For at least a century, leftwing activists, thinkers, and writers of every variety have been trying to connect the skeins of activity by the left across continents and varied populations. For at least a half-century, scholars have set themselves to explore those connections by conducting economic, political, ethnographic, and linguistic research. In Arise!: Global Radicalism in the Era of the Mexican Revolution (University of California Press), Christina Heatherton offers--in our troubled world with so many defeats for the left and popular movements--a vindication of sorts. Things come together from time to time and in many special places.

One of those places is Mexico, from the 1910s to the 1930s. That this is a "global place" of the left is news that reached the world of political research rather slowly, in bits and pieces, rather than something resembling a unified whole. Many world travelers, caught up in the excitement of the Russian Revolution, arrive and leave, by necessity or by choice. Some are on their way to great adventures, some are winding down, and some--mostly Mexicans -- draw upon the currents to create something fresh, Mexican, and global.

But perhaps it helps a little to explain, as Heatherton does, that the Mexican Revolution arrives after a century of intensive invasions--notably from the United States and France -- and the equally horrifying abuse of Indigenous populations by Mexican leaders to create a modern, industrial society.

The events in Russia in 1917, the vision offered by Vladimir Lenin of global emancipation, naturally strikes home in the more developed parts of the Global South. More anarchist than socialist, more peasant-based than proletarian, the Mexican left was unsuited in some ways for the elaborate forms of political socialism in the European movements. But it was, partly for that reason, open to experiments and artistic projects in ways beyond European (and North American) perception.

Thus we can travel, in these pages, from anarchist martyr Ricardo Flores Magon, who dies from mistreatment in prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, to visiting Russian feminist and communist Alexandra Kollontai, to Los Angelena Dorothy Healey, and fine artist Elizabeth Catlett, who see resistance and rebellion from the outside, but also, as collaborators with Mexican activists and artists, from the inside as well. It is a grand sweep, richer in details than this reviewer can easily convey.

Paul Buhle, a historian of the left, is co-editor of !Brigadistas! a graphic novel on the Spanish Civil War and the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, drawn by Anne Timmons.


In The Storm Is Here: An American Crucible (Penguin Press), New Yorker war correspondent Luke Mogelson comes back from covering Afghanistan and Syria to follow homegrown militias as they foment unrest in Michigan during the pandemic. Then he journeys to Minnesota, to the protests and violent backlash against Black Lives Matter demonstrators after the police murder of George Floyd.

With a war reporter's instinct, Mogelson puts himself in the middle of every significant U.S. conflict of the last several years, from the face-off between the Boogaloo Bois and Antifa in Portland, Oregon, to the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when he stands on the Senate floor among a handful of looters as Capitol police politely encourage the mob to leave.

Mogelson documents our country's dangerous descent into chaos and violence as rightwing conspiracy theory moves from the margins to the mainstream of Republican politics.

Official complicity with the pro-Trump mob is an accelerator of that downward trajectory, he suggests.

There's no question which side Mogelson is on. Unlike civil wars in other countries, where the cause of grievance is clear, "Were large-scale violence to erupt in the United States," he writes, "it would be something different: a war fueled not by injury but by delusion."

Mogelson spends some time on the unhelpfulness of white Antifa activists who turn to property destruction to the dismay of peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters. But he also expresses appreciation for young antifascists who take the threat posed by rightwing extremists seriously, comparing them to European antifascists during the Second World War, whose motto was "They shall not pass."

He describes Proud Boys running through the streets of Washington, D.C., ready to commit mayhem, who round a corner and are brought up short by a group of antifascists. "A few dozen Americans dared or bothered to square off against the Patriots as they ran roughshod over Washington, D.C.," he writes. "On L Street, though, that was enough. They did not pass."

Ruth Conniff is editor-at-large for The Progressive and editor-in-chief of the state news website, the Wisconsin Examiner. Her book, Milked: How an American Crisis Brought Together Midwestern Dairy Farmers and Mexican Workers, was published by The New Press in July 2022.


In 1933, long before President Donald J. Trump provoked a...

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