Kevin B. Anderson

Professor of Sociology, Political Science, and Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara

[New York] The Return(s) of Socialist Humanism and the Need for an Alternative

Saturday, March 17, 2012 Panel at Left ForumNew York, March 17-18

Sunday March 18, 3:00 – 4:40 pm

Panel at Left Forum

New York

Although humanism was an important theme in Marx’s writings, in recent years radical thought has often rejected all forms of humanism, confusing socialist humanism with liberal or even conservative humanist narratives of individual agency in a Eurocentric context. This panel will explore varieties of socialist humanist thought, beginning with Marx’s own humanist writings and extending through later socialist humanist thinkers like Jean-Paul Sartre, Frantz Fanon, Erich Fromm, E. P. Thompson, Lucien Goldmann, Leo Kofler, and Raya Dunayevskaya. In so doing, we will look at the challenges to humanism that have emerged from movements of the Left and from structuralist and post-structuralist thinkers like Louis Althusser, Michel Foucault, Edward Said, and Antonio Negri, some of them connected to Maoism as well. We will also consider whether socialist humanism offers grounding for a contemporary radical politics that moves us beyond resistance and toward real human emancipation.


 Organizer: Kevin Anderson

 Chair: Eli Messinger, Brecht Forum


 Barbara Epstein, University of California, Santa Cruz

 Peter Hudis, Oakton Community College

 Kevin Anderson, University of California, Santa Barbara



Kevin Anderson teaches Sociology, Political Science, and Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has written on Marx, Hegel, the Frankfurt School, Foucault, and the Orientalism debate. His most recent books are Foucault and the Iranian Revolution (with Janet Afary, 2005) and Marx at the Margins (2010). He is a member of the U.S. Marxist-Humanists.

Barbara Epstein teaches at University of California, Santa Cruz in the History of Consciousness Department and writes on social movements; her most recent book is The Minsk Ghetto, 1941-1943: Jewish Resistance and Soviet Internationalism. She is currently working on a project on socialist humanism: its rise, decline, and continuing relevance for the left.

Peter Hudis is the author of Marx’s Concept of the Alternative to Capitalism (Brill) and General Editor of The Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg (Verso Books). He has published widely on Hegelian philosophy and Marxian social theory, and teaches philosophy at Loyola University Chicago and Oakton Community College. He is a member of the U.S. Marxist-Humanists.

Eli Messinger, a radical psychiatrist, worked for many years with the Brecht Forum.