Dissent (American magazine)

For the Australian magazine, see Dissent (Australian magazine).
Dissent Magazine US Logo (2).png
Editors Michael Kazin & David Marcus
Categories Politics, Culture
Frequency Quarterly
Publisher University of Pennsylvania Press
First issue Winter 1954
Country United States
Based in New York City, New York
Language English
Website www.dissentmagazine.org
ISSN 0012-3846
OCLC number 664602786

Dissent is a quarterly, left-wing magazine focusing on politics and culture edited by Michael Kazin and David Marcus. 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, Norman Mailer, and Meyer Schapiro. From its inception, Dissent's politics deviated from the standard ideological positions of the left and right. Like politics, the New Left Review and the French socialist magazine Socialisme ou Barbarie, Dissent sought to formulate a third position between the liberalism of the West and the communism of the East.[1] Troubled by the rampant bureaucratization of both capitalist and communist society, Dissent was home to writers like C. Wright Mills and Paul Goodman who identified themselves as radical democrats as well as to editors who like Irving Howe and Michael Harrington more closely identified with democratic socialism. Over its six decades in publication, it has also become one of America's most prestigious venues for social and cultural criticism, publishing political philosophers including Michael Walzer (who was editor of the magazine for four decades), Cornel West, and Iris Marion Young, as well as novelists and poets such as Gunther Grass and Czeslaw Milosz.[2]

In the 1960s and 1970s, Dissent's skepticism toward Third World revolutions and the culture of the New Left occasionally isolated it from student movements. But its commitment to both pluralist and egalitarian politics—in particular, when it came to social and civil rights issues—separated it from both the mainstream liberalism and the growing neoconservative movement. Although Dissent still identifies with the democratic socialism of its founders, its editors and contributors represent a broad spectrum of Left positions: from the Marxist humanism of Marshall Berman and Leszek Kolakowski to the social democratic visions of Richard Rorty and Michael Walzer to the radical feminism of Ellen Willis and Seyla Benhabib.[3] More recently, several of its younger editors have identified themselves with the heterodox Marxism and visions of radical democracy espoused by Occupy Wall Street.[4][5][6]

Together with the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, Dissent announced its Archive project. It will be digitizing several short-lived little magazines, including Marxist Perspectives and democracy, and providing access to them online.[7] It also recently launched a labor podcast and introduced a new front of the book section dedicated to publishing cultural criticism.[8][9]

In 2014, design studio Rumors finished a redesign of the magazine's design. The main objective was to establish the distinct image which it had lacked in its sixty years of operation.[10]


  1. "A Word to Our Readers" (PDF). Dissent. Winter 1954.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Maurice Isserman, If I Had a Hammer: The Death of the Old Left and the Birth of the New Left.
  3. Maurice Isserman, "Steady Work: Sixty Years of Dissent", Dissent, January 23, 2014.
  4. Michelle Goldberg, "A Generation of Intellectuals Shaped by 2008 Crash Rescues Marx From History’s Dustbin", Tablet, October 14, 2013.
  5. David Marcus, "The Horizontalists", Dissent, Fall 2012.
  6. Jennifer Schuessler, "A Lion of the Left Wing Celebrates Six Decades", The New York Times, October 27, 2013.
  7. "'Marxist Perspectives' Revived", Dissent blog, 18 April 2012, accessed 15 June 2014
  8. "Belabored Podcast to Launch Next Friday Featuring Karen Lewis", Dissent, April 5, 2013.
  9. Dissent website.
  10. "Dissent". Rumors. Retrieved 23 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links