Leo Panitch, Sam Gindin, and Stephen Maher provide a newly updated and expanded primer for twenty-first century democratic socialists. The Socialist Challenge Today presents an essential historical, theoretical, and critical perspective for understanding the potential as well as the limits of three important recent phenomena: the Sanders electoral insurgency in the United States; the Syriza experience in Greece; and Corbyn's leadership of the Labour Party in the United Kingdom. The renowned coauthors compellingly convey the importance of developing strategic and practical capacities to democratically transform state structures so as to render them fit for realizing collective democracy, social equality, sustainable ecology, and human solidarity.
Table of Contents
Introduction: From Social Democracy to Democratic Socialism
1 From Class to Party
2 Signposts Towards Democratic Socialism
3 Sanders and Syriza: From Protest to Politics
4 Syriza and the Problem of State Transformation
5 Corbyn’s Challenge: From Insurgency to Transformation?
6 The State and the Socialist Challenge
"This updated edition of The Socialist Challenge Today should be required reading for everyone on the Left celebrating the return of socialist politics. If our enthusiasm is to generate lasting, structural change, we have to plan – how exactly do we get to where we want to go? We have to learn from the past, analyze the present, and anticipate the future with clear heads, sober senses, and relentless revolutionary optimism." —Jodi Dean, author of Comrade: An Essay on Political Belonging
"In The Socialist Challenge Today, Panitch, Gindin and Maher address the most important and concrete questions that confront the socialist left today – questions concerning how to make sense of and navigate the simultaneous emergence of insurgent anti-neoliberal political expressions and an authoritarian neoliberalism that sometimes dresses up as populism. No one could be a better guide for us through these complex and contradictory issues, as their record of always grounded, always theoretically rich and deeply informed, and most of all always strategically enlightening, political analysis shows. Their work is to be treasured, and this book continues in that vein." —Adolph Reed, Jr., Emeritus Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
"This is the book we need at this moment of perilous uncertainty. Panitch and Gindin bring their formidable knowledge of the international Left to bear as they scrutinize recent efforts at party building on the Left. They provide us with some of the lessons, the guardrails, we need as we mobilize to overcome the dangerous, perhaps fatal, entanglements of late capitalism. So read this book, and join in the effort." —Frances Fox Piven, co-author of Poor People's Movements: Why they Succeed, How they Fail
"Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin are two of the most gifted intellectuals on the Left, combining sober analysis with a deep moral commitment to the socialist project. Their look at the Corbyn and Syriza projects, as well as the ongoing Bernie Sanders insurgency within the Democratic Party, are well worth reading." —Bhaskar Sunkara, founding editor of Jacobin
"It’s never easy being a socialist. But the Left has lost some particularly gut-wrenching battles recently. Though Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders succeeded in raising political expectations and reviving a socialist left, in their respective countries and beyond, their losses have left activists shell-shocked and searching for answers. For those trying to understand how we got here, and where we need to go, The Socialist Challenge Today is an essential starting point. Rejecting false optimism of any kind, the book is helpful precisely because it explains why it’s so hard to be a socialist. By soberly identifying the obstacles to anti-capitalist transformation, it provides socialists a strategic road map to victory." —Eric Blanc, Jacobin