Until We Fall: Long Distance Life on the Left (Paperback)

Until We Fall: Long Distance Life on the Left By Helena Sheehan Cover Image
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Offers vivid first hand accounts of encounters with fellow socialists following the fall of the Soviet Union

Most westerners glimpsed the breakup of the Soviet Union at a great distance, through a highly distorted lens which equated the expansion of capitalism with the rise of global democracy. But there were those, like Helena Sheehan, who watched more keenly and saw a world turning upside down. In her new autobiographical history from below, Until We Fall, Sheehan shares what she witnessed first-hand and close-up, as hopes were raised by glasnost and perestroika, only to be swept away in the bitter and brutal counterrevolutions that followed.

In Until We Fall, we come along on Sheehan's travels as she tracks the fallout from the transition from flawed forms of socialism to a particularly predatory form of capitalism. As a sequel to Navigating the Zeitgeist -- which captured 1950s cold-war America, the 1960s new left, the 1970s social movements and communist parties of Europe -- Until We Fall takes us through Eastern Europe from the 1980s onward and moves on to offer vivid accounts of encounters with fellow socialists in many other places, such as Britain, Greece, and Mexico. It includes an entire chapter on South Africa, where Sheehan participated in its political and intellectual life for extended intervals of the post-apartheid period. And it offers her unique take on her birthplace, the United States, along with the unfolding realities confronting her chosen home, Ireland. She also reveals major changes in the culture of academe in the decades she has taught in universities.

As a philosopher, she scrutinizes the various intellectual currents prevailing, particularly positivism and postmodernism, and makes a persuasive case for the explanatory and ethical superiority of Marxism. As she moves through time and space, Sheehan pursues the perspectives of the vanquished in a world where the triumphalist narratives of the victors hold sway. The central storyline of the book is her political activism as waves of history swept through the left and challenged it in ever more formidable ways, bringing some victories but many defeats. She raises questions of how to keep going in this time of monsters, when the old is dying and the new cannot be born, when capitalism is decadent yet still dominant.


Product Details
ISBN: 9781685900274
ISBN-10: 1685900275
Publisher: Monthly Review Press
Publication Date: November 1st, 2023
Pages: 357
Language: English