The Old Left Wasn’t Very Leftist 1

By Paul Gottfried

Chronicles

While researching a book on antifascism, it became clear to me that the contemporary left has strange ideas about what earlier leftists believed. This is especially true in the ascription of a certain timelessness to intersectional politics, which today’s antifascists are all about. In How Fascism Works by Yale Philosophy Professor Jason Stanley, and in Mark Bray’s Antifa: The Antifascist Handbook, one learns, or so it appears, that the left has always been fighting for the same ideas.

Among these permanent ideals is feminism, which Jason Stanley stresses as foundational for any true leftist identity. According to Stanley, “fascist opposition to gender studies in particular flows from its patriarchal ideology. National Socialism targeted women’s movements and feminism in general.” Moreover, according to Stanley, the right, including the American isolationist right of the 1930s, has spared no venom attacking “the acceptance of homosexuality together with its supposedly attendant sin of ‘degeneracy.’”

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One comment

  1. A truly fascinating article.
    One of the characteristics of dealing with the Internet is that it doesn’t contain a lot of material that pre-dates 1995. Sure, “the Internet” as a technology goes back to 1975, or even a bit earlier, but the WorldWideWeb (WWW) and html only date from about 1990. And, search engines tend to be limited to about 1995 and later.

    Google had a project, a few years ago, to digitize books. Are they intending to do the same for magazines and newspapers? A lot of this material needs to become available to the public, to learn who actually did what, or at least learn what material made it into the communications media of that day.

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