The American writer Jonathan Schell died last night, of cancer, in his home in Brooklyn. Although I doubt he would have put it this way or even thought of himself this way, he was a luminous, noble, bearer of an American civic-republican tradition that’s inherently cosmopolitan and embracing but that draws on deep wellsprings that he knew, like few others, how to plumb.
From his beginnings as a brave young Vietnam War correspondent for The New Yorker, and his meticulous yet sweeping case for nuclear disarmament in The Fate of the Earth, through his magisterial re-thinking of the both state power and people’s power in The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People, as well as in his wry but rigorous assessments of politics for The Nation, Jonathan poured the best of a distinctively American, progressive tradition – and, it seemed to me, of a WASP cultural sensibility, about which he was ambivalent and humorously self-deprecating – into the transracial, global civil society whose future is dimmed a bit by its loss of what would have been Jonathan’s continuing insight, magnanimity, and love.
… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.
It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.