State of Resistance: What California’s Dizzying Descent and Remarkable Resurgence Mean for America’s Future

Manuel Pastor. New Press, $26.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-62097-329-5
This slim, densely packed volume covers a great deal of material, tracing the decline of California’s midcentury prosperity and the state’s eventual rebound from divisive policies and politics. Pastor, a sociologist, blames the decline on Proposition 13, the 1978 property-tax-limitation measure he then feared would “shipwreck the state”—and still feels had a disastrous effect. He gives an opinionated, liberal-minded history of how Prop 13 and other voter initiatives have affected California, emphasizing the unraveling of the social compact that had accommodated a diverse, immigrant-heavy population and a relatively low degree of inequality. The book locates the state’s political nadir, in terms of its embrace of reactionary politics, in 2003 with the election to governor of Arnold Schwarzenegger, a celebrity with no political experience peddling populist solutions. After that point, Pastor earnestly tracks the state’s renaissance. The story he relates isn’t so much a triumph of liberal political leadership and increased public spending that followed Schwarzenegger’s administration, but rather a long, methodical series of inclusionary changes in business, demographics, and representative participation. The author holds out a reasonable promise that his state’s experience could inform the next swing of the national political pendulum. Like-minded readers will find this claim heartening. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/29/2018
Release date: 04/01/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-62097-557-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-63015-834-7
MP3 CD - 978-1-5159-4002-9
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