Synopses & Reviews
Why is there no socialism in the United States? We can best deal with this age-old question, writes Brian Lloyd, by rephrasing it. In this provocative rethinking of American radicalism, Lloyd asks instead: What happened to Marx's methods and concepts when American radicals tried to put them into practice?
As an answer, Lloyd offers a detailed analysis of the Marxian doctrine that Debs-era socialists tried to understand and put to use in changing American society. He highlights the amicable relationship that developed between Marxism and pragmatism, showing how this courtship ultimately impoverished the radicals who cultivated it. Trying to gain a foothold in the struggle to shape American society and social science in the early twentieth century, Marxists invigorated American liberalism while placing themselves on the fringe of liberal discourse and rendering themselves irrelevant.
Whether in the name of Darwin or Dewey, those who claimed to be squaring Marxism with American reality succeeded only in creating American versions of the petty bourgeois socialism that Marx had castigated in 1848. The poverty of American Marxism, Lloyd concludes, was above all an ideological condition--the result of radicals' having imbibed far too little, rather than too much, of the Marxism of Marx.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -461) and index.