[lbo-talk] Platypus: what we are, what we do, and why

Bhaskar Sunkara bhaskar.sunkara at gmail.com
Fri Apr 9 18:04:48 PDT 2010

On Fri, Apr 9, 2010 at 7:04 PM, Chuck Grimes <cgrimes at rawbw.com> wrote:

> I spent some time on an essay
> called, `1968'. It took the Adorno line about the student movements as
> fascist and authoritarian. This odd characterization was common back
> then. It was the kind of thing the `thinking' press came up. If anybody
> wants to research it, they could probably find something by William
> Buckley taking this position.
> If its true, its true. If William Buckley indeed had the prescience to
tell how the third worldism and "leftist terrorism" of some in the New Left would become an open manifestation of the Right, then kudos to him.

PLFP combatant Carlos the Jackal is now an open embracer of Islamism and the groups like the Red Army Fraction, cheer-leaded by the German Left, was an openly antisemitic manifestation of the Right. What became of the *emancipatory *potential of Maoism, another great hope of the New Left? There were plenty of sane and good elements of the New Left, like the Trotskyist groupings that never played a leading role in the movement who represent roads not taken, but "Third World" Marxism, Maoism... whose going to deny that these were historical dead-ends. And Adorno's critique of the New Left has some resonance today. His critique of actionism and definition of psuedo-activity, that activity that doesn't acknowledge its impotence when confronted with real power that "doesn't feel a tickle," remains pretty damn relevant when it comes to our own brick-throwing revolutionaries and those that cruise the anti-globalization protest circuit without engaging in any serious effort at organization building or theoretical "practice."

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