Via Socialist Forum: Vivian Gornick on Communism, Smart Talk on Ukraine

While we hope you have DL bookmarked, don’t sleep on our sister publication Socialist Forum – where longer, more detailed, and sometimes more controversial writing appears. The most recent issue features labor struggles from farm to baseball field along with hard-hitting discussions of what we do in DSA chapters. Below are excerpts from pieces that belong in neither category but still feel essential. (Eds).

The Shock of Recognition: On Reading Vivian Gornick’s The Romance of American Communism starts by quoting the book in question:

“Ever since I started reading The Romance of American Communism by Vivian GornickI have kept thinking about it consistently, maybe even daily. By 2020, I had spent the past year as a first-time organized socialist, participating in the mass movement of the Bernie Sanders campaign and the George Floyd uprising through Wayne State YDSA and later Metro Detroit DSA.”

Later, the author reflects on what Gornick might mean to socialists like us: “For those who are living that tradition today, like many of us recently radicalized young people who’ve found their home as organized socialists in DSA, her book allows us to see how the force of communism and international revolution drove people 80 years ago, not unlike the way the Bernie campaign drove many of us. At the same time, it allows us to see all the peculiarities about that moment in history, the different conditions that generation faced, so we can better understand the unique conditions that confront us today.” Here’s the full article at Socialist Forum, which is well worth your time.

So is Kyle Shybunko’s and Alex Gendler’s What Can the Left Actually Do About Ukraine? For those of us who started last year agonizing about Russia’s invasion but still unwilling to get caught up in what is starting to smell a bit like Biden’s Vietnam, the authors point out that “Within DSA, this results in an odd mix of pragmatic approaches to domestic politics while issuing maximal demands on foreign and international affairs. Calls by the left for de-escalation, negotiation, the disbanding of NATO – or for that matter the withdrawal of Russian troops – are ultimately directed at parties who aren’t listening to us.” Their piece is a sober consideration of the facts on the ground.