You are not currently logged in.
Access JSTOR through your library or other institution:
If You Use a Screen ReaderThis content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Community and Organization: The New Left and Michels' "Iron Law"
Vol. 27, No. 4 (Apr., 1980), pp. 419-429
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/800170
Page Count: 11
You can always find the topics here!Topics: New Left, Political movements, Prefigurative politics, Student movements, Social movements, Political extremism, Communitarianism, Community associations, Political organizations, Political systems
Were these topics helpful?See somethings inaccurate? Let us know!
Select the topics that are inaccurate.
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Preview not available
Most analysts of the new left fault it for having been utopian, antiorganizational, and even antipolitical, suggesting that these characteristics were responsible for its failures. It is suggested in this paper that such evaluations of the new left are biased in favor of certain organizational and instrumental-political forms--forms the new left rejected in the name of a communitarian and expressive-political experiment. It is indicated that the new left was shaped by the ongoing tension within it between a spontaneous, grassroots social movement committed to participatory democracy and hostile to formal organization and the perceived need for formal, even centralized, organization capable of implementing political change. Faced with a choice between "strategic" and "prefigurative" politics, the new left, it is argued, chose the latter and hence chose to fail according to the established political standards. The new left sought to avert Michels' "iron law of oligarchy" by its refusal to transform itself into a political party and by its insistence on remaining a social movement. The attempt to found a new politics of participation and process, while unsuccessful, may well prove to have been the new left's most valuable legacy.
Social Problems © 1980 Oxford University Press