Vol 6 No 4

Winter 2023
  • Steve Fraser

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.

  • Matt T. Huber
  • Fred Stafford

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.

  • Robert Vitalis

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. 

  • Cedric Johnson

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.

  • Nivedita Majumdar

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.


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Classical Marxism: An Intellectual History

The Invention of Marxism is a rich group biography of the founding generation of European socialists who introduced millions to Karl Marx’s ideas. But it doesn’t identify this generation’s core theoretical and philosophical unities.

What Was Happiness for Industrial Workers?

During the Industrial Revolution, the British working class lived in poverty and squalor. Their written testimonies capture those conditions — but also how they fought to find fulfillment despite their exploitation and bleak circumstance.

Class Dynamics Explain the Egyptian Revolution

Bread and Freedom: Egypt’s Revolutionary Situation is a riveting account of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. But it ignores class and capitalism and fails to explain the reasons behind Egypt’s mass mobilization and why it was defeated.

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.