Talking Points: Kristen Ghodsee on Democratic Ideals and Global Rhetoric

Some of the ideals of the far left are ideals that many people still cherish—the end of exploitation, racial and ethnic equality, the emancipation of women, national self-determination, etc. Believing that workers should be paid more or that immigrants should be treated fairly does not mean condoning the secret police or the Gulag. Reducing all leftist ideals to Stalinism and calling anyone who questions the long-term sustainability or desirability of global capitalism a communist, I believe, is an intentional rhetorical strategy of the political and economic elite who have the most to lose from any challenge to the current status quo.

Kristen Ghodsee, Member (2006–07) in the School of Social Science and President of the Association of Members of the Institute for Advanced Study, in “The Left Side of History: World War II and Re-emergent Nationalisms in Contemporary Eastern Europe,” IAS Lecture, October 14, 2017,