Why subscribe?

Some Substack readers may recognize my name from the new defunct Truthdig and from CounterPunch, where most of my writing has appeared since late 2015, or, before that, ZNet, Z Magazine, Black Agenda Report, and TeleSur English. Please see my bio for a breakdown of my past and ongoing employments, titles, and publications, including ten books since 2004. 

I have been writing on current events from a revolutionary Marxist standpoint for a quarter century. It’s a perspective deeply informed by History, the field in which I hold a doctorate have taught on and off since the mid-1990s.  It is geared not to intellectual understanding alone but to such understanding aligned with grassroots social and political activism striving to revolutionize history.  


Changing the world in a desirable way to me means grasping and acting on past and present in ways that bring us beyond the interrelated structures, institutions and ideologies of class rule, racism, sexism, nationalism, and empire. I believe this more than ever today, when the evidence is clear that capitalism-imperialism – a world system headquartered in the United States since the end of World War II – is bringing humanity to the precipice of environmental self-annihilation and tilting nations towards fascist and other forms of authoritarian rule.  

The parameters of acceptable debate have dangerously narrowed over the long neoliberal capitalist era. This includes the ever more dominant electronic media, which is “in the hands of a half dozen corporations that,” as Chris Hedges writes, “impose a uniformity of opinion and ban the views of us who decry the crimes of empire, the permanent war economy, the apartheid state of Israel, our money saturated political process and social inequality.”

Substack provides me an opportunity to retain my independence and do the investigative, reflective, and activism-oriented reporting and commentary to which I am committed. My Substack will provide an alternative space for radical and revolutionary consideration of current events, their historical origins and meaning, and what is to be done to build a decent and beautiful future for human and other sentient beings beyond the oppressive, authoritarian and eco-ecocidal dictates of class rule, empire, and inequality.

What you will get - and a note on why to become a paid subscriber even when stuff is free:

Subscribers will receive a weekly longer-form Thursday essay (typically 2500-to 3000 words) and a weekly shorter (usually) Monday commentary. Both are free. After these two core publications are established, I expect to progressively add some content that will be available only for paid subscibers: a weekly 5- to 10-minute audio commentary; a form of “office hours,” when I will be available for regular chats with paid subscribers; and, a podcast.

I want and need paid subscribers independent of what’s made available to paid and non-paid folk. I personally dislike paywalls as a reader and a researcher. But the unavoidable search for financial support is definitely part of my presence here alongside the excellent and highly accessible venue and the large number of quality writers featured at Substack.

Let me be candid: the “liberal” and “progresive” academic and media labor and product markets are brutally unfriendly towards writers and speakers as radical, indeed revolutionary, as me (this especially includes the “public” broadcasting system, by the way). I say this as someonone with abundant life and career experience within the regining liberal institutional complex (please see my bio and my introductory essay).

This enmity to radicals is the logical outcome of that complex’s cringing subordination to and immersion within the broader corporate, financial, and imperial system. Stepping outside the dominant system comes with a very literal price: a chronic shortage of the money and benefits required to survive, much less “thrive,” in capitalist Amerika.

Please consider supporting me not simply in order to access specific content but to help me keeping going as a radical writer, author, speaker, and activist.

What critics say:

·       “Paul Street’s courageous truth-telling,” Dr. Cornel West has written, “is the pre-condition for a massive radical democratic movement.”

·       Reviewing my 2014 book They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy, the prolific educational theorist and political commentator Henry Giroux writes: “They Rule is a brilliant analysis of how power works under neoliberal capitalism. It uncovers the multiple layers of repression and its machineries of economic and social death in the US and at the same time provides a discourse of resistance, hope, and possibility. If you are interested in what it means to understand not only the workings of totalitarianism, but the possibility of a radical democracy, this is the one book you should read immediately.”

·       Dr. West on my writing on the neoliberal and imperial Obama phenomenon and presidency: “Paul Street is the most acute observer and insightful analyst of the 'Obama Phenomena.' This book gets beneath the political smoke and mirrors to reveal the pervasive rule of big money that drives the American Empire and global capitalist economy.”

·       John Pilger on my 2008 book Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics: “All those interested in truth rather than seduction should read urgently this wise book by Paul Street, who peels away the mask of the ‘Obama phenomenon’ and reveals power as it is, not as many of us wish it to be. Perhaps the only book that tells the truth about the 44th president of the United States.” 

·       Noam Chomsky on Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics: “Street’s lucid and penetrating book situates it firmly within the ‘corporate-dominated and militaristic U.S. elections system and political culture,’ explores in depth its substantive content and its limits and draws valuable lessons about how these might be transcended in the unending struggle to achieve a more just and free society and a peaceful world. It is a very welcome contribution in complex and troubled times.”

·       Political scientist Anthony DiMaggio on my 2021 book This Happened Here: Amerikaners, Neoliberals, and the Trumping of America: "As the left’s foremost political historian today, Paul Street has been ringing the alarm bell against the rising threat of American fascism for years. His work is sorely needed in a time of mass denialism, when tens of millions of Americans have convinced themselves that fascism can never 'happen here.’”

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Radical reflections on past and present


Paul Street 

Revolutionary historian, journalist, speaker, and author of nine books including They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (2014), and This Happened Here: Amerikaners, Neoliberals, and the Trumping of America (2021).