Jimmy Weinstein, who died June 16 at 78, did more than his share of marching and speaking for causes he believed in. But his most consistent and important agitation was with a typewriter (and later a computer) as the author of such well-received history texts as The Decline of Socialism in America: 1912-25 (1967), The Corporate Ideal in the Liberal State: 1900-18 (1968) and Ambiguous Legacy: The Left in American Politics (1974); as the editor of the scholarly journal Studies on the Left; and, finally, for a quarter-century as the publisher and driving force behind In These Times. He founded ITT in 1976, two years before Victor Navasky and Hamilton Fish took over at The Nation as editor and publisher, respectively; this was around the time that two other left-wing weeklies were sprouting (both now defunct). Rather than competing, all these magazines cheered one another on, and Jimmy strongly believed that the fortunes of ITT depended on the fortunes of all of the left. It is heartening that the magazine he built lives on. He was always staunch in his defense of socialist values, but he never followed anyone’s line except his own. A self-described “Groucho Marxist,” he was one of the American left’s least dogmatic–and most optimistic–thinkers. Jimmy never gave up talking about a “more humane society,” and, in his final book, The Long Detour: The History and Future of the American Left, he preached it could be achieved “if not [by] a movement that calls itself socialist then [by] one embodying the underlying principles that gave the old American movement its impetus.”
NATION WRITERS’ FILM FEST
A new documentary, Dangerous Living: Coming Out in the Developing World, is now available on DVD. The film was directed by John Scagliotti, a Nation contributor who created PBS’s In the Life, America’s first gay/lesbian TV show, and produced the award-winning documentaries Before Stonewall and After Stonewall. • On July 1 the thirty-fifth anniversary of the legalization of abortion in New York (making it one of the few states where safe abortions were available before Roe v. Wade), there will be a screening of a documentary by Jennifer Baumgardner and Gillian Aldrich, Speak Out: I Had an Abortion, in New York City at The Pioneer Theater, 155 East 3rd Street, at 7 pm; (212) 591-0434. The film features interviews with eleven women who had abortions without feeling guilt or regret.