The Future of the American Left

The Future of the American Left

What is going to happen to the American left, now that the world is turning upside down? Let me begin with a picture of what has happened in the past.

In the century and a quarter since the American Civil War and the rise of a modern capitalist economy, there have been three great upsurges from the left. In each instance a sizable part of the population rose up against injustice, won victories, pushed the country in more democratic directions—and left behind a sediment of institutions and beliefs that have turned out to be permanent features of American life. The sediments from these three great upsurges, one piling on top of the other, make up the vast historic American left.

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