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The Socialist Challenge Today


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About the Author

Leo Panitch is a Senior Scholar and Emeritus Distinguished Research Professor of Political Science at York University in Toronto, Canada. Editor of the annual Socialist Register for over three decades, his book (with Sam Gindin), The Making of American Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire (Verso Books, 2012), was awarded the Deutscher Book Prize in the UK and the Davidson Book Prize in Canada.

Sam Gindin was the Research Director of the Canadian Autoworkers (now UNIFOR) from 1974-2000. Over the next decade he was the Packer Chair in Social Justice at York University. He is the co-author, with Leo Panitch, of The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire (Verso Books, 2012).

Stephen Maher is Assistant Editor of Socialist Register and a PhD Candidate at York University in Toronto.


"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

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