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  • Hardcover
  • 197 pages
  • The Next Left: The History of a Future
  • Michael Harrington
  • English
  • 24 April 2018
  • 9780805001044

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About the Author: Michael Harrington

Edward Michael Harrington was an American democratic socialist, writer, political activist, professor of political science, and radio commentator.Early lifeHarrington was born in St Louis, Missouri He attended St Louis University High School, College of the Holy Cross, University of Chicago MA in English Literature , and Yale Law School As a young man, he was interested in both leftwing polit

10 thoughts on “The Next Left: The History of a Future

  1. says:

    Seize the OpportunityI read this book after I finished Mike Harrington s last book, Socialism Past and Future. Despite the titles, I should have read this book first, because it seems to contain much of the detailed research that would strengthen the credibility of Socialism.It reads much like a Democratic Socialist Manifesto, in that it analyses the causes of political problems and explains the basis of political solutions.It starts with the declaration The Western Left will confront the possibility of political power within the next five years, and perhaps sooner rather than later It is this Left that was to be the Next Left of the title Writing in 1986, Harrington s concern was that it might not be prepared for the task, that it may simply lack the creativity to deal with a crisis that has already bankrupted so much of American liberal and European socialist ideology Hence, Harrington confessed I write to forestall such a failure and, in some small way, to help the next Left seize its coming opportunity You could say the same of the plight of the Left in this Age of Trump, which within either four or eight years, will become the Post Trump Era Only who knows at what expense Members of today s Left, the present Left, could do worse than read either of these books It s the Economy, Stupid Much of the book is concerned with economic analysis, something that was probably anathema to the New Left that arose in the sixties However, it s this failure to address the economy that has made the New Left and its successors almost unelectable by a broader cross section of the American public.While I m a great consumer of culture, I have always felt that the Left s prioritisation of cultural politics at the expense of economic politics or what Marx called Political Economy began its downfall In Marxist terms, it prioritised the superstructure over the base In recent terms, it prioritised identity politics rather than class politics No worker could look at this type of agenda and think it would further their economic needs or interests.Instead, economic issues were associated with the boring, old fashioned Old Left.Ironically, it was the failure to address the economic and political needs of the American working and middle classes that enhanced the public support for Donald Trump and made a Democrat candidate difficult to elect in 2016 Obama s legacy might also fall victim to this irony, even though he did much of the hard work necessary to revive the American economy after the Global Economic Crisis Double ironically, this crisis was potentially caused by adherence to Chicago School economic policies.Harrington makes a concession to the New Left in how he discusses the economic issues Productivity is social and political as well as economic He also quotes Freud in an attempt to avoid reductionism Major psychic events, Sigmund Freud rightly said, are over determined, the result of a convergence of causes, not of a single cause So, others have added, are economic and social events Political PotenceHarrington s book, therefore, is economic, social, political and moral Although it s just over 30 years old, it remains just as relevant and prescient as it was when it was written The Next Left must plan to be potent now What is neededis not just another program What is needed is a restatement of the basic moral vision of the Western Left The next Left cannot content itself to sit around waiting for some catastrophe to save it from its own political impotence See here to read how Democratic Socialists of America the organisation founded by Harrington currently defines its moral vision.It s clear that democracy is both a means and an end.March 13, 2017

  2. says:

    I have a mild addiction to the not too distant past s vision of the present, hence this book Arguably the premise of the book is to show how the American political arena may be ready for the Left to take over after Reagan s era ends and that somewhat did manage to happen, sketchily and temporarily, with Clinton More interesting, though, is the exact and illuminating way in which Harrington illustrates how the New Deal type social programs ultimately dovetailed with the interests of Ford and other major industrialists, and how the slump of the 80 s was the result of the programs designed for the interests of the corporations overreaching themselves I m very much looking forward to exploring Harrington s other books after sampling this one.

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