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Issue 1, Fall 2023

Building Big Things

Our first print issue is out now. Subscribe today for digital access and new issues, or order a print copy of the back issue.

This inaugural print issue of Damage is about building big things. Our belief is that a Left that does not imagine and aim at building big things—structures, infrastructure, organizations, capacities—is not just a misguided one but also a pernicious one. Historically the Left has promised “more” and “better,” but today, whether out of an awareness of worsening climate change or the intransigence of our current political structures, many have retreated from grand designs and settled on managing expectations or worse. A Left that limits itself to the local, takes the coordinates of the present service economy as a given, or calls for a “degrowth” that’s easily mistaken for deeper deindustrialization is not just a politically impotent Left; it’s also a deeply annoying one, and a subcultural phenomenon that is an active impediment to mass politics.

It’s time to dream big again.

Here’s what’s in our first issue...

Brick Red

Amber A’Lee Frost
While Democrats and Republicans have cynically joined forces for a meager “build back better,” the Left mostly fantasizes about tearing it all down.

Build Stuff and Make Things

Dustin Guastella
To fix what deindustrialization broke, manufacturing still matters—don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

A Great Satan in This Grave

Sam Kriss
Why is Saudi Arabia, possibly the worst and most repressive country in the world, also the only place still keeping the modernist ethos alive?

Half-Assing Belt & Road

Kevin Zhang
The Belt and Road Initiative was pitched by Xi Jinping as “the project of the century.” Ten years in, it has hardly lived up to the hype. What happened?

Size Queen Nation

Christie Offenbacher & Ben Fife
The industry for “penis enhancement” is booming. But what are those pills, pumps, and implants really meant to address?

The Utopia We Deserve

Anton Jäger
The anti-utopian utopianism of the early- to mid-twentieth century eschewed flights of fancy for concrete world-building. Now we are stuck between a dystopianism that promises an end and a utopianism that does the same.