This from a review by Beverly Gage of Michael Kazin’s book, American Dreamers: How the Left Changed a Nation:
The left is in crisis because its animating vision — of a world transformed through socialism — has all but collapsed. Kazin is right to note that not all leftists identified as Socialists or Communists, and not all have considered economics the central site of contest. But socialism was always the big idea that explained how issues like racial inequality, gender oppression and factory wages all fit together.
Exactly right. Socialism also played a crucial political role by mobilizing its followers into a counterforce against the dominant class. In its absence we are left with appeals to reason and morality: all well and good, but not enough if you think that power of the political-economic variety largely determines how the world works.