The remarkable run of self-proclaimed “democratic socialist” Bernie Sanders for president of the United States has prompted-for the first time in decades and to the shock of many-a national conversation about socialism. A New York Times poll in late November found that a majority of Democrats had a favorable view of socialism, and in New Hampshire in February, more than half of Democratic voters under 35 told the Boston Globe they call themselves socialists. It’s unclear exactly what socialism means to this generation, but couple with the ascendancy of longtime leftwinger Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership of the Labour Party in the UK, it’s clear there’s a historic, generational shift underway. This book steps into this moment to offer a clear, accessible, informative, and irreverent guide to socialism for the uninitiated. Written by young writers from the dynamic magazine Jacobin, alongside several distinguished scholars, The ABCs of Socialism answers basic questions, including ones that many want to know but might be afraid to ask (“Doesn’t socialism always end up in dictatorship?”, “Will socialists take my Kenny Loggins records?”).
Disarming and pitched to a general readership without sacrificing intellectual depth, this will be the best introduction an idea whose time seems to have come again. Contributors include Nicole Aschoff, Alyssa Battistoni, Jonah Birch, Vivek Chibber, Danny Katch, Chris Maisano, Nivedita Majumdar, Michael A. McCarthy, Joseph M. Schwartz, Bhaskar Sunkara, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Adaner Usmani and Erik Olin Wright.