Marxism and America

New appraisals

Edited by Christopher Phelps and Robin Vandome

Marxism and America


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4976-3
  • Pages: 320
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: June 2021
  • BIC Category: Marxism & Communism, HISTORY / Social History, HISTORY / United States / 20th Century, POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory, North America (USA & Canada), Humanities / History of Western philosophy, History, Modern History, Society & social sciences / History of ideas, Society & social sciences / Marxism & Communism


In Marxism and America, an accomplished group of scholars reconsiders the relationship of the United States to the theoretical tradition derived from Karl Marx.

In brand new essays that cover the period from the nineteenth century, when Marx wrote for American newspapers, to the present, when a millennial socialism has emerged inspired by the presidential campaigns of Bernie Sanders, the contributors take up topics ranging from memory of the Civil War to feminist debates over sexuality and pornography. Along the way, they clarify the relationship of race and democracy, the promise and perils of the American political tradition and the prospects for class politics today.

Marxism and America sheds new light on old questions, helping to explain why socialism has been so difficult to establish in the United States even as it has exerted a notable influence in American thought.


'Full of spirited and cogent arguments, prodigiously researched and vivaciously told, Marxism and America is tailor-made for activists and scholars of the present moment.' Alan Wald, University of Michigan

'At last, a collection on Marxism in the United States that pays serious attention to women, sexuality and feminism.' Nancy Holmstrom, Rutgers University

'A talented group of writers. Anyone interested in understanding the past and present of the left in the United States - from Eugene Debs to W. E. B. Du Bois through AOC and Bernie Sanders - should read this book!' Bhaskar Sunkara, editor, Jacobin

'This insightful, compelling collection shines fresh light on the vital importance of the American experience to understanding Marxist thought, as well as the value of Marxian analysis to understanding the history and social movements of the United States.' Jonathan Bell, UCL

'Filled with surprising insights, these beautifully researched essays on a wide range of topics demonstrate the importance and the diversity of Marxist-inspired politics and ideas in American history. At a moment of resurgence for the left, they are a wonderful resource.' Kimberly Phillips-Fein, New York University


Preface - Nelson Lichtenstein
Introduction: the Marx-America dialectic - Christopher Phelps and Robin Vandome
1 The blue and the gray and the red: Marxism and Civil War memory - Matthew E. Stanley
2 "What is the correct revolutionary proletarian attitude toward sex?": red love and the Americanization of Marx in the interwar years - Jesse F. Battan
3 Marxism and Americanism: A. J. Muste, Louis Budenz, and an "American approach" before the Popular Front - Leilah Danielson
4 Women, the family, and sexuality in U.S. Communist Party publications: refashioning Marxism for the Popular Front era - Jodie Collins
5 Rethinking Karl Marx: American liberalism from the New Deal to the Cold War - Andrew Hartman
6 Black Marxism off the color line: W. E. B. Du Bois and Oliver Cromwell Cox as democratic theorists - Paul M. Heideman
7 "Not picketing in front of bra factories": Marxism, feminism, and the Weather Underground - Sinead McEneaney
8 A people's history of Howard Zinn: radical popular history and its readers - Nick Witham
9 Class, commodity, consumption: theorizing sexual violence during the feminist sex wars of the 1980s - Mara Keire
10 Will the revolution be podcast? Marxism and the culture of "millennial socialism" in the United States - Tim Jelfs
11 Does the American experience refute Marxism? - Kim Moody


Christopher Phelps is Associate Professor of American History in the department of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Nottingham

Robin Vandome is Assistant Professor of American Intellectual and Cultural History in the department of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Nottingham

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