LEFT TURN: Origins of the Next American Revolution by Richard E. Rubenstein

LEFT TURN: Origins of the Next American Revolution

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Liberal reform is dead. Interest-group politics is dead. The American body politic is composed of three classes: the ruling monopolistic oligarchy, the small propertied middle class, and an amalgam of outs called the ""underclass."" In the next fifteen years we will have fascism or socialism, ""business oligarchy or workers' democracy: it must be one or the other."" The middle classes and the ""underclass"" are becoming proletarianized, and they will by antiseptic means -- no mobbing the White House, mass executions, etc. -- establish a wholly decentralized factory democracy, while building a new governmental coalition based on clusters of women, minorities, blue- and white-collar workers, rural people, et al. These new interests groups will guarantee democratic freedoms and due process of law. Rubenstein's Jeffersonian vision is updated by smatterings of '50's social science -- James Q. Wilson, Robert Dahl, Crane Brinton, plus New Left academics like Domhoff, Marcuse, and Mills -- frosted with sprinkles of Marx and Engels and Trotsky. Rubenstein's ""underclass"" defies definition: sometimes it seems to encompass industrial laborers, sometimes all wage-earners, sometimes the ""working poor,"" the white near-poor, the ""lower middle-class,"" sometimes all of these and the minorities and any non-""affluent."" Rubenstein takes his prognoses seriously, but not in the active Marxist sense of an agent acting on history but rather an enervated academic exercise -- one man's fusillade from the ivied tower.

Pub Date: Sept. 18th, 1973
Publisher: Little, Brown