cover image The Rise of a New Left: How Young Radicals are Shaping the Future of America

The Rise of a New Left: How Young Radicals are Shaping the Future of America

Raina Lipsitz. Verso, $26.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-839-76426-4

Journalist Lipsitz debuts with an insider’s account of how young progressives are influencing American politics and culture. She traces the resurgence of the political left to the 2011 Occupy Wall Street protest and Sen. Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential run, but credits New York City congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s upset victory in 2018 with catapulting the movement into the limelight. Today’s progressives, Lipsitz shows, are well educated and often come from immigrant or working-class families. Pragmatic economic concerns, more than ideology, drive their passion for such issues as Medicare for All, free college, and the Green New Deal. They are also pushing to cut police budgets, ban fracking, and reform immigration laws. Lipsitz profiles progressive organizers including Alexandra Rojas, executive director of Justice Democrats, and recounts campaigns by “insurgent candidates” including India Walton, who lost to Buffalo’s incumbent mayor after defeating him in the Democratic primary. Though the “new left” was happy to see Donald Trump defeated, Lipsitz strikes a note of caution: “It’s obvious how little progress many of the people and groups who helped put Biden in office have made on their top priorities.” Idealistic yet clear-eyed about the movement’s strengths and weaknesses, this is an inspirational introduction to young progressives and the causes they’re fighting for. (Sept.)