Of course, it’s impossible to pinpoint the beginning of Dissent. Probably the idea of a new magazine was mentioned first in early 1953; the first issue is dated January I, 1954. (I recall vividly the moment when the first copy came from the printer.) It certainly was “in the works” at least a year before this. We had agreed not to begin unless we had funds to sustain the effort for at least one year. The task of raising this sum—I think it was $6,000—proved difficult.
Which particular exchange of letters among old political friends and associates can be said to have sparked the idea of Dissent? Perhaps more important than this question is the fact that in addition to those who had been together for some time (Socialist party, one or another grouping of the Trotskyist movement, etc.), there were those coming from quite different backgrounds. The genial title Dissent would be the contribution of Lew Coser—editor Bernard Rosenberg having destroyed the attractive notion of naming the magazine No! with the quip that it would be too “affirmative.”...
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