Founded in 1970, the journal Socialist Review has played a uniquely important role in the recent history and intellectual development of the American left. When other left groups and organizations retreated into a depressed sectarianism, Socialist Review was elaborating a vision of a broad-based socialism, intended to intervene within the mainstream of American politics. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, it explored questions about the left’s relation to the Democratic Party and the trade-union movement, the potential for ‘populist’ community politics, and the relevance of European strategies and initiatives to the American experience. The journal played a major role in bringing questions of gender and sexuality to the center of left discourse, and also provided a forum for debate on the radical potential of post-modernism.
With an introductory essay which reviews the parallel histories of Socialist Review and the American Left, Unfinished Business brings together many of the liveliest and most significant articles published in the journal over its first twenty years, from the best writers on the left today, includingh Barbara Ehrenreich, Donna Haraway, Stanley Aronowitz and Jeffrey Escoffier. Their subjects range from the construction of racial and sexual identities to the utopian dimensions of Marxist theory, and the cross-impacts of feminism and neoliberalism, community and subjectivity, in a postindustrial world. Fresh in spirit, lean in rhetoric and rich in ideas, this is a provocative and inspiring anthology.