• Title: The Death and Rebirth of American Radicalism
  • Author: Stanley Aronowitz
  • Released: 1996-11-19
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 232
  • ISBN: 0415912407
  • ISBN13: 978-0415912402
  • ASIN: 0415912407
From Publishers Weekly In a dense tableau of far-left factions and subfactions, Aronowitz (Roll Over Beethoven and The Politics of Identity) traces the political decline of radical ideas "that once sent terror into the hearts of America's corporate rulers." According to Aronowitz, the death knell of radicalism began in the 1950s with the loss of faith in an organized left stemming largely from the Stalinist reign of terror. Adding to the wounds was the New Left legacy of the 1960s embodied in the slogan of not trusting anybody over 30, an attitude that engendered a collective amnesia that could have prevented historical errors. By 1973, the New Left was virtually dead, leading only to weak splinter groups and single-issue organizations. The result leaves the left indistinguishable from the liberal wing of the Democratic Party when referred to in the press. Aronowitz laments the current pervasive public silence about radical and revolutionary ideas expounded historically from the founding fathers to Martin Luther King. Instead, says Aronowitz, the business of government has become business, progressive taxation is being dismantled, universal health care and assaults on inequality are branded nonsense. Aronowitz proposes not socialism but a "radical democracy" that restructures politics and institutions in order to permit broad popular control and foster conditions hospitable for both satisfying individual and collective life. Long in the trenches himself, Aronowitz brings masterful insights to this eminent documentation of formerly prophetic but now sleepy radical movements. But the future is not dead, he maintains, it is just resting.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the edition.

From Library Journal Is there an American Left, and if so, does it have a future? These are the major questions Aronowitz takes up here, building on his earlier studies of trade unionism, new social movements, the relationship of culture and politics, and the crisis of Marxism. According to the author, the Left does indeed have a future, but only as long as it jettisons the language of 20th-century socialism and moves in the direction of what he terms "radical democracy": "The best moments in the history of the U.S. left," he suggests, "were those when the movement invented an indigenous designating language of social transformation and linked itself to the older American radical traditions as well as those of Europe," Aronowitz concludes from this reading of history that progressives should avoid the pitfalls of "welfare state liberalism" and embrace cultural freedom, grass-roots political experimentation, and workplace democracy. His lively, thought-provoking look at the prospects for a left-wing revival is strongly recommended to libraries with collections in U.S. history and politics.?Kent Worcester, Social Science Research Council, New York
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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