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Author Topic: The demise of The New Left
Consciousness III
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posted 27 June 2002 06:08 PM      Profile for Consciousness III     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Why did the New Left fade away with the 1960's? Is it because the 'Silent Majority' spoke or because the left didn't speak?
From: Calgary AB | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 27 June 2002 06:33 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well, a bit of both. But you could say the New Left partly did itself in, at least the American left, by committing itself to revolution, and then by splitting into factions, some of which went off the deep end (Weathermen, et al). Plus, the Vietnam War ended.
From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
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posted 27 June 2002 06:34 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
That is a good question. Neither of your answers suffice, though.

If we are talking about the New Left in North America, the central political issue it cared about was the war in Vietnam. US soldiers died at the rate of 250 killed per week, along with a similar number wounded. Males could look forward to being drafted to fight in the war, at the same time as General Ky, the South Vietnamese Vice President who the US supported, spoke of his great admiration for Hitler.

With the end of the draft, and the end of the war for Americans, one of the central reasons for political activism was removed.

Obviously, there is much more to the story than that. The civil rights movement also made important gains, and at the end broke up into competing factions. The women's movement had some part of its inspiration in the new left, as did the gay rights movement.

But if I were to give a one-line reason for the fading away of the new left, it would be that it failed to create institutions able to carry on its politics. I know of no labout union, and few think-tanks controlled by the new left. And when its political organizations, such as SDS, split apart, there wasn't much to coalesce around.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 27 June 2002 06:39 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
But if I were to give a one-line reason for the fading away of the new left, it would be that it failed to create institutions able to carry on its politics. I know of no labout union, and few think-tanks controlled by the new left. And when its political organizations, such as SDS, split apart, there wasn't much to coalesce around.

You're right, of course. My answer was a bit superficial. As a wise friend said, "parties have memories; movements don't."


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skdadl
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posted 27 June 2002 06:48 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Fade away? Who faded away? I have not faded away.
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'lance
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posted 27 June 2002 06:48 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Nor will you, dear skdadl! Age cannot wither, nor custom stale!
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nonsuch
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posted 27 June 2002 07:05 PM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
From such compliments, Hecate, defend us!

One didn't so much fade away as get bludgeoned, reviled, ridiculed and totally fed up.

[ June 27, 2002: Message edited by: nonesuch ]


From: coming and going | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Consciousness III
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posted 27 June 2002 08:05 PM      Profile for Consciousness III     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I've read that prior to his asassination, Robert Kennedy had gained the support of the black vote, the poverty vote, and the student vote. Nixon came to power in an election where 47% of Americans did'nt vote. Mostly due to the fact that the left didn't have a decent candidate (Humphrey). Had Robert Kennedy never been shot, the world would be a very different place today.

one of the 'What If's' of history!

its kinda strange that in the 1960's, 3 leftist leaders (Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy, and Robert Kennedy) were shot and not one on the right. And they say leftists are militant!!!


From: Calgary AB | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
nonsuch
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posted 27 June 2002 08:47 PM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Wallace...
but i wouldn't bet money on all those shootings being related, or even political;
it's a gun-crazy country.

[ June 27, 2002: Message edited by: nonesuch ]


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clockwork
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posted 27 June 2002 08:56 PM      Profile for clockwork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well, to be fair, a gun crazy culture does not, in itself, lead to a culture of political assassinations.
From: Pokaroo! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
nonsuch
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posted 27 June 2002 09:01 PM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It was just a fad. Mostly they do family and neighbours.
From: coming and going | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged

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