Imagining Socialism in Our Lives
Book Review

Menasche, Ann

Publisher:  Against the Current
Date Written:  01/07/2014
Year Published:  2014  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20788

A book review of "Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA" edited by Francis Goldin, Debby Smith and Michael Steven Smith.



Without a coherent vision of a better world and the organization that goes with it, even mass protests of ordinary working people in response to injustice will likely go nowhere or worse. Witness the disappointing results of the Arab spring in Egypt, the present mess in the Ukraine and the lack of staying power of promising movements like Occupy.

Thus, the anthology Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA edited by Frances Goldin, Debby Smith and Michael Steven Smith could not have been published at a better time. With its 31 diverse contributions, part of the book's importance is that it’s put out by a major commercial publishing house -- thanks in large measure to the influence of veteran literary agent Frances Goldin -- giving it access to a potential audience broader than the already existing left.

With the defeat of what used to be called "actually existing socialism," and with the stark, repressive reality of these societies discrediting the ideas of socialism that had sustained generations of activists, American workers, even some of the most conscious, have been left demoralized and disoriented -- yet the need for a socialist transformation has never been greater.

Whether we look at the existential crisis of civilization posed by global warming, the increasing impoverishment of the 99%, the perpetual wars abroad and the violence in our own communities, the dismantling of the public sphere in favor a soulless casino capitalism that continues to transfer wealth to billionaires and big corporations regardless of the impact on the lives of everyone else; or we observe the beginnings of the reversal of many of the gains won by the Civil Rights Movement, the union movement and the feminist movement over the last 60 years -- without fundamental change, the younger generations are facing a bleak future indeed.
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