Robin Kelley is a professor of history at UCLA and the author of a number of important books on a wide range of subjects, from communism in the American South (1990’s Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression), to the political visions of radical black intellectuals and artists (2002’s Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination), to the history of jazz (2009’s Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original). He joins us to discuss his intellectual path from doctrinaire Marxism to “Marxist surrealist feminist,” and why he thinks aesthetics and culture are such vital spaces for the left to reclaim its imaginative vision.
Daniel Bessner joins us for a free-ranging chat about Bernie Sanders: the good, the bad, and the ugly. For better or worse, we all know that Bernie’s the man to beat on the left. He’s ignited the political passions of millions of people, especially young people, and is the only presidential candidate who actually challenges the entrenched power of capitalism in the American political system. But he also sucks on issues like race and foreign policy, and no one knows if he can really win a national election. In this episode we talk through Bernie’s record, our thoughts on his chances, and the significance of his campaign for the future of progressive politics.
Nathan J. Robinson is the creator and editor-in-chief of Current Affairs, one of the left’s most consistently valuable and readable publications. Robinson talks about honing his skills at political argument in the high school debate club, explains how a British accent can be an asset in American media, and describes his vision for the future of Current Affairs and the larger left movement.