The Future We Want: Radical Ideas for the New Century

The Future We Want: Radical Ideas for the New Century

by Sarah Leonard, Bhaskar Sunkara


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A stirring blueprint for American equality, from the "breakout stars" (The New York Times) of the young new left

Democrat, Republican — the list of presidential candidates confirms that business is proceeding pretty much as usual. The Future We Want proposes something different. In a sharp, rousing collective manifesto, ten young cultural and political critics dismantle the usual liberal solutions to America's ills and propose a pragmatic alternative.

What would finance look like without Wall Street? Or the workplace with responsibility shared by the entire workforce? From a campaign to limit work hours, to a program for full employment, to proposals for a new feminism, The Future We Want has the courage to think of alternatives that are both utopian and possible.

Brilliantly clear and provocative, The Future We Want — edited by Jacobin magazine founder Bhaskar Sunkara and the Nation's Sarah Leonard — harnesses the energy and creativity of an angry generation and announces the arrival of a new political left that not only protests but plans.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Those who think that today's young adults are so mesmerized by social media that they cannot think broadly about the public good should think again. Here are a bevy of young radicals who offer powerful critiques of the state of our society today, and offer radical alternatives. They cover a wide range of issues, from education and policing to economic policy, but the common theme is thinking about how to make the United States a genuine democracy. At a time of frozen, unresponsive politics, these are voices that deserve a hearing."

—Eric Foner, author of Reconstruction

"There's an old joke that says it’s easier to imagine the end of all life on earth than a modest change to capitalism. The Future We Want proves this joke doesn't apply to an emerging generation of leftist intellectuals who are ready to radically reimagine the political and economic status quo. Leonard and Sunkara have done a public service by compiling an inspiring program for a better world, one grounded in pragmatism but ultimately aimed at utopia."

—Astra Taylor, author of The People's Platform

Kirkus Reviews

Leftist considerations of a number of contemporary sociopolitical issues, edited by Nation senior editor Leonard and Jacobin founding editor Sunkara. "From capital's point of view," writes Jacobin contributing editor Chris Maisano, "the social and political relations of production that come with [full employment] are untenable. Accepting such an economy would be tantamount to unilateral disarmament in the class struggle." They may sound hoary, but these words have a stirring quality, a reminder that it is more fun to read the subversive broadsides of Vonnegut than the Grundrisse, but the latter's analytical tools continue to find a trenchant foothold. "The ideas in this volume draw on a rich tradition of socialist proposals, long a force in American politics," writes Leonard, and what the collection lacks in humor and self-skepticism, it makes up for not just in radical traditions, but also in original thinking on life beyond today's ruinous oligarchy. Throughout the book, there is plenty to argue with—e.g., "for socialists, freedom is exclusively identified with the time we spend outside the sphere of material production," a contention that denies the genuinely meaningful possibilities of work. But engagement—with the essays, with the world—is the point. The contributors explore the horizontal structure of local autonomy, exemplified by Occupy, Black Lives Matter, and Fight for $15; the organizations at work in the LGBT movement confronting the economic marginalization and violence that still plague this community (the time has come to move from "legal equality to lived equality"); and the plentiful instances when small is not necessarily better. The contributors address both sweeping concerns—echoing Thomas Piketty, particularly regarding the African-American population: "As bad as income inequality is in the United States, wealth inequality is even worse"—and specific issues, including the idea of the "work-life balance": as Leonard rightly notes, "working-class women have always ‘done it all.' " Piquant, irksome, challenging, head-turning, maddening—a collection that successfully endeavors to get your blood pumping.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780805098297
Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 02/02/2016
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 8.20(w) x 5.50(h) x 0.70(d)

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