Catching Up with Paul Buhle


July 2nd, 2020

1 hr 2 mins 22 secs

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About this Episode


"Paul Buhle is the author or editor of more than three-dozen books. Formerly a Senior Lecturer at Brown University, he produces radical comics today. He founded the SDS Journal Radical America and the archive Oral History of the American Left and, with Mari Jo Buhle, is coeditor of the Encyclopedia of the American Left. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin."

After the interview, seized with esprit de l'escalier, Paul sent me the following in an email:

"If I had another 15 minutes, i would repeat what CLR told socialists:
Stop theorizing and look at what is happening, what people are thinking and doing in the streets.
Bernie campaigns

These, up to the last, are what made DSA grow ten times its longtime membership, and did so much else.
We do not yet know about BLM2, but it should be the most important of all.

Footnote: IT STARTED IN WISCONSIN (an unfortunate name), edited by Mari Jo Buhle and me, is the collective saga of the Wis Uprising of 2011-12, the largest working class movement of my personal experience and the biggest mobilization in front of me since....probably 1970. Huge mobilizations, up to 250,000 folks. No violence. Lots of "Thank You" chants to any speaker.
We didn't have a chance.
Which goes to the history of the US Left.
Which does not negate the struggle or the legacies (the Wis kid of 11 in 2011 is now....20). But reminds us of the power of capital. And the self-defeating weakness of most of the Democratic party structures to offer real alternatives or even mobilize masses to do more than vote."

Beinart, Peter. The Good Fight: Why Liberals, and Only Liberals, Can Win the War on Terror. Melbourne Univ. Publishing, 2007.

James, Cyril Lionel Robert. The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution. Penguin UK, 2001.

Kazin, Michael. American dreamers: How the left changed a nation. Knopf, 2011.