[lbo-talk] How Immigrants Built the American Left—And Can Build It Again: Dissent

Marv Gandall marvgand2 at gmail.com
Thu Feb 23 19:49:57 PST 2017

A useful survey by historian Nelson Lichtenstein of the effect of immigration, internal and external, on US radical history - equally applicable to the history of the left in Canada and other developed countries.

Expanding North American capitalism sought immigrants for economic reasons, as a cheap labour force. Others saw immigration as a moral imperative, a refuge for the poor and persecuted, as many still do. But immigration’s important political consequences for today’s left are less well understood and are underscored by Lichtenstein.

“If and when a twenty-first-century left comes into being, immigrants—whether freshly arrived or one or two generations in—will be at the heart of it…For nearly two centuries, immigrants have formed a reservoir of support out of which the left has drawn millions of partisans and thousands of leaders and activists.”


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