Back in June 2015, at a book talk at a New York City public library, an audience member had asked me about Sirley Avila, the first time I'd ever heard her name. She had been attacked on May 24. I'd tried to find out more, but reliable information from Cuba is not easy to obtain. Now, less than one year later, here she was, sitting with me.
Irving Howe co-founded Dissent in 1954 with sociologist Lewis Coser and edited it until his death in 1993. ("When intellectuals can do nothing else, they start a magazine," Howe quipped in the first issue). The magazine, which has always identified itself with democratic socialism and independent radicalism, began and remains a forum for tough-minded political analysis and debate.