Our Times 3

Bryan D. Palmer

  • The fortunate Marxist: Ernie Tate (1934-2021)

    A working-class autodidact, Ernie Tate was a literate and cultured man, able to reflect engagingly on art and literature, film and music. He could build a cottage and renovate a house, organize a demonstration, engage a crowd, and convince others of the need to use their particular talents to fight for a better world. A love of food and sociability, valued friendships and good health, were paramount in his everyday life.

  • Socialist savant: Leo Panitch (1945-2020)

    Leo Panitch was a socialist savant whose lifelong opposition to capitalism and its deformation of human experience never wavered. As Leo made abundantly clear, in so many ways, over so many years of involvement in and contribution to the socialist left, it is time to get rid of this system of exploitation and oppression, whose inherent destructiveness now places all of humanity at obvious risk.

  • Weather report: Biden barometer falling—storm front for the left

    Progressive mobilizations against the right and its reactionary politics rarely, under capitalism, garner an appreciative response from the so-called mainstream centre, even as it often benefits from this support. For after Biden’s slow trotting victory lap in the calm atmosphere of a congratulatory consensus, a hard rain’s a-gonna fall. And the deluge will not be pounding the right. It will be drowning the left.

  • Eric Hobsbawm’s century

    As the world’s premier Marxist historian, Eric Hobsbawm’s intellectual range was unrivalled. Never one to pander to conventional politics, he was often a brave voice of dissent. Today more than ever, Hobsbawm’s work deserves serious examination. Here, Bryan Palmer reviews Eric Hobsbawm: A Life in History, by Richard J. Evans.

  • 1919: Recovering a legacy

    Reclaiming the legacy of the 1919 general strike is a formidable task – one that will only happen if the unions and the Left are rebuilt in a reciprocal renaissance of the politics of opposition and class struggle.The prospects of either of these linked movements reviving alone, without the advance of the other, are slim indeed.

  • Rebel Youth offers depth but lacks dimension

    Rebel Youth is ordered by two claims. The first is that the explosion of defiant youthful anti-authoritarianism in the cultural arena, rebellious uprisings of young wildcat strikers in 1965-1966, the rise of New Left opposition and protest, and young radicals’ support for a series of 1969-1972 strikes need all be understood as “aspects of a single youth phenomenon.”

  • Dissenting big time: E.P. Thompson, C. Wright Mills and making the first New Left

    Few figures loom larger in the making of the first, late 1950s, New Left than E.P. Thompson and C. Wright Mills. Both were big. Both fit uneasily, to say the least, in the company of any established intelligentsia.

  • Dining out in Dinkytown

    If you are in Minneapolis, after a hard day’s night, the place to go for a morning pick-me-up is Al’s Breakfast. Or so I was informed. Being in the Twin Cities in mid-July, I made my way to the legendary AM eatery, located in the heart of Dinkytown, the neighbourhood adjacent to the University of Minnesota where Al’s is located.

  • Sugar Man’s sweet kiss

    The 1960s formed Sixto Díaz Rodríguez but memory of this man fades. The bar where he ostensibly killed himself is gone. His records cannot be found. Yet this forgotten and forlorn man has become, astonishingly, a figure of legend halfway around the world. His bootlegged music echoes in the ears of youthful rebels, haunting lyrics seared into the consciousness of a generation.

  • The left’s review

    Most English-speaking leftists over the age of forty grew up reading the New Left Review (NLR). Founded in 1960, the journal brought together the first British New Left, which exited the Communist Party in 1956, publishing the New Reasoner, and a younger generation that put out the Universities and Left Review.

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