How should we conceive of the state of the American Left in the wake of the evisceration of collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin, the sequester and shutdown in Washington, corporate education reform efforts, and the ominous talk of Democratic capitulations to chained Consumer Price Index reforms of the Social Security system?

I’d like to share my own perspective on this debate, a perspective rooted in my experience as a writer and activist born after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Leftists in my generation — younger participants in the lively intellectual culture that has taken root around and beyond Occupy Wall Street in New York City and the new radical journals (n+1, The New Inquiry, Jacobin, and the revitalized Dissent) — accept the need to work for the preservation of the United States’ social welfare architecture, while also setting...

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