Jerome Karabel, an emeritus professor of sociology at the University of California at Berkeley, is the author of The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton (2005). He is currently at work on a book titled Outlier Nation: The Roots of American Distinctiveness and How It Shapes Us Today. (September 2019)

IN THE REVIEW

The Reasons Why

Why Is There No Socialism in the United States?

by Werner Sombart, translated by Patricia M. Hocking and C.T. Husbands
The American working class has never produced a genuinely mass-based political party of its own. In this it is different from the working class in every other advanced capitalist country. Yet there was a time when bitter struggles between American labor and capital—more acute than those in many European countries—seemed …

NYR DAILY

The Ghosts of Elaine, Arkansas, 1919

Frances Hall, one of the few victims of the massacre who can be identified by name, thanks to the journalists Robert Whitaker and Ida B. Wells, Elaine, Arksansas, October 1919

Given the magnitude of the Elaine Massacre, its absence from standard narratives in American history is striking. But it is important that we remember the Elaine Massacre today, for it encapsulates two fundamental and often interconnected problems that still plague America today: the vast disparities in wealth and power between black and white, and the enormous and growing inequalities between employer and worker. Far from being relics of a distant past, the two forces at the heart of the Elaine Massacre—white supremacy and a huge asymmetry in power between employers and workers—are very much alive.