Left and Right

The Need for a New, New, New Left

What Nicky describes here is a perfect summary of what is wrong with today’s “Left.” ATS was created in part to challenge the hegemony of what might be called the “anti-iconoclastic left.” Most of today’s “leftists” are actually late 19th century/early 20th century progressives, only they have done an about-face on race and gay rights. Otherwise, they have a lot more in common with Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson than with Eugene Debs and Emma Goldman.

By Nicky Reid

I’ve come to see that the primary difference between myself and the modern left is modernity itself. I come from a school of the New Left where iconoclastic thinkers like Paul Goodman, Ivan Illich, Michel Foucault, Jacques Ellul and Herbert Marcuse questioned the validity of civilization itself and challenged all of its authoritarian structures- prisons, schools, psychiatry, gender, sexuality. Sadly, this tradition seems to be dead even on the far left. Only radical libertarians and third positionists seem to be asking these questions anymore. The left has fallen into a coma of reaction that I fear they’ll never wake from. But I’ll keep lighting matches beneath their feet just in case.

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  1. Alas, Foucault, long decades rather a conservative working for De Gaulle governments did not really ” questioned the validity of civilization itself and challenged all of its authoritarian structures”. Did it ever occured to you how – in Europe – 30 years of intellectual monotony in nearly all debates did never end capitalism, but led to a far more market-radical capitalism where tens of thousands of intellectuals of all diversities see Foucault and others (just not Marcuse, Ivan Illich and many more) as GOD? Upper middle class people you rightfully condemn in a lot of your articles, all followers of Michel Foucault?
    Our fucked up societies adore his works, every library is filled with them (but you had hard times finding 1 Marcuse or Illich today, or Rosa Luxemburg). You can easily be a center Democrat and so much more, gentrification-hipsters with narcissistic “poly-local life styles having lofts in New York, Berlin and Shanghai” – and adore what all hipsters adore. In the midst of this crappy societies…

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