We are witnessing the birth of a new politics -- anti-capitalist, libertarian and anti-war. But where do today's dissidents come from? Dissident Marxism argues that their roots can be found in the life and work of an earlier generation of socialist revolutionaries, including such inspiring figures as the Soviet poet Mayakovsky, the Marxist philosopher Karl Korsch, Communist historians Edward Thompson and Dona Torr, the Egyptian surrealist Georges Henein, American New Left economists Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy, advocates of Third World liberation including Walter Rodney and Samir Amin, Harry Braverman, the author of Labor and Monopoly Capital, and David Widgery, the journalist of the May '68 revolts.
What these writers shared was a commitment to the values of socialism-from-below, the idea that change must be driven by the mass movements of the oppressed. In a world dominated by slump, fascism and war, they retained a commitment to total democracy.
Dissident Marxism describes the left in history. Some readers will enjoy it as a history of revolutionary socialism in the years between Stalin's rise and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Others will find here a challenging thesis -- that the most enduring of left-wing traditions, and highly relevant to the times we live in today, were located in a space between the New Left and Trotskyism. Dissident Marxism explores the lives and thinking of some of the most creative and striking members of the twentieth century left, and asks if the new anti-capitalist movement might provide an opportunity for just such another left-wing generation to emerge?