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The Radical Left after 1968: From Ideological Craze to Reconfiguration of Politics

  • Luca Falciola (a1)

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By the mid-1970s, Jerry Rubin—icon of American radicalism and cofounder of the Yippies, who campaigned in 1968 to elect a pig as president of the United States and appeared before the House Un-American Activities Committee dressed in an eighteenth-century Revolutionary War uniform—had transformed himself from protester to successful businessman. He launched a new career on Wall Street as a stockbroker, became known for his promotion of “networking,” bringing together yuppies at parties in Manhattan, and was an early investor in Apple Computer. For a long time, both in public memory and in many historical accounts, Rubin's conversion embodied the path of an entire generation of leftists who hastily shifted from the ideological craze of 1968–1970 to the disillusionment of the so-called “me decade.”

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NOTES

1. See, for instance, Bjørgo, Tore and Horgan, John, eds., Leaving Terrorism Behind: Individual and Collective Disengagement (London/New York, 2009); Koehler, Daniel, Understanding Deradicalization: Methods, Tools and Programs for Countering Violent Extremism (London/New York, 2017).

2. Moyn, Samuel, The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History (Cambridge/London, 2010), 5.

3. Cf. Bourg, Julian, From Revolution to Ethics: May 1968 and Contemporary French Thought (Montreal/Kingston, 2007). See also, among the others, Christofferson, Michael S., French Intellectuals against the Left: The Anti totalitarian Moment of the 1970s (New York/Oxford, 2004). Furthermore, Isabelle Sommier sharply analyzed the demise of violence within the French left and brought to light a panoply of cultural and sociological variables to explain it; cf. Sommier, Isabelle, La violence politique et son deuil : l'après 68 en France et en Italie (Rennes, 1998).

4. See, for example, Eckstein, Arthur M., Bad Moon Rising: How the Weather Underground Beat the FBI and Lost the Revolution (New Haven, 2016); Flacks, Richard and Lichtenstein, Nelson, eds., Port Huron Statement: Sources and Legacies of the New Left's Founding Manifesto (Philadelphia, 2015).

5. For example, the recent William Andrews, Dissenting Japan: A History of Japanese Radicalism and Counterculture from 1945 to Fukushima (London, 2016) draws extensively on Ando's research.

6. Cf. Havens, Thomas R. H., Fire Across the Sea: The Vietnam War and Japan, 1965–1975 (Princeton, 1987); Steinhoff, Patricia G., “Hijackers, Bombers, and Bank Robbers: Managerial Style in the Japanese Red Army,” Journal of Asian Studies 4 (1989): 724–40; Steinhoff, Patricia G., “Transnational Ties of the Japanese Armed Left: Shared Revolutionary Ideas and Direct Personal Contacts,” in Revolutionary Violence and the New Left: Transnational Perspectives, eds., Álvarez, Alberto M. and Tristán, Eduardo R. (New York/London, 2016), 163–81.

7. Cf. Marcuse, Herbert, One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society (Boston, 1964); Habermas, Jürgen, Legitimation Crisis (Boston, 1975).

8. See, among the most recent scholarly publications, Bonnin, Michel, The Lost Generation: The Rustication of China's Educated Youth (1968–1980) (Hong Kong, 2013); Jiang, Yarong and Ashley, David, Mao's Children in the New China: Voices from the Red Guard Generation (New York, 2000); Leese, Daniel, Mao Cult: Rhetoric and Ritual in China's Cultural Revolution (Cambridge, 2011).

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The Radical Left after 1968: From Ideological Craze to Reconfiguration of Politics

  • Luca Falciola (a1)

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