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Digital Subscriptions > Boston Review > Left Elsewhere > Don’t Blame Capitalism

Don’t Blame Capitalism

ELIZABETH CATTE’S ESSAY on the left-wing tradition in Appalachia is not so much a political argument as a beautifully written reflection on an important cultural tradition of dissent. She is part of a trend of thinkers and organizers who have come to reject capitalism per se as an immoral system that must be overthrown.

I believe in market systems and commerce. But I get why a large chunk of younger people think capitalism is bad. Most have never seen anything but crappy political economy policy organized by hypocrites and bureaucrats. If you are in your twenties and thirties, every political leader and op-ed writer and labor organizer and academic you have heard has told you that Obamacare—with its nightmarish copays and coinsurance and weird extractive bureaucracy—is the best you can get.

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About Boston Review

“Rural spaces,” writes Elizabeth Catte, author of What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia, “are often thought of as places absent of things, from people of color to modern amenities to radical politics. The truth, as usual, is more complicated.” With activists, historians, and political scientists as guides, Left Elsewhere explores the radical politics of rural America—its past, its priorities, and its moral commitments—that mainstream progressives overlook. This volume shows how these communities are fighting, and winning, some of the left’s biggest battles. From novel health care initiatives in the face of the opioid crisis to living wages for teachers, these struggles do not fall neatly into the “puny language,” as Rev. William Barber says, of Democrat or Republican. Instead they help us rethink the rural–urban opposition at the heart of U.S. politics. The future of the left, this collection argues, could be found elsewhere. With contributions from William J. Barber II, Lesly-Marie Buer, Elizabeth Catte, Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson, Nancy Isenberg, Elaine C. Kamarck, Michael Kazin, Toussaint Losier, Robin McDowell, Bob Moser, Hugh Ryan, Matt Stoller, Ruy Teixeira, Makani Themba, and Jessica Wilkerson.