The Early Kagan

Readers who have been trying to get a handle on Elena Kagan may find this interesting: her baccalaureate thesis from Princeton, written in 1981. In it she makes a searching examination of the causes leading to the self-destruction of the American Socialist Party in the years following the First World War. She concludes with the following:

Through its own internal feuding, then, the SP exhausted itself forever and further reduced labor radicalism in New York to the position of marginality and insignificance from which it has never recovered. The story is a sad but also a chastening one for those who, more than half a century after socialism’s decline, still wish to change America. Radicals have often succumbed to the devastating bane of sectarianism; it is easier, after all, to fight one’s fellows than it is to battle an entrenched and powerful foe. Yet if the history of Local New York shows anything, it is that American radicals cannot afford to become their own worst enemies. In unity lies their only hope.

This was a long time ago, of course, when she was much younger (as were we all). I wonder how much has changed.

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One Comment

  1. “I wonder how much has changed.”

    Hope and change …; sigh.

    Posted May 19, 2010 at 10:31 am | Permalink