The (Still) Relevant Socialist: Michael Harrington

The (Still) Relevant Socialist: Michael
Harrington

In 1962 Michael Harrington sparked a war on poverty. He
published The Other America, an excursion into the life of
the dispossessed that destroyed the popular notion that ‘the
affluent society’ encompassed the whole of America, and provided
the inspiration for many of Lyndon Johnson’s ‘Great Society’
programs.

Harold Meyerson, one of Harrington’s ‘converts,’ takes a step back
in the Atlantic Monthly to look at his life and
legacy, reviewing Maurice Isserman’s new biography of Harrington:
The Other American. Biographer Isserman and Meyerson, who
once called Harrington ‘the last white boy in America who could
give a speech,’ portray Harrington as a social visionary who
remained true to his own gospel.

Harrington, arguably the most charismatic figure on the American
left in the past half-century, extolled a timeless message both
passionate and practical that may apply to the current struggles to
preserve democracy in the age of globalization. — Amanda
Luker
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