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“The New Left”: Definition, Examples of Movements, Influence Essay

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Updated: Sep 15th, 2021

The New Left is a term used in various states to describe left-wing movements that originated in the 1960s and 1970s. They differed from earlier leftist movements that had been more directed towards labor activism, and instead accepted a wider meaning of political activism usually called communal activism. The U.S. “New Left” is closely linked with college campus mass remonstration movements and fundamental leftist groups.

The British “New Left” was a rationally driven group that attempted to correct the perceived errors of “Old Left” parties in the post-WWII period. The associations started winding down in the 1970s, when protesters either entrusted themselves to party projects, developed social justice organizations, moved into identity politics or alternative lifestyles, or became politically inactive.

The movements were mainly represented by students, and it is necessary to emphasize, that students reluctantly resorted to violence. The association that really came to represent the core of the New Left was the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). In 1962 Tom Hayden wrote its grounding document, the Port Huron Statement, which subjected a call for “participatory democracy” grounded on nonviolent civil defiance.

The SDS marshaled anti-war, pro-civil rights, and free speech anxieties on campuses, and administered to arrange liberals and more radical leftists. The SDS was the leading association of the antiwar movement on college campuses during the Vietnam War, and during the course of the war became increasingly militant. As opposed to the war grew stronger, the SDS became a countrywide outstanding political association, but opposing the war actions became a dominant concern that outshined lots of the unique matters that had motivated SDS.

But the fact is, numerous persons and groups within the United States shifted towards assaults on state and commercial property during the late 1960s and early 1970s in reply to the United States’ war on Vietnam-Weatherman was the principal and most famous group to make the shift. As such, movements concentrate on Weatherman to build an analysis of the broader violence of the New Lefts.

In Bringing the War Home, the narration of Weather is busted down into three different events-the Days of Rage in October 1969 and the Flint “War Council” in December of 1969 as examples of Weatherman’s politics and focuses on the Weather Underground (the organization was renamed after going underground) by way of the townhouse explosion in 1971. These three events, while essential events in the history of the Weather Underground, are commonly misconstrued and used as the basis for dismissing the group.

The December 1969 “War Council” explored the isolation of Weatherman from both the mainstream of people in the United States, as well as those in the pacifist movement – and strengthened the group’s determination to connect in “exemplary” violence to “inspire” others to “pick up the gun” against the state-violence that, had the townhouse detonation not occurred in 1971, would have likely progressed towards individual delegates of state and corporate power.

The Flint War Council allows Weatherman to scrutinize the admired support and examine how the separation led to gradually more controlling propensities. Finally, Weatherman interprets the townhouse explosion, long a target of scorn from those on the right and the left, as a “recasting” of the Weather Underground’s politics and a shift from violence to the multi-faceted antiwar movement that it previously berated rather than just an example of the sixties “excesses” as it has been portrayed by many.

References

Cunningham, David. There’s Something Happening Here: The New Left, the Klan, and FBI Counterintelligence. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2004.

Marcuse, Herbert. The New Left and the 1960s. Ed. Douglas Kellner. London: Routledge, 2005.

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IvyPanda. "“The New Left”: Definition, Examples of Movements, Influence." September 15, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-new-left-definition-examples-of-movements-influence/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "“The New Left”: Definition, Examples of Movements, Influence." September 15, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-new-left-definition-examples-of-movements-influence/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) '“The New Left”: Definition, Examples of Movements, Influence'. 15 September.

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