Herbert Marcuse

def0f523b6f7b89652b8df511fe899f6Am reading “The Frankfurt School in Exile”, by Thomas Wheatland. Which has reminded me how much Marcuse’s “One Dimensional Man” was touted by my politics tutor when I was in second year of uni. I didn’t find many things in ‘Exile’ that weren’t already in the many other tomes I’ve read on Adorno and his migrant intellectual mates, but at least its mostly a good read – just far too much money crunching by Horkheimer, and nothing much on Teddy in California… (sweating no doubt in the sun, mopping his brow, knocking back margarita’s like there’s no more poetry to be written… Now there was a chapter that could have been snappy). Nevertheless, Wheatland’s book improves massively when it gets to the 1960s and Marcuse, SDS, the Weathermen, Panthers and so on. Speaking of the ‘cultural revolution’ that was the flower power lifestyle choice of those who drifted away from SDS and Movement politics at the end of the sixties, Marcuse wrote:

“Co-option threatens the cultural revolution … Against this threat, the entirely premature immediate identification of private and social freedom creates tranquilizing rather than radicalizing conditions adn leads to withdrawal from the political universe in which, alone, freedom can be attained” (Marcuse 1972 “Counterrevolution and Revolt”)

I am going to read Julia Kristeva next – “Sense and Nonsense of Revolt”. I don’t expect her to be so grumpy, but I do hope the echo of Adorno’s Hegelian-inflected negativity is retained. ‘Tranquilizing’ is my italic.

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