Reconstructing the American Left: The Challenge of Jesse Jackson

West, Cornel

Jesse Jackson's bid for the Democratic nomination constituted the most important challenge to the American left since the emergence of the civil rights movement in the fifties and the feminist movement in the seventies. Unfortunately, the American left, for the most part, missed this grand opportunity. In this essay, I will argue that this failure to respond in a serious and sustained manner to the contemporary black political upsurge signifies the need for a reassessment and reconstruction
of the American left-a rearticulation of progressive forces centered on anti-imperialist struggles (against U.S. and Soviet forms) and black unity (a unity open to non-black allies yet subordinate to no non-black groups).


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Union Theological Seminary
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March 1, 2013