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Presentation to the Festschrift Conference (Thomas Weisskopf Festschrift Conference Paper)
Thomas Weisskopf | 5/24/2013
Abstract:
Tom Weisskopf closed the September 30 - October 1, 2011 festshrift conference in his honor with a set of reflections on his career and the project of radical political economy more generally. Characteristically, these reflections are careful, insightful and generous to others, ranging both widely and deeply. He also subjects his own work to a significant level of self-criticism. He makes clear that his overarching purpose with these observations, and his work more generally, is to contribute toward building societies that are fundamentally more committed to equality, social justice and ecological sanity.

In this spirit, Weisskopf provides a set of proposals for “what is to be done” in the United States today, given current political and economic realities. To begin with, he states baldly that “we need to be realistic about what the world is like now and what can actually be accomplished in the foreseeable future.” He argues that “in the U.S. we are far from even a half-decent form of social-democratic capitalism....Things have gotten bad and they threaten to get much worse—while popular rage against the system that brought us the current economic crisis has been captured by the far Right, not the Left.” Weisskopf therefore concludes with the call that for “here and now, our most urgent task is to devote our teaching, our research and our activism to reversing this alarming trend.”

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