Radicals in Power: The New Left Experience in Office
- Publish Date: 2014-06-10
- Binding: Paperback
- Author: Eric Leif Davin
Our memory of Sixties New Left radicals often evokes marches in the streets, battles with the police, or urban bombings. However, the New Left was a multi-faceted movement, with diverse tendencies. One of these tendencies promoted electoral as the way to change America. In every city that was a center of New Left activism, this Electoral New Left entered the political arena. A surprisingly large number of these New Left radicals were elected to office: City Council, Mayor, State Senate, even the U.S. Senate. Once in office, they persisted and prevailed. Cities and places we think of today as eternally liberalBerkeley, Madison, Ann Arbor, even the state of Vermontwere, deeply conservative and deeply Republican before the triumphs of the local Electoral New Left. These Radicals in Power, however, brought about a lasting political realignment in their locales, and embodied the vision of a better future that was at the heart of all New Left activism.
However, the accomplishments of the Electoral New Left, even its very existence, are almost completely unexplored. Historians of the social and political movements of the Sixties have focused on anti-Vietnam War protest movements, or on the Revolutionary New Left. Radicals in Power corrects that oversight and, in doing so, rewrites the history of the Sixties and the New Left. Based on interviews with the elected New Left radicals in each of their cities, Davin details the birth and evolution of a local and regional progressive politics that has, heretofore, been overlooked.