Critique of New Left

Tom O'Lincoln suarsos at alphalink.com.au
Wed Jul 9 17:33:07 MDT 2003


The point Einde raises is important: there are two different things called
the "New Left". One is the British New Left which arose in the 50s. There
was something similar in Australia, associated with the journals Overland
and Arena. The other is linked to the sixties' student rebellion. In the
latter case I think the term is originally American, although by late 1967
when I arrived in Germany it was being used in a similar way in Germany to
relate to the German SDS and related radical movements. One key guru of
this latter New Left was Herbert Marcuse.

In Australia the sixties' New Left was broadly similar to the American. You
can date its origins to the early sixties with student campaigns around
Apartheid and against anti-Aborigional racism (we had Freedom Rides in
Australia). Later there was a mass movement against the war in Vietnam.
There was "student power" etc and eventually the birth of Women's
Liberation. The peak of student activism was 1969 rather than 1968, and the
most important radical campus was Monash University which was then on the
fringe of Melbourne. You probably don't want a lot of detail on a marginal
place like Australia, but if you do, feel free to write to me off list. I
can give you some sources. I was an unimportant foot soldier but would be
happy to relate personal experiences, such as they are, covering Berkeley
1965-7, Goettingen 1967-8, Berkeley 1968-71, and Melbourne after that.



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