The Left Wing of the Permissible: the Politics of Michael Harrington

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About the Author
 Jim Creegan was chairman of the Penn State chapter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in the 1960s, lectured in philosophy in the 70s, he was a union shop steward during the late 80s and 90s. He lives in New York City, now unaffiliated but unresigned. His writings often appear in the Weekly Worker (UK).] He can be reached at egyptianarch@gmail.com 

The split among Democrats and union chiefs resulted in the breakup of the Socialist Party. In 1972, the Socialist majority who remained loyal to Johnson/Humphrey and the Meanyite union right wing,  and continued to support the war, followed Max Shachtman and Bayard Rustin into Social Democrats, USA. Like Meany and the AFL-CIO, this group refused to endorse the Democratic anti-war presidential candidate, George McGovern, and Shachtman considered Nixon  the lesser evil. SDUSA can claim credit for being among the pioneers of neo-conservatism. Those who supported McGovern and the more liberal union wing  went with Harrington to form the Democratic Socialists of America (DSOC).

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Parting shot—a word from the editors
The Best Definition of Donald Trump We Have Found

In his zeal to prove to his antagonists in the War Party that he is as bloodthirsty as their champion, Hillary Clinton, and more manly than Barack Obama, Trump seems to have gone “play-crazy” — acting like an unpredictable maniac in order to terrorize the Russians into forcing some kind of dramatic concessions from their Syrian allies, or risk Armageddon.However, the “play-crazy” gambit can only work when the leader is, in real life, a disciplined and intelligent actor, who knows precisely what actual boundaries must not be crossed. That ain’t Donald Trump — a pitifully shallow and ill-disciplined man, emotionally handicapped by obscene privilege and cognitively crippled by white American chauvinism. By pushing Trump into a corner and demanding that he display his most bellicose self, or be ceaselessly mocked as a “puppet” and minion of Russia, a lesser power, the War Party and its media and clandestine services have created a perfect storm of mayhem that may consume us all. Glen Ford, Editor in Chief, Black Agenda Report 

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2 thoughts on “The Left Wing of the Permissible: the Politics of Michael Harrington

  1. A great primer on the ideals, policy positions, political philosophy, and limitations of those on the left who came of age in the 1960s.

    in terms of “Broader horizons of possibility may be opening up once again.” That depends on how severe the repression could become.

  2. Lisnoff—> Indeed. We are entering a period of rapidly changing variables.
    The kind and level of repression depends on many factors, including the little matter of initiative, which, by default in this field is usually with the status quo defenders.

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