Mark Lause MLause at
Tue Aug 5 18:48:13 MDT 2003

I've been finding this exchange very interesting.  What we're really
getting at are the types of persons drawn to radical politics...not the
types that become radicalized so much as those that decide to
participate in a tiny organization that advocates a unique plan for
transforming the world.

Because the scale of the Left is so tiny in the U.S., people interested
in wielding power in unions, or winning elections, etc. generally won't
stay, while they might well do so elsewhere.  Certainly, in this sense,
we lose a lot of people who, in hindsight, were not radical in their
primary allegieances.

I also think that the scale of radical organizations attracts and
retains particular kinds of people who are reconciled to life in a tiny
organization.  In turn, this does have a logic of its own that changes
the people, habituates them to such a life.  The former, arguably, are
radical in the sense that they are drawn to an alternative structure
more than to the radical ideas.  When they leave, it's easy to see that
their radicalism was less important than the desperate desire to belong
to something that size.  (I saw people transfer their identity from
socialist groups to chess clubs, etc. with surprisingly little apparent

This isn't across the board, of course, but I suspect that it's a matter
of thinking about this more than is healthy.  ... Either that or we
should understand a typology of radical personalities.


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