Study Guide

Raymond Williams - What's Left of the New Left

What's Left of the New Left

The members of this clique were totally into the idea of communism—what with all of that sharing and living in a classless society with collective property ownership and all—until Stalin ruined it all with his evil dictator routine. After that, a lot of former communists moved on to socialism and started calling themselves the New Left.

The New Left still believed in revolution; they just updated their agenda to include nuclear disarmament, civil rights, and Vietnam War protests. This little group stayed together through thick and thin, always making sure to spread the socialist gospel through a little publication called the New Left Review.

Stuart Hall
Muse of the Week

So, the group couldn't really have a president per se, because that's not really socialist, so instead they had rotating muses—just a weekly role. That person decided on the intervention of the week: what injustice were they rallying around today? Where were the outrageous power imbalances du jour? What coercion should they root out? Show them the hegemony. You get the picture.

C. Wright Mills
Mad Dog

C, as the group called him, had a lot of get up and go. Not only did he coin the term "power elite," he went on about the small group of men in the government, the military, and in business who basically control everything. Some think he was paranoid—even psychopathological; we say he was focused. He had a wide fan base—Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Simone de Beauvoir, and everyone's favorite existentialist, Jean-Paul Sartre. He brought a ton of attention to the group.

Alasdair MacIntyre
Moral Compass

Alasdair always brought a moral element to the discussion, asking such penetrating questions as: "How in tarnation are we supposed to behave ethically in the face of capitalism's toxic effects?" You gotta appreciate anyone who tries to understand how we can live the good (and virtuous) life, even in the face of rampant capitalist greed.

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