Category Archives: defeat

Todd Gitlin: “The Missing Music of the Left “

‘If there are to be global goals, goals that cross boundaries to inspire the multitudes, where might they be found? … So should idealists across borders persist in seeking the universalist grail—the moral equivalent of “The Internationale”? Some settle for anti-fascism; others strive to resurrect the lost traditions of anarchism and anarcho-syndicalism; a few scavenge among the ruins of communism. Nearly three decades after the collapse of the communist phantasm, the left has still not recovered its voice, let alone composed a melody you can’t get out of your head.’

Jonah Birch: “How Beautiful It Was”

“For a few brief weeks in France [in 1968], not just a government but an entire system was called into question.”

Kenan Behzat Sharpe: “Trapped in between: 1968 in Greece and Turkey”

“The 1960s explosions in Greece and Turkey were neither of the First or Third Worlds, the core or the periphery: they combined elements of both.”

Andy Merrifield: ‘“Fulfillment was already there”: Debord & ’68’

“France seemed on the precipice of revolution; a festival of people was glimpsed. Alienation was cast off, momentarily; freedom was real; capitalised time abandoned. Without trains, cars, Metro and work, leisure time was reclaimed, time lived. Students and workers seized the contingent situation, acted spontaneously, created new situations, realising something what no trade union or party could ever do, or wanted to do. And yet, as quickly as things erupted, they were almost as speedily repressed, by state and bourgeoisie, soon backed by the Communists and the CGT. The optimistic promise, the beach beneath the paving stones, had dissipated, for now. The music was over. There was no other side to break on through to.”

Todd Gitlin: “1968: Year of Counter-Revolution”

“The left was wildly guilty of misrecognition. Although most on the radical left thrilled to the prospect of some kind of revolution, … the main story line was far closer to the opposite—a thrust toward retrogression that continues, though not on a straight line, into the present emergency. … The main new storyline was backlash.”

David Broder: “Historically Compromised”

‘The Red Brigades who took Moro hostage sought to prevent a reformist solution to Italy’s institutional impasse. Their actions, or at least the anticommunist blowback it produced, did help block the PCI’s path toward power. But while they thought that this would radicalize the Italian political landscape, they were sorely mistaken. The violence of these years ultimately expressed the decline of the extra-parliamentary left. … Moro’s death was the swansong of the postwar “First Republic,” marking the failed reform of the Christian Democratic order. This brought not renewal, but protracted decline and fragmentation. The debris continues to litter the present, in an Italian political system devoid not just of credibility, but of hope.’

Miguel-Anxo Murado: “The End of ETA’s Era”

ETA was not born as an armed resistance group that turned to terrorism, but as a cultural enterprise to save the Basque language and its people’s customs (its name is an acronym of the Basque words for “Basque Homeland and Liberty”). It was founded in 1958 by a group of dangerously idealistic students, many of them connected to the Catholic Church, who were dissatisfied with the inaction of the clandestine Basque Nationalist Party.”

“Basque Group ETA Disbands, after Terrorist Campaign Spanning Generations”

ETA, the Basque separatist group, is dissolving itself, it stated in a letter published on Wednesday, closing a history that included one of the longest terrorism campaigns in modern Europe, which killed over 800 people in Spain. … The news reflected what has been evident for years, that ETA is a spent force, its ranks decimated by arrests, its popularity minimal in the Basque region along Spain’s north coast. In their long struggle, the government has won.”

The Marxist Long Goodbye to the Revolution

Bruce Robbins on Perry Anderson’s Gramscian hegemony between Thucydidean realism and Stoic melancholy.

 

 

Mitchell Abidor: “1968: When the Communist Party Stopped a French Revolution “

“1968 was the definitive proof, if such proof were still needed, that the Communist Party had no interest in seizing power through revolution. But it also demonstrated that in this, the PCF was the perfect image of the class it represented, and vice versa. Cornelius Castoriadis … wrote in an essay published during the events:

In France in May ’68 the industrial proletariat was not the revolutionary vanguard of society, but rather its ponderous rear guard. If the student movement attacked the heavens, what stuck society to earth… was the attitude of the proletariat, its passivity in regard to its leadership and the regime, its inertia, its indifference to everything that was not an economic demand.”