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New Left Review I/185, January-February 1991

Lynne Segal

Whose Left? Socialism, Feminism and the Future

Political generations appear and disappear with astonishing speed. [*] This article is an expanded version of a talk delivered to the Radical Philosophy Conference, Values, Resistance and Social Change, at the Polytechnic of Central London, in November 1990. Thirty years ago, a budding anarchist and sixties student radical, I shared with certain others of my generation and class a politics of generalized anti-authoritarianism and free love. In Australia at the time, coming out of the rigid conformity of the Cold War, such a politics was not as vapid as it sounds today. The Communist Party was banned outright, along with James Joyce, James Baldwin, and any sex at all that dared to speak its name. Non-white people were denied entry into Australia, black Australians were denied legal rights, even the right to vote, and devotion to monarchy, marriage and hyper-hypocrisy remained our sacred birthright. We read Reich, Nomad and Bakunin, remaining oddly innocent of any more solid socialist tradition.

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