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Wed May 1, 2013, 05:19 PM

Lean Socialist: Why liberalism needs socialism–and vice versa

from In These Times:

Lean Socialist
Why liberalism needs socialism–and vice versa.

BY Bhaskar Sunkara

He wasn’t a household name, but for the last half of the 20th century Michael Harrington was the most prominent socialist in the United States. International leaders like Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme said that if Harrington were European, he’d be a head of state—rather than simply a regular on late-night C-Span. William F. Buckley was more dismissive, noting, “Being called America’s foremost socialist is like being the tallest building in Topeka, Kansas.”

Since Harrington’s death in 1989, the decline of an already small American socialist movement has been even more pronounced. With even the most tepid forms of “liberalism” on the retreat in the United States, and something as economically rational as single-payer healthcare off the agenda entirely, more radical policies seem like the stuff of fantasy. Sure, socialism has its holdouts, but the truly committed domestic socialists now number in the thousands, not the millions. Much as Star Trek nerds make their pilgrimage to Trekkie conventions, this cadre flocks to Left Forum in New York City every year for heated arguments over this or that piece of sectarian esoterica.

The American democratic socialist movement today is marked by both a corrosive internal culture and absolute organizational disarray. When socialists do have impact it’s behind the veil of liberal-left groups, such as Progressive Democrats of America. For the most part, the “S-word” is seen as a liability and is kept hidden from sight. Aside from as a right-wing scare tactic, it goes without saying that socialism has no place within the mainstream American political landscape.

But despite this gloomy picture, there are signs that the cause may not be lost. A Pew poll last year found that more young Americans were favorably disposed to socialism than to capitalism. Even some of the more maligned aspects of Occupy activism pointed toward an underlying radicalism. The yearning for a more just economy seen in Zuccotti Park’s soup kitchen, or the thirst for deeper democracy embodied by Occupy Wall Street’s General Assemblies, represented profound aspirations, if only fleetingly realized. Members of a generation that came of age politically after the Cold War may not claim the label of “socialist,” but they don’t associate it with gulags and military parades, either. ...........(more)

The complete piece is at: http://inthesetimes.com/article/14873/lean_socialist/

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Reply Lean Socialist: Why liberalism needs socialism–and vice versa (Original post)
marmar May 2013 OP
byeya May 2013 #1

Response to marmar (Original post)

Wed May 1, 2013, 06:40 PM

1. I've read In These Times since it was a bi-weekly and said America's Only Socialist Newspaper


or something like that, on the masthead. It's a monthly now and well worth reading. It has good labor, environmental, and immigration articles.

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