Author: Paul Berman

  • Stop the G.O.P.! The Rise of the Counter-Constitution

    1987 Village Voice article about the Republican party's unconstitutional gambits throughout modern history

    I’VE BEEN WATCHING THE HOUSE Foreign Affairs hearings on television and am struck with the much­ remarked Yogi Berra sense of “déja vu all over again.” For it’s not just that current happenings bring to mind the televised Watergate spec­taculars. Dimly I recall from earlier eons, as an infant sprawled at my mother’s feet, watching yet […]

  • Emma Goldman Is Alive and Well and Making Trouble on the Lower East Side

    Emma said it in 1910/Now we’re gonna say it again! —Protest marchers on Fifth Avenue, 1970 A certain kind of career is well known among American intellectuals. An eager young person joins the Socialist Something-­or-other movement and spends several fer­vent years in its ranks. He develops literary and analytic skills. And after a while the […]

  • Revolution in D Minor: How the Czech Philharmonic Toppled Communism

    Revolution in D Minor: How the Czech Philharmonic Toppled Communism June 19, 1990 On December 14, 1989, the leading sym­phony orchestra of Czechoslovakia, the Czech Philharmonic, gave a concert at Smetana Hall in Prague. It was probably the most famous concert in the history of that country. The orchestra played Beetho­ven’s Ninth Symphony. Václav Neumann, […]

  • Was Walt Whitman Christ?

    Whitmaniacs at Large The big embarrassment of Walt Whit­man’s later years was not his poverty (groups of writers in England and America had to take up a collection) but the cult that arose around him. Ardent followers celebrated him as Messiah, Christ, maybe a god. Some of these followers were individuals of genuine distinction, not […]

  • John Reed and the Greenwich Village Revolutionaries

    To Russia With Love February 1982 1. High spirits — that is what stands out from the Greenwich Village renaissance. Reds captures some of this by showing bohemian leftists yapping energetically at the lunch table and dancing to victrolas in dingy apartments. These scenes get the idea across, but I wish Warren Beatty had also […]