Socialist Hopes Versus American Realities? January 28, 2021

In the yawning gap between the crises of economy, environment, and survival on the one hand, and ruling class responses, on the other hand, is there space for socialist solutions and the movements that can deliver them? If so, how will it be filled? We answer these questions with a thoughtful and diverse group of activist intellectuals including Eljeer Hawkins (Socialist Alternative*), Liza Featherstone (The Nation*), and Kazembe Balagun (Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung*).

*Organizations listed for identification purposes only and do not represent an endorsement). 

Kazembe Balagun is a cultural historian, activist, writer, youngest son of Ben and Millie, and originally from Harlem, New York. From 2008 to 2013, he served as Director of Outreach and Education at the Brecht Forum in New York, where he helped bring together performance art, LGBT history, film, and jazz with Marxism and the Black Radical Tradition. He is a frequent contributor to the Indypendent, where he published the last interview of Octavia Butler (included in Consuela Francis’ Conversations with Octavia Butler, University Press of Mississippi). Most recently, Finally Got the News: The Printed Legacy of the Radical Left (Common Notions) published Balagun’s essay on art and people of color communist collectives. He was a member of the Red Channels Film Collective and has presented at Metrograph, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn Public Library, Woodbine, and Maysles Cinema. He serves as a project manager with the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung—New York and is working on a project looking at uncovering the history of the Black Commune.

Liza Featherstone is a journalist based in New York City and a contributing writer to The Nation. She is the co-author of Students Against Sweatshops: The Making of a Movement (Verso, 2002) and the author of Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Worker’s Rights at Wal-Mart (Basic, 2004) and Divining Desire: Focus Groups and the Culture of Consultation (OR Books, 2017). She is the editor of False Choices: The Faux Feminism of Hillary Clinton (Verso, 2016).

L. Eljeer Hawkins is a community and anti-war activist, born and raised in Harlem, New York, member of Socialist Alternative/CWI for 21 years. He has toured internationally, invited to address audiences from South Africa to Ireland, Brazil to Belgium on the black struggle in the U.S. He has been involved in the recent Black Lives Matter movement and the fight for $15 movement. Currently, Eljeer is a non-union healthcare worker in New York City. Truthout! published an interview with Hawkins, “Inspiring a Socialist Alternative.”