Dissent (magazine)

Dissent (magazine)
For the Australian magazine, see Dissent (Australian magazine).

Cover of Spring 2010 issue
Co-Editors Michael Walzer and Michael Kazin
Former editors Irving Howe (1920–1993)
Categories Politics, Culture
Frequency Quarterly
Publisher The University of Pennsylvania Press
First issue Winter 1954
Country United States
Based in New York City, New York
Language English
Website dissentmagazine.org
ISSN 0012-3846

Dissent is a quarterly magazine focusing on politics and culture edited by Michael Walzer and Michael Kazin. The magazine is published for the Foundation for the Study of Independent Social Ideas, Inc by the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Founded in 1954 by a group of New York Intellectuals, which included Irving Howe, Lewis A. Coser, Henry Pachter, and Meyer Schapiro, the Dissent set out to "dissent from the bleak atmosphere of conformism that pervades the political and intellectual life of the United States."[1] Howe and other co-founders had grown dissatisfied with the political and intellectual climate of the post-war era. Critical of the Communist Party in the U.S. and its support for the Soviet Union and Joseph Stalin, they established the magazine to espouse democratic socialist values, critique contemporary politics and culture, and oppose both Soviet totalitarianism and McCarthyism in the U.S. Its contributing editors and writers offered a range of left, liberal, democratic socialist, and anti-communist views, and the magazine's writing was marked by both its long essays on the state of domestic and foreign politics but also the growing conformity of American culture.[2]

From its inception, Dissent's politics deviated from the standard ideological positions of the left and right. Throughout the Cold War, its editors and contributors were rigorously anti-Communist, condemning the political and moral atrocities of the USSR and China, and calling into question the Marxist contention that culture is at the service of politics. Dissent was critical of the Communist experiments in Cuba and Vietnam, and maintained that the left's mandate was to defend liberal and democratic values as well as socialist ones. Generally, this manifested in a pragmatic approach to politics.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Dissent’s skepticism toward Third-World revolutions, national liberation theories, and the culture of the New Left isolated it from student movements, but its commitment to liberal internationalism and social egalitarianism — in particular, when it came to labor and civil rights issues — separated it from both the mainstream liberalism and the growing neoconservative movement.

Although Dissent still identifies itself with the liberal and social democratic values of its founders, its editors and contributors represent a broad spectrum of political outlooks. The "hawkish" liberalism of Paul Berman is printed alongside the exuberant Marxism of Marshall Berman. Recently, its writers were divided over the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Michael Walzer opposed the invasion while criticizing the rhetoric of the anti-war movement and Mitchell Cohen supported intervention while remaining critical of the Bush administration.

Editorial board members and contributors


External links

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