The following is a selection of pieces Todd Gitlin wrote for Dissent.
A Report from ‘Students for a Democratic Society’ (Spring 1965)
“Probably none of us in SDS would say with any assurance that what is now being tried will definitely work. The point, rather, is that for one of the few times in the last twenty years a group of conscious radicals is attempting, seriously and systematically, to build a strategy and movement for basic change that reaches beyond the armchair but does not ignore it. And that, it seems to us, is a good and hopeful thing” (co-written with Paul Potter).
Campaign Images: Mirrors Within Mirrors (Fall 1984)
“In the end, however dizzying and distracting this process of image-making, the media, like magnifying glasses in the sun, concentrate but do not invent. The candidates make their own images, to paraphrase Marx, but not in conditions of their own making. The images they flash can get out of their control. The meaning of this situation is not to be found in the old vocabulary of manipulation, demagoguery, charisma, because it is not altogether clear who, if anyone, is in charge.”
Reflections on 1968 and Environs (Fall 1993)
“Nineteen hundred and sixty-eight belongs to history. But the history it belongs to is the history we belong to: the history of hope, error, and missed opportunities, and the history of democratic vistas.”
Democratic Dilemmas (Fall 2006)
“There is more, much more, to politics than parties. Today, in a time of rampant disillusion with politics, parties are incapable of replenishing themselves. In the old days, they included self-perpetuating machines that thrived because they offered material rewards; today, the inside-the-Beltway apparatus of staffers, campaign consultants, managers, fundraisers, and so on are the enduring components. But this is not enough. Parties that rest on blind ambition alone are doomed—in democracies as in one-party states.”
A Charter for the 99 Percent (Winter 2013)
“Elections should be publicly financed. The Citizens United decision needs to be rescinded, for corporations are not persons and the ability of some people to spend millions encourages politicians to bend to the wealthiest.”
Fossil Fuels Off Campus (Spring 2016)
“The climate movement, by fits and starts, is changing the culture—not fast enough, not thoroughly enough, but changing it nonetheless. The divestment movements on hundreds of campuses are pointing fingers at institutions that, while not major energy users themselves, carry weight. Some movers and shakers in these movements will go on to devote their lives to related work; many already do so. Even though most divestment movements have not yet succeeded in persuading universities to drop haywire policies, they help. That is all anyone can ask of movements that aim to replace haywire realism with the real kind.”