Pitching Radicalism

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Amid its uncritical op-eds on Jeremy Corbyn, Chairman Mao and other relics of the totalitarian past, the New York Times has this week given Nation editor Sarah Leonard a platform to pitch radicalism to American liberals. The pretext is that revolution is a justifiable response to the "moral revulsion and political outrage" occasioned by the Trump presidency. But Leonard's main complaint, one she shares with Occupy, BLM and other protest groups, is the "yawning wealth gap" Trump inherited and, indeed, the advent of neo-liberalism starting in the 1970s. What the current crisis demands, says Leonard, is a fusion of the new anti-Trump resistance—typified by the Indivisible movement—with democratic socialists like Bernie Sanders (and herself). This united front must not merely borrow "the symbols and language of revolutionaries" but embrace "the whole package." What does radicalism mean to Leonard? She doesn't say, at least not in the Times. But hers is not the only way to "attack inequality and injustice," as she puts it, attack being the operative verb in the revolutionary lexicon. Hopefully even agitated Times liberals will remember this.