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Why You Should Be a Socialist

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  109 ratings  ·  21 reviews
A primer on Democratic Socialism for those who are extremely skeptical of it.

America is witnessing the rise of a new generation of socialist activists. More young people support socialism now than at any time since the labor movement of the 1920s. The Democratic Socialists of America, a big-tent leftist organization, has just surpassed 50,000 members nationwide. In the
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published December 10th 2019 by All Points Books
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Ryan Boissonneault
Dec 19, 2019 rated it liked it
I’ll admit that there was some uncertainty before reading the book as to whether I might call myself a socialist or not. I have not traditionally labeled myself as such, although I support left-leaning candidates like Bernie Sanders and generally subscribe to liberal policies.

It’s true, as Robinson points out, that it is only the left that seems to have any solutions. When you’re ideologically wedded to the market—as the right is—and it is the market that is creating the problems in the first
Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin
This book is for your intelligent friend who is turned off by politics and doesn't spend a whole lot of time on it. It is a primer for them on why the left is best. It explains why Socialism or at least social democracy is the way things should go and gives common-sense reasons why liberalism is inferior and conservatism is even worse. It argues for a Democratic Socialism probably Fabian (explained in the book for examples one can think of Beatrix Potter and Bertrand Russell or Oscar Wilde). It ...more
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book should have been titled Why You Should Be an Eccentric Social Democrat. Nathan Robinson does a good job of gently convincing the reader to leave behind the worst of American liberalism. Unfortunately, the book has fundamental shortcomings: it’s ideologically closer to social democracy than actual socialism, uses terminology in confusing ways, leaves out large swaths of important anti-capitalist analysis, and reduces socialism to a kind of moralizing philosophy rather than a movement ...more
Dec 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: junk
Never mind the Gulag, they never understood Socialism well. Robinson promises the Heaven on Earth, probably after you die, but it's for a good cause, right?
David Scheckel
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Good! Not too much in here that I didn't already know or thought already but it's clearly aimed at skeptics. Nathan's optimism is really motivating.
Henry Silver
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this particular publication and equally his other writings, I find Nathan Robinson an eloquent and erudite exponent of the socialist tradition and worldview, applied both to history and to contemporary conditions.
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
I love Nathan Robinson, I am even subscribed to his magazine, but this book is frankly just embarrassing.

The CORE of a good introduction to socialist politics is in here. Nathan uses some of the same basic arguments and explanations that managed to turn me into a fellow traveler, if not quite a "socialist" yet. (I used to be a generally apolitical/soft libertarian sort of guy.) But this decent core is surrounded by unnecessary cruft. The introduction made me cringe, even ignoring the unfortunate
Cristie Underwood
Oct 08, 2019 marked it as kindle
This is a great resource for anyone that has questions about socialism and the impact it has. So many people have a negative view and don’t know much about it. The author really broke down the benefits of socialism in easy to understand language. Highly recommend!
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It’s very refreshing and important that this book is published, especially in a time when we have democratic socialist candidate, Bernie Sanders, building a movement for progressive change in this country and using his platform to take the Democratic party in the direction is should be going in support of the working class.

Nathan Robinson is a very astute and well read writer, critic, and socialist who not only explains the various, often competing views of socialism, but he also makes very
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wish I could give everyone I know a copy of this, whether committed socialist, skeptic, or on the fence. Nathan Robinson is easily one of my favorite writers out there. His argument in this book is directed more towards skeptics or those with questions, but I would equally recommend it for those already converted to socialism, in order to help strengthen your own arguments and know how to challenge skeptics around you. The book covers just about every argument out there that tries to discredit ...more
Gjc Gj
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Socialism, more like Communism, and that's what i'm talkin' about. Lenin shall rise again.

Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is thorough, clear, and full of passion. I appreciate Robinson's precision -- he's not invested in the latest twitter squabble or cable news showdown -- instead, he is deeply invested in the on-the-ground experience of contemporary injustice. The book, therefore, focuses on a focused examination of the overwhelming reality that fear, suffering, and toil are so unequally distributed in our society, and why that should be morally unacceptable. Robinson combined an astute assessment of ...more
Jack Tomascak
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Robinson at-length is not nearly as tendentious as people make him out to be, though the last few chapters do get a bit dense. Overall a fine resource for onboarding people to left causes in a current context. Buy The Chapo Guide to Revolution: A Manifesto Against Logic, Facts, and Reason for your Gen-X/millenial Jon Stewart worshipping friends who think Mayor Pete's a cool guy, buy this for the boomers who don't even know where to begin.
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Nathan J Robinson explained socialism in a way I've never heard. Surprised to learn some prominent people, such as Helen Keller and George Orwell, also believed socialism was the best way to operate society. The book has extensive research behind it and I noted several of the end notes for further reading. Only drawback for me was the very end. A bit of a downer...but only, I suppose, if you believe in Intelligent Design. Robinson makes a clear case for true democratic socialism's superior moral ...more
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
part II (chapters 4-9) is an elegantly laid out argument. you might just want to skip to this section. his rhetorical strategy is refreshing.

this book is more about a general moral/political orientation in one's goals. less a specific advocacy for specific policies based on annual grain yields etc.

not sure who this book is for. but i hope it finds its audience.

for baby leftists, "appendix: a left media diet" is a helfpul list
Steve Nolan
Dec 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Sorta is too, "Current Affairs"-y at points - I get it, you wanna be exhaustive but sometimes that ends up being exhausting.

Overall, might be pretty good for a non -commie like me as an intro, but also might be too in-depth on certain things for a true newbie. I guess I'll see what my apolitical mom thinks! Merry Christmas, ma! Here's a book.
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
An interesting and well written book, with clear explanations and examples.
I liked the style of writing and appreciated the author's ideas.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
Winston Plum
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Spectacular. Moral. Succinct. Now.
I accidentally requested this book from NetGalley, so I gave it a chance. I agreed with all that I read, but the author’s tone was so snarky that I could not continue reading.
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reviewing this for a forthcoming issue of Bookforum.
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Socialism is back in vogue in a country that has long suppressed any tendencies towards meaningful economic justice. Nathan Robinson diagnoses a wide array of social ills, attempts to define socialism, and explains why it offers the best solutions to those ills. I say "attempts" because defining any concept as meaty as socialism is sure to miss something and anger someone. Instead of saying that socialism is X, Robinson defines it as a set of principles that should be deferred to when building ...more
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