Tag Archives: Ted Rall

The Anti-American Manifesto

A revolutionary manifesto for an America heading toward economic and political collapse. While others mourn the damage to the postmodern American capitalist system created by the recent global economic collapse, I see an opportunity. As millions of people lose their jobs and their homes as the economy collapses, they and millions more are opening their minds to the possibility of creating a radically different form of government and economic infrastructure.

But there are dangers. As in Russia in 1991, criminals and right-wing extremists are best prepared to fill the power vacuum from a collapsing United States. The best way to stop them, I argue here, is not collapse—but revolution. Not by other people, but by us. Not in the future, but now. While it’s still possible.

The Anti-American Manifesto was widely discussed among progressives and leftists and remains a basis of discussion for people seeking to create the space to discuss politics outside of electoral irrelevance — a revolutionary movement.

I admire Rall. He is prolific writer of good sentences. He is a prolific drawer of bitterly ironic cartoons. He is a serious reporter. He is honest about his own failings and wandering ideology. And he has dusted off the r-word at exactly the right moment in American history. He wants a revolution. And I agree with him. A revolution is exactly what the United States needs. The amount of cultural/economic/political change needed to save the world in the brief time we have left is unimaginable without a revolution. You can argue that the ruling class is evil, you can argue that the ruling class is incompetent, you can argue that the ruling class is both. But it has never been more clear that the ruling class is impervious to reform through established channels and the rest of us can look forward to incalculable suffering unless we get rid of it. “Revolution doesn’t happen within the system,” Rall says. “Revolution is the act of destroying the system.” Yup. —TruthOut

You have to give points for audacity to begin a book advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government. In his new book The Anti-American Manifesto, political cartoonist and columnist Ted Rall does just that. Perhaps most dangerously, he makes revolution sound like the only reasonable thing to do. Like the child who proclaimed the emperor had no clothes, Rall’s book has the effect of rendering self-evident what is hardly ever mentioned in public, though we all privately know it to be true: this system is broken beyond repair. —Socialist Worker

Political Manifesto, 2010
Seven Stories Press Trade Paperback, 5″x7″, 286 pp., $15.95

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The Year of Loving Dangerously

This autobiographical graphic novel is a collaboration between me (my story, my writing) and Bluesman cartoonist Pablo G. Callejo. Travel with me to 1984, the year I lost everything. The place is New York City. In the space of a few months, I got expelled from Columbia University, fired from my job, arrested for drugs that weren’t even mine, dumped by the girl I thought was The One, and evicted. I hit the streets with $8 and the clothes on my back.

Desperate and prepared to succumb to homelessness, I invested a third of my worldly savings on pizza. There I met a girl who took me home for the night…and so began my “Year of Loving Dangerously.”

Year, currently in development to become a feature film, is a personal account about the commodification of sex and the ends to which anyone will go to survive, seen through the lens of a cruel Reaganism where the safety net is all but gone. As life becomes even tougher for America’s has-nots — most of whom don’t have my advantages as a white, Ivy-educated male — Year is a metaphor for the class war between the 1% and the 99%.

“Ted Rall is fearless. In The Year of Loving Dangerously, he turns his formidable journalistic skills on a very rich subject—himself. The memoir is not just a revealing and entertaining account of Rall’s misspent youth, but a gritty, alternative take on Manhattan in the boom years of the 1980s.”
—Alison Bechdel, “Fun Home”

Graphic Memoir, 2009
NBM Hardback, 6″x9″, 128 pp., Price $18.95

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America Gone Wild: Cartoons by Ted Rall

My fourth cartoon collection collects the work that made me America’s most controversial cartoonist. Here are the classic “dirty dozen” cartoons that shocked and awed newspaper readers after 9/11: “Terror Widows” and its sequels, “FDNY 2011,” the Pat Tillman series. There is also a lengthy introduction and commentary, which includes behind-the-scenes looks at the hate mail and death threats that poured in from outraged right-wingers. It may be hard to believe now, with George W. Bush a fading memory (or an elder statesman!), but when I penned these cartoons (from 2000 through 2006) I was virtually alone (save for a few other cartoonists) in standing up against a tsunami of insipid post-9/11 patriotism, militarism and nationalism.

“In addition to political cartoons that have been featured in national newspapers such as the New York Times, this volume includes comics that appeared in the magazine Men’s Health. With these panels, Rall turns his scathing wit on relationships and the human condition.”
—School Library Journal

Cartoon Collection, 2006
Andrews McMeel Paperback, 8″x8″, 160 pp., $12.95

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Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East?

This is the book I wanted to write instead of To Afghanistan and Back — everything you ever wanted to know about Central Asia, without having had to attend grad school — but didn’t have time. Five years later, I was able to release my Central Asia brain dump, a book anyone can read cold and come away understanding the importance of the region and why it’s so interesting.

Comprising travelogue, political analysis and five graphic novellas, “Silk Road to Ruin” examines the “New Middle East”–a part of the world the United States is focusing upon more than the Middle East. “Silk Road to Ruin,” featuring an introduction by “Taliban” author Ahmed Rashid, includes 200 pages of essays about everything from oil politics to the wild sport of buzkashi and 100 pages of graphic novel-format comics about each of my five trips to the region.

Elderly Central Asians are starving to death in nations sitting atop the world’s largest untapped reserves of oil and natural gas. Looters are cavalierly ambling around in flatbed trucks loaded with disinterred nuclear missiles. Statues of and slogans by crazy dictators are springing up as quickly as their corrupt military policemen can rob a passing motorist. And on the main drag in the capital city of each of these profoundly dysfunctional societies, a gleaming American embassy whose staff quietly calls the shots in a new campaign to de-Russify access to those staggering energy resources.

CIA agents, oilmen and prostitutes mix uneasily and awkwardly in ad hoc British-style pubs where beers cost a dollar–a day’s pay and more than enough to keep out the locals. In an extreme case of the “oil curse,” wealth is being pillaged by U.S.-backed autocrats while their subjects plunged into poverty. Meanwhile Taliban-trained Islamic radicals are waiting to fill the vacuum.

It is a volatile mix. But does anybody care? Maybe not — but you should.

Transformed by what I saw being done in America’s name and eager to sound the alarm, I went back to remote Central Asia again and again. I returned to visit the region’s most rural mountain villages. He brought two dozen ordinary Americans on the bus tour from hell. I went as a rogue independent and as a guest of the State Department. I came back to cover the American invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11, then went back again. Capitals moved, street names changed and the economic fortunes of entire nations turned on a dime from year to the next, but those changes merely reinforced my  belief that Central Asia is really the new Middle East: thrilling, terrifying, simultaneously hopeful and bleak, a battleground for proxy war and endless chaos. It is the ultimate tectonic, cultural and political collision zone. Far away from television cameras and Western reporters, Central Asia is poised to spawn some of the new century’s worst nightmares.

“Ted Rall’s Silk Road to Ruin is a rollicking, subversive and satirical portrait of the region that is part travelogue, part graphic novel. It’s fresh and edgy and neatly captures the reality of travel in the region.” —Lonely Planet Guide to Central Asia

For decades in the 19th century, the world’s superpowers competed in Central Asia in what became known as the Great Game, an epic scramble for influence and resources that still is being played today. Despite the high stakes — including what may be the planet’s largest reserves of oil and natural gas — the competition for the exotic lands between the Himalayas and Russia’s southern border has had remarkably few chroniclers. With ‘Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East?’ Ted Rall fills that void with a book that combines fascination with Asian exoticism and the punchy distancing of cartoons and pop-culture irony. Rall is a former investment banker and expert in the harsh but potentially wealthy region known as ‘the Stans.’ His book is an unconventional, provocative and bitterly funny mix of travel diary, tour guide and graphic novel based on the author’s voyages, from Beijing to Turkmenistan through China’s remote Xinjiang region and the oil-rich steppes of Kazakhstan. The resulting collection is a travel book unlike any other. Besides pipelines, snow-capped mountains and Islamic radicals who may have alluded to the 9/11 attacks two years before the fact, Rall encounters along the way corrupt police, bizarre cult-of-personality regimes and the world championship of a sport where players are often killed during matches. —Bloomberg

Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East?
Essays and Graphic Novellas, 2006
NBM Hardback (Original 2006 Edition), 6″x9″, 304 pp., $22.95

NBM Paperback (Expanded/Revised 2014 Edition), 6″x9″, 320 pp., $22.95

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Attitude 3: The New Subversive Online Cartoonists

The final volume in the “Attitude” trilogy of alternative cartoonists is dedicated to the first wave of webcartoonists (cartoonists whose work is exclusively distributed online). Includes interviews, cartoons and personal ephemera about some of the most exciting artists to lay pen to paper — or stylus to Wacom. Here you’ll find political cartoonists, humorists and dazzling graphic experiments, and a look at the minds behind this exciting field.

Includes Rob Balder (“Partially Clips”), Dale Beran and David Hellman (“A Lesson is Learned But the Damage is Irreversible”), Matt Bors (“Idiot Box”, though he since moved into print), Steven L. Cloud (“Boy on a Stick and Slither”), M.e. Cohen (“HumorInk”), Chris Dlugosz (“Pixel”), Thomas K. Dye (“Newshounds”), Mark Fiore (“Fiore Animated Cartoons”), Dorothy Gambrell (“Cat and Girl”), Nicholas Gurewitch (“The Perry Bible Fellowship”), Brian McFadden (“Big Fat Whale”, now doing “The Strip for The New York Times), Eric Millikin (“Fetus-X”), Ryan North (“Daily Dinosaur Comics”), August J. Pollak (“XQUZYPHYR” & “Overboard”), Mark Poutenis (“Thinking Ape Blues”), Jason Pultz (“Comic Strip”), Adam Rust (“Adam’s Rust”), D.C. Simpson (“I Drew This” & “Ozy and Millie”), Ben Smith (“Fighting Words”), Richard Stevens (“Diesel Sweeties”) and Michael Zole (“Death to the Extremist”)

“The third set of Rall’s profiles of cartoonists he dubs subversive focuses on artists plying their trade online. Mostly unable to break into alternative weeklies, these new cartoonists use the Internet as their venue. A few get paid for simultaneous print appearances, but most self-publish, which allows them the freedom to be more radical than their dead-tree counterparts.”
—Booklist

Anthology of Webcartoonists, 2006
NBM Paperback, 8.5″x11″, 128 pp., $13.95

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