Trotskyists => neocons ?

Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Mon Sep 23 09:48:03 MDT 1996

At 6:22 AM 9/23/96, Adam Rose wrote:

>> Some very interesting quotes from Lenin there. This one is an interesting
>> proleptic answer to my question about why so many Trots became neocons.
>I have no idea what proleptic means.

Reversing the usual sequence of time; specifically, in this case,
anticipating a question before it is asked.

>Anyway, it isn't true that many ex trotskyists became neo conservatives.
>Some prominent intellectuals in the 30's moved to the right very quickly
>- the US comrades can doubtless reel off a longer list than I can.

The founding core of the U.S. neoconservative movement came out of the
Schachtmanite tendency. Neoconservatism, in U.S. usage, refers specifically
to a subset of right-wing thought that was repelled by the social
libertarianianism of the 1960s (sex, drugs, & rock n roll), the undermining
of social hierarchy and the artistic canon, and the black and feminist
rebellions; deeply anti-Soviet, they were crucial to the revving up of the
Second Cold War. Despite their high-culture bias and their relative silence
on economic issues, they undertook a marriage of convenience with the
philistine, money-grubbing Reaganites. As far as I know, they've never even
tried to reconcile their love of high culture with free-market economics;
one of the early issues of the neocon cultural journal, The New Criterion,
had an ad from some 1980s artworld excrescence called the Arbitrage Gallery
on its inside cover - a nice symbol of the contradictions of the neocon
cultural police.



Doug Henwood
Left Business Observer
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