RIP: Andy Levine, a Political Philosopher for Our Time

I was shocked to learn this morning of the death my friend and longtime contributor to CounterPunch, Andy Levine. Andy was only 76 and had enough fire in his pen for another 10 years of political invective. Andy was a political philosopher with an agile and original mind. His first two books were on Rousseau and they were, unlike much political theory, immanently readable, even as they digested some thorny and now archaic concepts. I kept bugging him to return to Rousseau and the essay on inequality, but that was in the rearview mirror and he wasn’t one to look back.

Andy wrote long, roving pieces (too long for many readers trained on tweets) that dug into issues, turning them upside down and inside out. Like many of us, he’d gotten bored with writing about Trump after about 6 months. What was there new to say about the bastard? With Biden in power, Andy was back in his element. He wrote trenchantly about the Democrats, dissecting their internal tensions, hypocrisies and contradictions. These last few months his writing was getting sharper and sharper.

That said, it’s the loss of Andy as a friend that really hurts, especially coming so soon after the death of Jim Ridgeway. The last time I saw Andy we walked the rooms of the Phillips Gallery, the great little museum off of DuPont Circle, then ate a lingering lunch at a French bistro nearby, where we talked about his memories of the radical circle of political philosophers and historians at Madison and most enjoyably about our shared affection for the Chesapeake Bay and our dogs, whose demands tended to dictate both of our writing schedules.

As far as we can tell, Andy spent the day writing at his computer, sat down in his recliner next to his springer spaniel, Jesse, and died peacefully, though with a measure of rage still left in his heart…

Well done, Andy.

If you don’t know Andy’s writing, here’s an archive of the last decade’s worth…

 

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His most recent books are Bernie and the Sandernistas: Field Notes From a Failed Revolution and The Big Heat: Earth on the Brink (with Joshua Frank) He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net or on Twitter @JeffreyStClair3