The Middle Class Fights Back
How Progressive Movements Can Restore Democracy in America
by Brian D'Agostino
July 2012, 203pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-0273-7
$65, £50, 57€, A90
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-0274-4
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Right-wing ideology blames progressive taxation both for the looting of the middle class and for depleting the productive market economy. Indeed, hard-working citizens are paying more than their fair share, and their wealth is being redistributed unjustly and squandered on unproductive government programs. However, Americans are being grossly misled about the true nature of the redistribution—and who is actually to blame.

Providing an insightful diagnosis of what went wrong and prescriptions for a cure, this book is a must-read for angry and confused middle-class Americans who want to understand the forces that are undermining their prosperity and economic security.

The Middle Class Fights Back: How Progressive Movements Can Restore Democracy in America presents an unapologetic and coherent analysis of American state capitalism. Is there a way to stop politicians, corporate CEOs, and predatory investors from plunging the entire world further into a new economic dark age? According to author, teacher, and political scientist Brian D’Agostino, PhD, the answer is “yes.”

His book identifies the policies undermining middle class prosperity, demolishes their protective ideologies, and offers a visionary but pragmatic agenda of policy and institutional reforms that will encourage and fuel progressive movements of the 21st century. Part I of the book exposes the national security and neoliberal policies that are deindustrializing America and undermining the middle class, as well as the ideologies that deceive and confuse ordinary people about what is occurring. Part II provides a manifesto of policy strategies and institutional reforms that can restore American democracy and prosperity, enabling the United States to once again lead the world by example as it once did in the 18th-century struggle for political democracy.


  • New, winning ideas for reframing progressive policies
  • A reliable roadmap to a green New Deal
  • An indispensable resource for activists, politicians, and policy analysts
  • Self-contained chapters suitable for college course readings in peace studies, American politics, economics, and education.
  • A unified critique of the conservative ideologies and policy agenda
Brian D'Agostino, PhD, teaches political economy and history at the Harry Van Arsdale, Jr. Center for Labor Studies, Empire State College, State University of New York. He previously taught political science at Adelphi University and City University of New York, and worked 11 years as a New York City public school teacher. D'Agostino holds a doctoral degree from Columbia University and is the author of numerous publications on public affairs and political psychology, including the peer-reviewed article "Self-Images of Hawks and Doves."


"D'Agostino exposes the truth behind the corporate-driven education reform movement and offers the kind of research and experience-based conversation about real reforms that would truly improve our public education system and that our policy makers should be having. He reminds us that, rather than rely on these elites, parents, young people and educators must fight to transform our public education system and, more broadly, for the fiscal priorities our country needs and our children deserve."—Julie Cavanagh, The Grassroots Education Movement, Producer of The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman

"It is conventional wisdom that downsizing most of America's military capabilities would destabilize international security and a democratic world order. D'Agostino's methodical analysis shatters that picture, exposing how it upholds the power of state and corporate elites at the expense of the populace, at home and abroad. He shows how demilitarization can be achieved without jeopardizing real security, freeing up resources needed for a green New Deal that can provide productive livelihoods for ordinary people and a viable ecology for future generations. This is what is meant by 'human security,' which D'Agostino argues is the proper aim of government. His book is a tour de force!" —Saul H. Mendlovitz, Dag Hammarskjöld Professor, Rutgers Law School-Newark

"This powerful book is a crucial voice in the historic fight-back movement against injustice in America. Don't miss it!"—Cornel West, Professor, Union Theological Seminary

"The Middle Class Fights Back cogently argues that it was unions and government that created the middle class as we once knew it, and that the shrinking of unions, beginning in the 1970s, has had a devastating effect on the prosperity of ordinary people. Arguing that militarism and capital flight are undermining the country's capacity to produce wealth, D'Agostino's provocative book makes the case for massive public investment in green technology and for the creation of a new economy of worker-owned and controlled enterprises."—Moshe Adler, Author of Economics for the Rest of Us: Debunking the Science that Makes Life Dismal
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