- For the Australian magazine, see Dissent (Australian magazine).
Cover of Winter 2013 issue
|First issue||Winter 1954|
|Company||University of Pennsylvania Press|
|Based in||New York City, New York|
Dissent is a quarterly magazine focusing on politics and culture edited by Michael Kazin. The magazine is published by the University of Pennsylvania Press on behalf of the Foundation for the Study of Independent Social Ideas.
The magazine was established in 1954 by a group of New York Intellectuals, which included Irving Howe, Lewis A. Coser, Henry Pachter, and Meyer Schapiro. Dissent set out to "dissent from the bleak atmosphere of conformism that pervades the political and intellectual life of the United States." Howe and other co-founders had grown dissatisfied with the political and intellectual climate of the post-war era. Critical of the Communist Party in the U.S. and its support for the Soviet Union and Joseph Stalin, they established the magazine to espouse democratic socialist values, critique contemporary politics and culture, and oppose both Soviet totalitarianism and McCarthyism in the U.S. Its contributing editors and writers offered a range of left, liberal, democratic socialist, and anti-communist views, and the magazine's writing was marked by both its long essays on the state of domestic and foreign politics but also covered conformity in American culture.
From its inception, Dissent's politics deviated from the standard ideological positions of the left and right. Throughout the Cold War, its editors and contributors were rigorously anti-Communist, condemning the political and moral atrocities of the USSR and China, and calling into question the Marxist contention that culture is at the service of politics. Dissent was critical of the Communist experiments in Cuba and Vietnam, and maintained that the left's mandate was to defend democratic values as well as socialist ones.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Dissent’s skepticism toward Third World revolutions, national liberation theories, and the culture of the New Left isolated it from student movements, but its commitment to liberal internationalism and social egalitarianism — in particular, when it came to labor and civil rights issues — separated it from both the mainstream liberalism and the growing neoconservative movement.
Although Dissent still identifies itself with the liberal and social democratic values of its founders, its editors and contributors represent a broad spectrum of political outlooks. For example, Dissent editors and writers disagreed regarding the U.S. invasion of Iraq. In a symposium in early 2003, two respondents (including co-editor Mitchell Cohen) supported the war while six (including co-editor Michael Walzer) opposed it. In a 2013 article for Tablet Magazine, Michelle Goldberg discussed Dissent as part of a revival of interest in Marxism among young intellectuals.
- "A Word to Our Readers". Dissent, Winter 1954.
- Neil Jumonville. "The Creation of Dissent: 1950–1955". Critical Crossings: The New York Intellectuals in Postwar America. University of California Press.
- "Drums of War, Calls for Peace". Dissent Winter 2003. University of Pennsylvania Press.
- Michelle Goldberg. "A Generation of Intellectuals Shaped by 2008 Crash Rescues Marx From History’s Dustbin". Tablet.
- Official website
- Dissent at the University of Pennsylvania Press
- The New York Times on Dissent
- "A Modest Utopia: Sixty Years of Dissent" in the New Yorker