Winners’ Roster

2001: “the best essay…that augments the theses put forth in Daniel’s book Whose Millennium? Theirs or Ours?” was “Anti-Capitalism and the Terrain of Social Justice,” by SAM GINDIN, who holds the Packer Chair in Social Justice in the Department of Political Sciences at York University, Toronto, Ontario.

2002: STAUGHTON LYND, a longtime labor activist, won for “Students and Workers in the Transition to Socialism.”

There was no winner in 2003.

2004: ANDREW BLACKMAN, a financial journalist based in New York City, won for “What Is the Soul of Socialism?” (the question posed by the foundation for that year’s competition).

2005: The foundation’s question: “In the struggle for socialism, what should be done to attain and sustain equality and justice? What should we mean by equality and justice?” was answered most convincingly by DANIEL FINN, a journalism student at Dublin City University, in “Sustaining Equality and Justice in the Struggle for Socialism.”

There was no winner in 2006. (The foundation asked: “Given poverty, environmental degeneration, religious fanaticism, racism and imperialism, can civilization ruled by Capital survive? What are the alternatives?”)

2007. The question: “What major breakthrough in socialist theory is necessary in order to move the practical struggle forward?” The winning essay: “The Eco-Socialist Challenge,” by ARTHUR MITZMAN, Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and author, most recently, of Prometheus Revisited: The Quest for Global Justice in the Twenty-First Century (University of Massachusetts Press, 2003).

2008: “What recent event or political process that you have participated in, witnessed or studied has given you inspiration and confidence that ‘a better world is possible’ and why do you think the fight for a better world will succeed?” The prize was shared by two winners, MARGARET MORGANROTH GULLETTE, Resident Scholar at the Women’s Study Research Center, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts, for “The Contagion of Euphoria”; and HUGO RADICE, Life Fellow in Politics and International Study at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, for “1968 and the Idea of Socialism.”

2009: “The global economic crisis has revealed capitalism’s inability to meet the needs of the vast majority of the world’s population. Given the experience of the last century, how can a case for socialism be made?” The winner was SALVADOR AGUILAR SOLE, professor of sociology at the University of Barcelona, Spain, for “Socialism in the 21st Century World: What to Learn from Failed Past Experiences.”

2010: “Given the devastating effects of the present crisis on working people, what proposals for radical reform can be raised which are both practical to the vast majority while moving us towards the goal of socialism?” The winner was SHEILA COHEN, a trade union activist, educator and researcher, for “Starting All Over from Scratch? A Plea for ‘Radical Reform’ of Our Own Movement.” In the 1980s Cohen carried out research into workplace trade union democracy, and in 1988 became coordinator of the then Socialist Movement Trade Union Committee. From 1990 to 1995 she edited and distributed the rank-and-file activists' newsletter Trade Union News, and organized a number of conferences and day schools with trade union activists until 1997, when she moved to the US as part of her involvement with the Labor Notes project. In 2006, her book Ramparts of Resistance: Why Workers Lost Their Power and How to Get It Back was published by Pluto Press, and she is also the author of numerous pamphlets and published articles in the field of trade unionism. She is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the Work and Research Unit (WERU), University of Hertfordshire, where she has taught on related topics since returning to the UK in 2006.

2011: “In some Western countries, right-wing populism has been able to channel much of the anger caused by the financial crisis and its effect. Why has the Left been marginalized? How can this be overcome?” The winner was RICHARD SWIFT of Toronto, for “Preparing the Ground.” Swift is a former co-editor of The New Internationalist and the author of The No-Nonsense Guide to Democracy (New Internationalist, 2010) and Gangs: A Groundwork Guide (Groundwood Books, 2011).

There was no winner in 2012. (The foundation asked: “From Tahrir and Syntagma Squares to the Indignados and the ‘99%’ movement, 2011 saw people in the streets challenging the monopoly of political, economic and financial power by elite minorities. What, if anything, is new about these movements and can they fundamentally change the status quo?”)

2013: JAMES KILGORE won for “On Returning to Where the Heart Is.” Kilgore lived in South Africa from 1991–02 as a fugitive from US justice and working as an educator and researcher for unions and social movements. In 2002 he was arrested on the streets of Cape Town, then extradited to the United States, where he served six and a half years in prison. In July 2012 he returned to South Africa for the first time since his arrest, and his essay presents his recollections on that journey. Kilgore is the author of three novels, all drafted while he was incarcerated. He currently is a research scholar at the Center for African Studies at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign).

There was no winner in 2014 or 2015.

2016: There were two winners: SARAH LEONARD, for “My Generation’s Best Chance Is Socialism” which appeared first in The Nation; and GLENN GREENWALD, for two articles from The Intercept, “Democrats, Trump, and the Ongoing, Dangerous Refusal to Learn the Lesson of Brexit” and “Brexit Is Only the Latest Proof of the Insularity and Failure of Western Establishment Institutions.” The essays were discussed at a well-attended and lively foundation-sponsored panel on June 4 at New York City's Left Forum Conference, where Leonard elaborated on her work and a written statement sent by Greenwald (who could not attend) was read..

2017: CEDRIC JOHNSON, Associate Professor of African American Studies & Political Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago, won for “The Panthers Can’t Save Us Now: Anti-Policing Struggles & the Limits of Black Power.” Johnson argues that contemporary mass-incarceration policies aim more at managing generalized social inequality rather than simply targeting the black urban poor, and note the political limitations of black exceptionalism. His essay echoes the spirit of Daniel Singer’s work, specifically the need to cultivate a politics of solidarity based on the common interests of the great majority to confront the neoliberal order whose marginalization of sections of the populace has intensified its need for repression.