Dissent

Articles from Vol. 59, No. 3, 2012

A Linked Fate: Barack Obama and Black America
Barack Obama's election marked a significant step in what black Americans call the long road to freedom. A survey conducted after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 revealed that 82 percent of blacks believed they were "unlikely to soon achieve racial equality."...
Birthright Journeys: Connecting Dots for the Diaspora
Birthright programs that send ethnic youth back to their "motherland" are never simply about roots or where their ancestors came from. Rather, the programs are about giving birth, both in the metaphorical and literal senses, to feelings of connectedness...
Borrowed Energy
Borrowed Energy The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism From Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin by Corey Robin Oxford University Press, 2011, 304 pp.Conservatism is idea driven, its idée fixe is the defense of inequalities of wealth and power against challenges...
Can This Election Save the Unions?
It now seems like ancient history: the few weeks between Barack Obama's election in November 2008 and the onset, after the inauguration, of intransigent, increasingly successful Republican opposition to his entire program. That was a moment in which...
Charting a Democratic Future in China
Is there a path toward a democratic future for China? There are plenty of reasons to be pessimistic, at least in the near term. But if there is a way forward, then the first steps are being mapped by a group of thinkers who aim to show how Chinese cultural...
Cooperation and Cunning
Cooperation and Cunning Together The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Cooperation by Richard Sennett Yale University Press, 2012, 336 pp.Richard Sennett's new book was already in press when the Occupy movement took to the streets last fall. But its...
Editor's Page
F. Scott Fitzgerald once offered some sound advice to those leftwing Americans misure whether to support Barack Obama's campaign for re-election. 'The test of a first-rate intelligence," observed the novelist, "is the ability to hold two opposed ideas...
From American Exceptionalism to Self-Knowledge
From American Exceptionalism to Self-Knowledge The Short American Century: A Postmortem Edited by Andrew Bacevich Harvard University Press, 2012, 287 pp.A future historian comparing America in 1945 with America in the second decade of the twenty-first...
How Labor Won in Ohio
Courtney Johnson, who has taught English in Ohio high schools for a decade, never expected to make news. In her classes, she routinely stressed the importance of civic participation and political awareness. As adviser to the school newspaper, she emphasized...
Immigrants and the Road to Power
The once conventional wisdom that immigrants, especially the unauthorized, are unlikely candidates for labor organizing has turned out to be not so much wrong as incomplete. It overlooked several factors that make low-wage immigrants more "organizable"...
Letters
Out to LunchEditors:I was struck by the Spring issue dedicated to "Food," where there were seven articles but not one that addressed the subject of food and hunger or poverty. This extraordinary omission, especially for a leading periodical of the Left,...
Love in the Time of Capital
Love in the Time of Capital Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution by Mary Gabriel Little, Brown, 2011,707 pp.In 1843, a young Karl Marx called for the "ruthless criticism of all that exists." Marx was, at the time, an aspiring...
Pakistani Conundrum: Public, Private, and Female
On my way back from the bakery, which was closing early because of the rally scheduled that afternoon, a car full of women pulled up in front of mine. Like many other vehicles weaving through Karachi's dusty streets, it was an old hatchback from the...
Prosperity and Politics
Prosperity and Politics Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson Crown Publishers, 2012, 529 pp.MIT economist Daron Acemoglu and Harvard political scientist and economist James A. Robinson...
"Remember Who You Are": Michael Kazin Interviews Ohio's Sherrod Brown
Mention the Democrats in Congress, and the emotional response of most left-leaning Americans will veer from moderate disappointment to frothing cynicism. Some pois fail to live up to their own hype as zealous reformers, while others seem mainly concerned...
Ron Paul and the New Libertarianism
Why is Ron Paul so popular? His moment as a serious presidential contender has come and gone, but in 2012 the twelve-term libertarian congressman from Texas put in his best showing yet during the Republican primaries, emerging as a crowd-pleasing favorite...
Social Movements and Election Campaigns
Social movements can be very grand. Years ago, Richard Rorty wrote an article in Dissent describing Christianity and Marxism as prototypical social movements ("Movements and Campaigns," Winter 1995) - they aimed to transform the world and to create "new"...
Soldiers without Generals Whither the Egyptian Revolution?
During the first week of 2012, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), Egypt's effective ruling body, declared January 25 a national holiday marking the first anniversary of the beginning of the Glorious Revolution of the people (and the army)....
The Graceland of Cold War Tourism: The Greenbrier Bunker
"All wars end in tourism, " writes Tom Vanderbilt - even the Cold War. Thus we can visit the Nevada Test Site, the Titan Missile Museum, and the fallout shelter exhibit at the Smithsonian. The most extravagant of all U.S. Cold War tourist sites, and...
The Last Page
U.S. universities thought their students understood the deal. They would raise tuition fees, and customers (students) would gamely take out ever-increasing loans to pay for them. Protest about the price of education was reserved for those countries still...
The Politics of Theft: Economic Inequality and the Forgotten Work Force
By now, most leftists and much of mainstream America are familiar with the story of what Representative Donna Edwards calls "the greatest wealth transfer in the history of American kind if not of mankind." They are not so familiar with the latest "great...
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