Michael Harrington Symposium

This July marks the 20th anniversary of the death of American democratic socialist Michael Harrington.  Harrington was a best-selling author, a principled political activist and the standard-bearer for American democratic socialism throughout his lifetime. Harrington was also the catalyst behind the formation of the Democratic Socialists of America, the parent organization of the Young Democratic SocialistsThe Activist invites members of the progressive community to contribute 500 to 1000-word essays reflecting on Harrington’s life and legacy or more generally on the future of the American socialist movement to which he committed himself.

Please send all submissions to admin@theactivist.org.  We will be publishing entries from July 20th until the end of the month. [Illustration by Scott Laumann]


Michael Harrington and the Twilight of Capitalism – Jason Schulman
A Life Assessed – Joseph Schwartz
The Future-Past of the Next Left – Matt May
After Michael Harrington – David Duhalde
The “Vulture Theory” of Socialism Bhaskar Sunkara
Responsible Radical: Reflections on Michael Harrington’s Legacy – Ben Kreider


  1. Michael Harrington was a great American thinker and activist, and he deserves much recognition.

  2. What John said.^

    I think I will be able to submit something by then….

    Has anyone else read “The Other American,” a biography of Harrington written by DSA’s own Maurice Isserman?

  3. I only became interested in DSA after reading Isserman’s book. Great researchers are a dime a dozen but I think Isserman is a great writer.

  4. The Other American is an excellent book. I read it earlier this year, and it’s not only a great introduction to Michael’s life and thought, it does a great job of bringing the radical movements and subcultures of the 1950s and 1960s to life, and as a lapsed Catholic myself I enjoyed reading about life on the fringes of the church in the postwar years. Good to hear that Isserman is going to contribute a piece.

  5. I’m also a big fan of Isserman’s biography of Harrington.

    In case folks didn’t see this already, Isserman published a nice essay 2 weeks ago on Harrington in the NY Times magazine, Sunday edition.


  6. “a principled political activist and the standard-…”

    thnk thr s a tp hr!

  7. Huh? I didn’t understand Sheldon’s post at all.

  8. I have fun with, lead to I discovered just what I wwas looking
    for. You’ve ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you
    man. Have a nice day. Bye

  9. The Long Distance Runner is OK. I don’t think it’s a must-read.

    I quite like The Twilight of Capitalism, which I’ll be talking about in my contribution to the symposium.


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