old radicals


Taken together, the works selected by Verso embody the creation and development of a dissenting tradition that set out to question and subvert the established order. Yet while this was once the prin-cipal strength of these thinkers, it has become something of an Achilles heel. A collective reading exposes all that has gone wrong with radical thought in the 20th century. Traditions, and intellectual traditions in particular, rapidly ossify and degenerate into obscurantism. They have to be constantly refreshed, renovated and reinvented. It is time that radical thought broke out of its confining structures. It is time to put Adorno’s anxieties about mass culture and media to rest; to move forward from Baudrillard’s and Derrida’s postmodern relativism to some notion of viable social truth; and for criticism to stop messing about with signs and signifiers, and instead confront the increasing tendency of power towards absolutism.

more from the New Statesman here.