The Past, Present, and Future of the Left in America

June 20, 1996

Michael Tomsky, author of Left for Dead: The Life, Death, and Possible Resurrection of Progressive Politics in America, discusses what he sees as the recent failures of leftist rhetoric and strategies that seem to only be talking to the already converted. On the current issue of affirmative action, for example, the author feels that perhaps including class politics into the equation might make a larger percentage of the population support it. Barbara Ehrenreich, who reviewed Tomsky’s book in The Progressive Magazine review Why We Are All a Bunch of Losers, agrees with many areas of Tomsky’s book, and feels that various forms of postmodernism and political correctness have been substituting for a credible leftist critique. However, she disagrees with Tomsky saying that the left hasn’t succeeded, and argues that success can’t always be measured in terms of popular public support as the left has often been, and must continue to be, committed to taking some unpopular stances.


Michael Tomsky: writer for The Village Voice and author of Left for Dead

Barbara Ehrenreich: author of The Snarling Citizen and Why We Are All a Bunch of Losers