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I often see this theory, but I don't really see much evidence. The 1960s started with Jim Crow in full operation and ended in the Nixon era. There was a great deal of freedom for middle class white kids, at least personal freedom, but did the era of Cointelpro and of the Vietnam War had more democracy of any kind than the current era? Was there more "economic democracy" then? How?

The "left" or what remains of it, seems to me to be crippled by a weird nostalgia for what never was.

by rootless2 on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 11:31:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
rootless2:
The "left" or what remains of it, seems to me to be crippled by a weird nostalgia for what never was.

LOL, you're a master of the trolly red-rag-to-a-bull.

Why do you care so much about the wheelchair-bound delusionary rump of the scare-quote left?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 11:45:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I note you don't respond to my argument but focus on labeling. But the answer should be obvious: in the 1960s, the social justice movement loosely speaking, could pretty much be identified with the "left". And at that time "the left" actually meant something and really could be seen as a line of thought stretching back to the first and second internationals. Now though we have a "left" line of thought that heralds back to the height of the cold war as a golden age, from which we have fallen through the Powers of Neoliberalism. I find that to be a peculiar, incoherent, and historically confabulated argument. And it seems to me that the "left" has lost touch with a larger social justice movement.
by rootless2 on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 11:58:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
rootless2:
focus on labeling

I did so in that comment because you use labelling provocatively. If you only want reponses to your argument, only post your argument.

To which I reply below, and am to some extent in agreement with you.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:02:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The "left" has - same way as the "right" - always been defined from the need to rally a mayority of the political power in order to rule. In Denmark and Norway we have today parties that are called Left - Venstre - as a result of being founded at a time when the defining charactheristica of the left/right divide was related to a) universal and equal voting rights and parliaments power over the executive and b) the abolishment of inherited economic privileges. The scene changed and they ended up on the right, but the party names stayed the same.

So I would disagree, there never was a coherent line of thought, only worse or better narratives.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 02:59:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that's true enough, I guess i'm using "left" to refer to  "social democrat to communists" but even that's an uneven track.
by rootless2 on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 09:07:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
rootless2:
The 1960s started with Jim Crow in full operation and ended in the Nixon era.

The '60s ended with Jim Crow over and done with, and Nixon thrown out of the White House - a couple of details your account left out.

Did the end of Jim Crow mean economic equality for African-Americans? No.

Did the end of Nixon mean a definitive step forward for democracy in America? No.

Was there greater "economic democracy" at that time than now? There was less income and wealth inequality, and the rise in lower incomes gave people the feeling they were part of society and not its garbage.

Was there more freedom? There were gains in freedom, and not only for middle-class white kids (and not only in America). The Civil Rights movement and radical middle-class white movement gave the impression the world was going to be changed. Was that impression confirmed by events? No. But it's not something that never existed, and neither was it insignificant.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:00:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Aggregate wealth inequality measures are deceptive. For example, do you really want to argue that in the USA there was less wealth inequality before the women's liberation movement and the various equal pay acts?
by rootless2 on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:14:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do I want to go down your chosen rathole? No.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:32:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It was your claim, not mine.
by rootless2 on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 03:52:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I often see this theory, but I don't really see much evidence.

I was referring to workplace democracy, which was present in the '60s mostly as an ideal, i.e. the SDS manifesto. This has largely been driven out of the public debate, though some creative companies have seen the competitive advantages and moved in that direction, so, while there are some trade-offs, as a tool to transform society, and especially as a tool that might be reenforced by law and regulation, it has been largely forgotten and is no current threat to 'market discipline'.

The Civil Rights Act was an important, historic step in the right direction, but not as a tool for economic democracy, certainly after the assassination of MLK. The women's liberation movement gave women options but has done little to close the pay gap and, in fact, the response by business seems to have been: "Oh good! Now we can require the wife to work for 2/3ds to 3/4rs of her husbands wage and thereby put pressure on rising wages." It would not surprise me to find this having been directly discussed by Chamber of Commerce leaders.

The ideal has largely been forgotten while the implementation of the progressive reforms have been implemented in ways destructive to the original intent but friendly to business, largely due to the influence of business organizations on governments through campaign finance and on public opinion through owned media and 'think tank' propaganda.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 10:51:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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