Apr 14 • 1HR 6M

Podcast: Compact Magazine and the Red-Brown Alliance

Eric Levitz on a curious attempt to bridge the divide between Marxists and the hard right

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Statue of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Berlin, Germany (Getty)

When Compact magazine launched in late March, it received an unusually prominent notice in The New York Times, which ran a long feature emphasizing the novel ideological fusion the magazine was attempting. The headline for the article read “Two Religious Conservatives and a Marxist Walk Into a Journal.” The religious conservatives are Matthew Schmitz and Sohrab Ahmari. The erstwhile Marxist is Edwin Aponte. Reporter Jennifer Schuessler took pains to underscore the ideological diversity within the journal: “The masthead of columnists and contributing editors mixes Catholic anti-liberals and dissident Marxist feminists, European radicals and American populists, with prominent figures (Glenn Greenwald, Patrick Deneen) alongside those who cut their teeth on upstart blogs and podcasts.”

So what is Compact? Is it a hodge-podge? Or are there some underlying principles uniting this disparate crew? To take up the issue, I spoke with Eric Levitz, who wrote a stringent critique of Compact for New York magazine. 

Our conversation delves into the wayward history of the crew behind Compact and earlier efforts at red-brown ideological alliances, including Murray Rothbard’s attempts to create a coalition of libertarians and Maoists in the journal Left and Right and Eugene Genovese’s Marxist Perspectives journal, which was an important stepping stone on his journey to the right.

(Post edited by Emily M. Keeler)

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