in the words of President Ronald Reagan: "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth." Well, here we are. Unless we want to lose our freedom, we must stand up and fight for it--and win--just as our Founding Fathers did.
55 of 60 people found the following review helpful
Deconstructing socialist thought 16 Sept. 2010
By Gary Wolf - Published on
Format: Paperback
Mr. Atbashian has given us a clear and concise primer on the fallacies of socialist thought in all of its myriad incarnations. With crushing logic, he picks apart (or, shall I say, deconstructs) the philosophical sleight-of-hand that has produced Leftist gems such as welfare dependency, affirmative action, union extortion, political correctness, and dictatorial regimes around the world.

In this sense -- exposing the normally well-hidden kernel of collectivist ideology -- Shakedown Socialism is reminiscent of Hayek's Road to Serfdom.

One particularly instructive aspect of the book is the ongoing comparison between contemporary "Progressive" practice and that of the Soviet Union. Here we benefit from Mr. Atbashian's personal experience from deep within the belly of the beast. The parallels are chilling, to say the least.

Thoughtful, well-written, witty. Highly recommended.
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
An excellent book! 12 Jan. 2011
By Geoff Puterbaugh - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Some books (good books) contain a thought which you can take away, and make your own forever. This book, aside from a lot of other excellent thoughts ("Why should union members earn twice as much as non-union workers??" Good question!), contains one really excellent thing.

A few years ago, I was thinking about a situation where I had employed two different people to work on making a few buildings in an empty lot. One of them was dedicated. He worked very hard, and took every job as a personal responsibility. He refused to leave before the job was done. The other was his son-in-law, one of the laziest boys I ever saw. When I told him to go help his father-in-law, I discovered him a few hours later lolling on the grass and watching his father-in-law work.

I concluded that the father-in-law was worth easily 1,000 a day, while the son-in-law would be lucky to be paid 200-300.

And this is where I got stuck. It struck me as obvious that each person was getting paid fairly and justly, and that "social justice" must be some completely different sort of justice.

Well, this book completes that thought. It states, as an obvious fact, that if you pay people justly, they will be unequal. But if you pay them all equally, the result will be injustice. (I would only add the missing premise, which is obvious: people are not all equally productive.)

In other words, "justice" and "equality" in wages are like oil and water: they do not and cannot mix. They are in fact contradictory.

Coming from a man who spent many years under Communism in the USSR, this is an idea whose time has come. (Actually, it came long ago, but political windbags have done their best to conceal it.)

By the way, if we understand that "equality" and "justice" in wages do not mix, it is very interesting to look at the modern classic Leftism Revisited: From De Sade and Marx to Hitler and Pol Pot and realize that "equality" and "freedom" cannot co-exist. (Goethe was perhaps the first person to notice this problem.) If you put these two ideas together, you have to conclude that the concept of "equality" is at war with both freedom and justice. Try to get a leftist to admit that!

"Social justice" leads in one direction only. Political leaders will gain an enormous amount of power, while everyone else becomes a member of the slave underclass. They are all equal with one another, supposedly, but none of them even comes close to being equal with the political elite.

Well, think about it. Do YOU have the right to command Air Force jets to fly you home every weekend? And can you (meekly, of course meekly) submit your bar tab for champagne and Maker's Mark for payment by the little people? A wonderful new world, where both justice and freedom have been given lethal injections.

Highest possible recommendation!!
28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
perfect 12 Sept. 2010
By 1J9F7K6 - Published on
Format: Paperback
ive bought books on amazon for awhile but never felt the need to write a review before. this is not a typical anti-socialist book at all. none of the familiar rhetoric you might be expecting. while not an academic work by any means, he makes some of the most compelling arguments ive ever read.. and from an angle you seldom think about. his anti-union argument is so perfect, i will be repeating it in conversation for the rest of my life. some serious mental ammunition for arguments with any unfortunate, collectivist leaning friends you may have... even if they refuse to read it, the images (on practically every page) might catch their attention if you can get them to flip through it.

do not click off this page without buying this book.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
An Eye Opener 13 Nov. 2010
By vzal - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This small book written by a Soviet immigrant is an eye opener for Americans spoon fed by mainstream media. It explains how the real socialism looks like and how this country will look if this system gets hold here.
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