1999 | ISBN: 0896083063 | PDF | pages 197 | 1.13 Mb
In a landmark theoretical work which will radically influence progressive thinking, seven respected activist/scholars from diverse backgrounds and movements have collaborated to create a truly Liberating Theory. The authors combine and transcend various theories of history (marxism, anarchism, feminism, and nationalism) to develop an alternative conceptual framework, complementary holism. Applying this framework to questions of economics, politics, gender, race, and culture highlights the usefulness of complementary holism for understanding society and strategizing its transformation.
Seeking unity that respects diversity, "Liberating Theory" provides concepts that promote "autonomy within solidarity". It rejects the idea that any one oppression is primary while all others are secondary and it provides a vehicle for activists to share intellectual tools, visionary aims, and practical strategies so as to support and work with one another without compromising the integrity of their own desires.
This most unusual and groundbreaking book is the first to put forward a coherent, radical politics that gives activists and theorists a framework for understanding the complex, integrated character of modern oppressions. It is essential reading for all those who concern themselves with social change and with formulating a vision of a liberated future.
Summary: So, you want to be a radical...
...but you're not sure what to believe in. Marxism seems discredited, you don't quite trust anarchists and the "smash the state" rhetoric and although patriarchy and white-supremacy are certainly real parts of the problem, they are not the only problem.
Well, the folks over at Z (Z Magazine) have a solution. It's not really anything new, but rather a reworking and meshing of many older theories. The authors argue that the serious flaw of many of the old radical left visions was their "monism." Marxism claimed the economy as the central social field and all else as "superstructure." The practical effect was that Marxists ignored the problems of women and people of color beyond the economy. Anrachists and radical feminists had analogous problems.
Liberating theory suggests that their are four, equally important, sphere's of society: economic, political, kinship and cultural. The authors argue that the institutions of these four spheres are interconnected and (most often) mutually reinforcing. Therefor struggle for revolution can not occur in one, ignoring the rest.
The debates in this book seem to me a bit old. Opposition to parriarchy and racism have permiated most of the left and there has been a recent resurgence of class and political issues with the stirrings of organized labor, seattle, D.C. and the new third parties. So it seems to me many people now see the value of working on multiple fronts and inclusiveness.
However, these movements are also largely berift of long term vision. This book, despite its dated quality, could provide a good foundation for such a vision.
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