Magazine article Dissent

Introduction

Magazine article Dissent

Introduction

Article excerpt

"The Socialist movement is as wide as the world," Eugene V. Debs told the large crowds that came to hear him all over the United States, "... its mission is to win the world, the whole world, from animalism, and consecrate it to humanity. What a tremendous task, and what a royal privilege to share in it." The history of the twentieth century made such confidence quite impossible. Yet socialism still has meaning, even if that meaning probably has never been as murky as it is today. Conservatives brand Barack Obama a socialist for signing a national health care plan that Richard Nixon would have viewed as timid; the rulers of the most populous country on earth say their booming capitalist economy is somehow building "socialism with Chinese characteristics"; while the socialist parties of Europe struggle to prove they can spur economic growth while keeping their welfare states from going bankrupt.

Dissent was founded in 1954 to promote a democratic vision of socialism. We still believe there is no better vision worth defining, understanding, arguing about, and working to realize. The four contributors to this symposium approach its meaning from different angles and come to different conclusions about what its future ought to be. …

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