Stevenson and the Intellectuals

Stevenson and the Intellectuals

For American radicals these are not times of easy political choice. They are all the more difficult if we continue to think in terms of elections, candidates and parties. Raised, as most of us have been, in a tradition of supporting only socialist or labor candidates, we find the immediate problem of the elections perplexing: what shall we do and advise others to do? It seems obvious that the running of independent socialist candidates can, at best, have only occasional local value; the trouble with protest candidates in major elections is that they no longer register any significant protest.

Some socialists continue to favor a rigid intransigeance: no support to either of the two capitalist parties. Others say that an incipient laborliberal party, the hope for a revived American left, is slowly growing within the loose structure of the Democratic Party, and that socialists should support this incipient movement conditionally and critically–e.g., by voting for Stevenson while making it clear that this does not mean a political bloc with the dominant liberal trend. I incline myself to the latter point of view, though with considerable hesitation; but I am strongly convinced that in the absence of any significant socialist movement, it is a problem of tenth-rate importance, almost a matter of personal choice. What is of major importance, however, is the general attitude one takes toward the dominant political drift of American society, whether one floats along or tries to maintain a sharp, fundamental criticism

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