The Fate of the Left

Still, Radicals in America is a generous overview, well-written and rich with detail, offering readers a lively way to grasp a subject that has often seemed more discontinuous and elusive than understandable. It astutely follows leading movements and personalities across almost three generations of American history. It takes us from the optimism of the immediate post–World War II era, when fascism/Nazism had been defeated, to the bitter reality of the Cold War, up to the left’s own daily reality—domestic repression, blacklisting, breakup of left-leaning unions, and so forth.

Across the Border

Peter Kuper
SelfMadeHero Books, 2015. The artist most well known for his Mad Magazine “Spy vs. Spy” pages has had quite a career, artistic and political. Much of it began when he abandoned his hometown Cleveland, back in 1977, for Manhattan. The creation of World War 3 Illustrated, the now long-lasting comics annual, encompassed but did not exhaust his views of his adopted location, summed up artistically in the gorgeous Drawn to New York, published in 2013.

Dollarocracy and the Fight to Get Money Out of Politics

That the corporate-driven “medium” overcomes almost any conceivable “message” is one of the clearest lessons of the election of 2012. A review of Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex is Destroying America by John Nichols and Robert W. McChesney

Comics and Jews

A most unusual book by a most unusual author in the comics world, this small-sized, thick, square volume follows in many ways upon Fredrik Strömberg’s Black Images in the Comics (2001). It also departs in so many other ways that the contrast is vastly illuminating.

Early Days of the New Student Revolt

Springtime is a very good and very timely volume, even if so much has changed since last fall, when the final pieces were completed, that things look rather different. The outcomes remain in doubt, of course. The crises in education, mirroring the crises in society at large, make Education Under Fire (soon to be an MR Press book) useful in a complementary fashion, setting the structure and some of the backstory in place.

Our Forgotten Tradition

Socialism, contrary to generations of conservative (often also, liberal) propagandizing, may not be un-American after all. A review of "The 'S' Word: A Short History of an American Tradition... Socialism" by John Nichols.

Tikkun Anniversary Notes

Students in my classes, ever more discouraged during the 1990s and then again after 9/11, took heart at the antiwar sentiment in 2003 (Tony Kushner, Woody Harrelson, and Howard Zinn were among our speakers in that extended moment prior to Shock, Awe and calculated devastation) and then lost it again, regained it during the Immigrant Rights march of 2006 and once more at the Obama presidential campaign, and have been struggling to regain their ground ever since. Jewish students were naturally active in all these movements, while Jewish organizations as such were most frequently on the wrong sides of the issues.