The american left has succeeded where it matters. Contrary to what most left-wing intellectuals in the West fervently believe, the Left hasn’t disappeared. It has instead infiltrated, even saturated, every level and every sphere of social life. The most cherished demographic among advertisers now thinks that socialism is kind of cool and that capitalism is kind of gross. Books by Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn are both recreational reading and gospel truth for everybody under fifty.

The Left, in other words, is an extremely variegated social, intellectual, and political phenomenon. It’s not made of mere radicalism. So it comes and goes, it waxes and wanes, but it never expires. The fact that as of this moment we can’t point to a concrete instance of its organized political presence — a movement, a faction, a party, a cadre — doesn’t mean it’s over and done....

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