Thursday, February 23, 2017

Books and chairmen: "After more than a half-century in the wilderness, the socialist left reemerges in America."

For a companion piece to The Nation's book reviews ...

Democratic divisions on display at DNC debate, by Eric Bradner (CNN)

For all the marches and protests the left has generated since Election Day, the debate over who will lead the Democratic Party in the early stages of Donald Trump's presidency is underscoring the divisions still lingering within its ranks.

As was evident at the recent Adventure at the Voiture, state Democrats seem to be backing Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, as are some younger local Democrats with a pulse. Naturally, a win by Buttigieg would enhance the career prospects of local chair Dickey, and the object of potential Democratic Party retrofitting should be to remove problems, not promote them.

What the hell; I'm just a Democratic Socialist in the isolation ward. Carry on with the reviews.

Socialism’s Return, by Patrick Iber (The Nation)

After more than a half-century in the wilderness, the socialist left reemerges in America.

For the American left, 2016 proved to be a year with a cruel twist ending. In the first few months, a self-
described democratic socialist by the name of Bernie Sanders mounted a surprisingly successful primary challenge to the Democratic Party’s presumed and eventual presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. By the end of 2016, however, not only had Sanders lost the primary race, but Clinton had been defeated in the general election by a billionaire who dressed his xenophobic and plutocratic ambitions in the garb of class resentment.

But the apparent strength of the left wasn’t entirely an illusion. Even as late as November, the Sanders campaign had racked up a set of important victories. The Cold War had helped to entrench the idea of socialism as antithetical to the American political tradition, and Sanders had gone a long way toward smashing that ideological consensus. By identifying himself explicitly as a democratic socialist from the outset of his campaign, he helped give renewed meaning and salience to it as a political identity firmly rooted in the American tradition.

The books being reviewed are:

Outsider in the White House
By Bernie Sanders, with Huck Gutman

Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In
By Bernie Sanders

The ABCs of Socialism
By Bhaskar Sunkara, ed.

The Future We Want: Radical Ideas for a New Century
By Sarah Leonard and Bhaskar Sunkara, eds.

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