Marcuse (was:Re: CIA/OSS/FBI Socialists)

Peter Kilander peterk at
Fri Mar 12 11:17:37 PST 1999

Jim Heartfield wrote:
>Given that the second world war was the period that saw the greatest
>expansion of US imperialism, I'm not sure that it is entirely excusable
>to work as a CIA agent.
>But more than that Marcuse went on to analyse SOVIET society on behalf
>of the CIA. Taught Russian by the OSS he was invaluable in the analysis
>of Soviet documents and intelligence reports. At one point in the
>correspondence he complains that he is under pressure to identify the
>Soviet Union with Fascism (a pressure some would say he conceded to).

This is news to me. I don't know much about Marcuse, though, other than he was very influential with the New Left in America.

After being impressed with Angela Davis' appearance on CSPAN, I checked out the Davis Reader which Blackwell just put out. From an interview in the book:

"... There is a story I like to tell about Marcuse's involvement in UCSD [University of California - San Diego] campus politics, which certainly informed my ideas on the role of the teacher and on the need to maintain a create tension between theory and praxis. Back in the late '60s, the emergent black student organization, in alliance with the Chicano student organization, decided to campaign to create a new college at UCSD, which we wanted to name the Lumumba-Zapata College. We envisioned it as a college which would admit one-third Chicano students, one-third black students, and one-third working-class white students. We had it all worked out! Or at least we thought we did. At one point in a rather protracted campaign, we decided to occupy the registrar's office. I said I would ask Herbert about his possible participation in the takeover. I explained to him that we would have to break a window in order to gain entrance. In other words, we risked being charged with breaking and entering and trespassing. If he were the first person to enter the building, we were less likely to be arrested and/or expelled from the university. Without a moment's hesitation, Herbert agreed: "Of course I'll do it." There was no question in his mind. At that time he was about seventy-five years old. He was the first person to walk into the registrar's office. Our work acquired a legitimacy that would have been impossible without his participation. In the classroom and through his writings and lectures, Marcuse defended the radical activism of the late '60s. The emergence of an international student movement, the social movements of people of color, the rise of feminist activism brought a new, more optimistic dimension to Marcuse's ideas. The seduction of the "one-dimensional society" could be resisted. He not only theorized these developments, but actively participated in mobilizations both in the United States and Europe...."

And then Davis joined the CPUSA?


More information about the lbo-talk mailing list