In the fifty-one years that I’ve been involved in social change activism, I’ve been impressed with the ethical seriousness, creativity, courage, and energy that so many people bring to their engagement in social change activities.

And yet, at the same time, I’ve also been discouraged by some of the ideas that commonly emerge in activist movements — ideas that often severely limit the impact that they could have.

There really are two largely separate lefts in the United States. First there is the left of the magazines and books and universities. Many of the authors and academics who compose that group have developed sophisticated critiques of American society, but Western capitalism has found many ways to ensure that these critiques never reach the vast majority of Americans. As a result, the critical perspectives on American society generated within this arena only reach a small,...

You do not currently have access to this content.