Thursday, July 14, 2011

Brief observation

I've been re-reading writings by such authors as C. Wright Mills, Herbert Marcuse, and André Gorz recently. One thing that strikes me from reading them afresh is just how bad off the left was about a half century ago. Seems like the sorts of nonsense about "the end of ideology" and so on that I would often hear starting in the 1990s was commonplace in the 1950s and 1960s as well. One might argue that the current form of neoliberal capitalism is far more cancerous than what was in place in the mid 20th century, and that the socialist counterpoints to neoliberalism (e.g., in Venezuela and Bolivia) don't quite have the air of invulnerability yet that the Soviet bloc seemed to have at the start of my lifetime. And yet here we are, still questioning whether a "left" even still exists in the US and Europe. The more things change...

Anyhoo, I'm not sure whether to take comfort in that observation (the same authors were foundational for a New Left in the 1960s) or discouraged (since history seems to be rhyming again) or hopeful (there have certainly been stirrings in recent years in various parts of the world and even in the US). So much for tonight's half-asleep musings.

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