Vol 6 No 4Winter 2023
What Should Inequality Mean to the Left?
Left-wing politics for generations was focused on the “labor question” in opposing capitalism. Beginning in the mid-twentieth century, the Left became increasingly preoccupied with inequality. The labor question faded in significance, as did the opposition to capitalism. This essay examines why that happened and its consequences.
Socialist Politics and the Electricity Grid
Market and climate chaos reveal electricity as a key site of struggle in the twenty-first century. The capitalist class and the Left are both split between capitalist utilities and unions on one side and big tech, renewable capital, and green NGOs on the other. The socialist path is with labor.
Henry Kissinger in the Middle East
Martin Indyk’s new book on Henry Kissinger’s shuttle diplomacy in the Middle East is more critical than one might expect from a friend of the controversial secretary of state. Kissinger’s role in negotiating disengagement agreements between Israel, Egypt, and Syria after the October 1973 war is, for some, a great achievement in contrast to his role in the US defeat in Vietnam and the secret war in Cambodia. The archival record suggests otherwise.
Still Waiting for Chairman Fred
The Black Panthers were a source of revolutionary inspiration during the 1960s and beyond, but building a powerful left majority requires keen analysis of society as it exists and the challenges we now face. Jim Vernon misses how seismic changes in black life have rendered New Left faith in the black vanguard obsolete.
The Aesthetic Cold War
Peter J. Kalliney’s The Aesthetic Cold War: Decolonization and Global Literature offers a radical alternative to the dominant theoretical frameworks on world literature. It highlights the defining influence of the Cold War and its aesthetic debates in the formation of the literatures from the postcolonial world.
To End Soldier Trauma, Stop Waging Wars
The American public is rightly horrified by the traumas that US wars inflict on its soldiers. But the Vietnam War era connected that trauma to the broader brutality of war and its foreign victims — and to the healing power of antiwar activism.
The Logic of Capitalist Accumulation Explains Neoliberalism
Gary Gerstle’s new book The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order tackles important questions of the last century about democracy, economy, and war. But it fails to answer a basic question: why governments in capitalist democracies are compelled to serve capital.
Saudi Arabia Is Using Culture to Repackage Monarchy
The Saudi state is packaging its heritage industry as a mode of citizen participation. It’s an attempt to paper over a fundamental fact: the regime remains a dictatorship that maintains its rule by violently clamping down on opposition.
Raymond Geuss Is Missing the Politics of Class
As a philosopher, Raymond Geuss usually insists on highlighting the effects of structures of power. But his examination of work in the age of climate crisis is impoverished without analyzing the politics of capitalist production.
A Working-Class Memoir Challenges the “Culture Wars”
Adam Theron-Lee Rensch’s memoir is a deep examination of the meaning of class in America’s postindustrial hinterlands that shows how it is distorted by useless and misleading culture talk. Foregrounding economic disparities and class politics is now a matter of survival for the Left.
The Third World Demanded Global Redistribution in the 1970s
The New International Economic Order in the Global South forced American policy elites to engage with the demands of economic redistribution. But as a new global regime of IMF austerity and market-driven politics descended around the world, those demands couldn’t take hold.