Challenging the Right, Augmenting the Left

Recasting Leftist Imagination

Edited by Robert Latham, A. T.  Kingsmith, Julian von Bargen and Niko Block  

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What does the future hold for the left? How does the left adapt to, and prepare for, the crises of our time? In moments of crisis it is always important to rethink longstanding assumptions, jettison wishful thinking and dated ideas, and recover wisdom from the past. In so doing, we have the opportunity to plot a new way forward. The authors of this edited collection do just this: putting forward a diversity of approaches and issues to strategize for the work that awaits us in the 2020s, particularly in the struggle against capitalism, climate change and the far right.

Working within five major thematic areas, the contributors examine how to engage working class people in anti-capitalist struggles, undermine reactionary currents of ethno-nationalism while supporting anti-colonial movements, strategically build power inside and outside the state apparatus, demand new forms of resistance to address environmental crises, and effectively promote solidarity and ecological responsibility. This book provides suggestions for working with popular disaffection, taking the rich, fragmented, conflicted history of refusals and defeats as a starting point for next steps in the struggle against capitalism and the far right, rather than as the basis for more conflict or defeatism.

  • Kindle
  • ISBN: 9781773632315
  • April 2020
  • For sale worldwide
  • PDF
  • ISBN: 9781773633497
  • July 2020
  • $34.99
  • For sale worldwide
  • EPUB
  • ISBN: 9781773632308
  • April 2020
  • $34.99
  • For sale worldwide

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  • Some of the best pieces [in this book] are the one’s dealing with culture as a terrain of struggle. These explore a number of left strategies to undermine the cultural nationalism that the populist right has fallen back on, with some success, to separate the economic elite from the supposed cultural elite that looks down on ordinary people. This is part of the populist right’s strategy for portraying themselves as the perpetual outsiders and redirecting the discontent with the system against the supposed cultural arrogance of intelligentsia and the other—mostly already disadvantaged minorities. The essays also explore the technocratic notion of post politics and the way it is used to depoliticize spheres of struggle from taxes to immigration. There is an excellent contribution by Ozgun Topak on repoliticizing the migration crisis to break out of the racist and liberal philanthropic treatment of migrants as either criminals or victims.

    — Richard Swift, Canadian Dimension, August 2021 (full review)


  • Acknowledgements
  • Contributors
  • Introduction (Niko Block)
  • Organizing the Contending Masses: From a Struggle With to a Struggle Against Capitalism (Robert Latham)
  • Augmentation and Organization (Jordan House)
  • Can Studying Workers’ Class Consciousness Help to Raise it? (Bertell Ollman)
  • Psychological Wage and the Trump Phenomenon (Paul Kellogg)
  • “Rising Powers” and Authoritarian Populism: Beyond Northern Left Perspectives (Sedef Arat-Koç & Aparna Sundar)
  • Migration “Crises” and the Left: In Search of the Political (Özgün E. Topak)
  • Navigating Contemporary Struggles: Class Composition and Social Reproduction (Elise Thorburn & Gary Kinsman)
  • Class-Based Organizing in an Identity-Based World (Assya Moustaqim-Barrette)
  • Experiences on the Socialist Left: Winning, Losing and Continuing (Herman Rosenfeld)
  • What’s Left After the Breakup of the CPGB? (Bruce Curtis & Justin Paulson)
  • Building Political Infrastructure for the Present (Lina Nasr El Hag Ali)
  • Class Struggle in the Marketplace of Ideas: Towards a Leftist Framework of Civil Liberties (Julian von Bargen)
  • The Anthropocene and Us: Grounds for an Augmented Left? (David Ravensbergen)
  • Environmental Contradictions: The Need for an Ecosocialist Paradigm on the Brazilian Left (Sabrina Fernandes)
  • Andean Intercultural Ecosocialism in times of Buen-Vivir? A Red-Green-Culturalist Approach (Javier Cuestas-Caza, Rickard Lalander & Magnus Lembke)
  • Movement, Image, History: Walter Benjamin and Operational Politics (A.K. Thompson)
  • The Disintegration of the Neoliberal Order and Challenges for the Radical Left (Terry Maley)
  • Late Stage Capitalism, Anxiety and Tactical Art Terrorism (William S. Jaques)
  • Détourne Down for What‽ Culture-Jamming in the Age of General Anxiety (A.T. Kingsmith)
  • Thirteen Theses Towards a Materialist Theory of Revenge Capitalism (Max Haiven)
  • Afterword: Augmenting the Left or Rethinking Progressive Politics? (Ronaldo Munck)
  • Index


  • Robert Latham

    Robert Latham teaches in the Politics Department at York University in Toronto.

  • A. T.  Kingsmith

    A. T. Kingsmith teaches in the Politics Department at York University in Toronto.

  • Julian von Bargen

    Julian von Bargen teaches in the Politics Department at York University in Toronto.

  • Niko Block

    Niko Block is a doctoral student of political science at York University.

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