Elliot Neaman’s Free Radicals Takes First Place at London Book Festival

Telos Press is delighted to announce that Elliot Neaman’s Free Radicals: Agitators, Hippies, Urban Guerrillas, and Germany’s Youth Revolt of the 1960s and 1970s has won first place in the History category at the London Book Festival. Congratulations!

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On Two Versions of the Counterculture

“There were actually at least two countercultures in 1968. The street mutineers dreamed of a political revolution, which was acted out as theater, using old scripts. In the second, politics became personal; emancipation came in the form of consumer choices. The first was collectivist and failed, the second was libertarian, individualistic, futuristic, and carried the day. In the United States Stewart Brand, the visionary who founded The Whole Earth Catalog in 1968, pithily described the difference as between ‘Berkeley and Stanford’: ‘Around Berkeley, it was Free Speech Movement, “power to the people.” . . .’ In Germany this kind of technology-as-revolution mindset was much more difficult to launch, given the entrenched romantic aversion to technology in the counterculture. . .”

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On Late Capitalism

“The idea of a revolutionary, ‘post-materialistic’ subject, personified by marginal actors, was popularized by Jean-Paul Sartre, who viewed outcasts and criminals, like the writer and petty criminal Jean Genet, as enlightened critics of bourgeois society. In Germany, Frankfurt School theorists like Claus Offe proposed that in ‘late capitalism’ ever more social groups—the unemployed, the mentally ill, the lawbreakers—would be pushed to the margins and could eventually pose a real threat to the social order. The problem, as one wit put it, was that ‘late capitalism’ kept arriving too late.”

—Elliot Neaman, Free Radicals: Agitators, Hippies, Urban Guerrillas, and Germany’s Youth Revolt of the 1960s and 1970s

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The Long March

“Dutschke’s phrase ‘the long march’ managed to combine both Mao and Trotsky, since the contemporary Trotskyite strategy was ‘enterism,’ that is, the infiltration of institutions such as trade unions and universities and their subversion from the inside. For the humorless Dutschke and his unlikely collaborator, the bon vivant scion of a grand bourgeois Chilean family Gaston Salvatore, the armed struggle in the Third World was dialectically connected to the sabotage tactics of the urban guerrillas in the developed world. The phrase that Dutschke took from Guevara, ‘Create two, three, many Vietnams,’ was not just a slogan designed to ignite the passions of the crowds. He very seriously conceived of the student revolution in 1967–68 as an integral part of a global anti-imperialist, anti-colonial struggle.”

—Elliot Neaman, Free Radicals: Agitators, Hippies, Urban Guerrillas, and Germany’s Youth Revolt of the 1960s and 1970s

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