Lecture 7: The New Left Model of Media Freedom

New Left Model of Media Freedom video

Old Left: ‘horny-handed sons of toil’ = white, male industrial working class.
Socialist reformism = mass party + trade unions + cooperatives.
Communist revolution = vanguard party + trade unions + front organisations.
Cold War Europe: Western Social Democracy v. Eastern Stalinist dictatorship.
Inevitable convergence of West and East -> rational bureaucratic administration.
Modernist architecture; motor cars; synthetic fabrics; space race; nuclear power.
Fordist factory as social utopia: science + hierarchy + puritanism = efficiency.

Eric Hobsbawm, Age of Extremes.
Antonio Gramsci, ‘Americanism and Fordism’ in Prison Notebooks.
Henri Lefebvre, Everyday Life in the Modern World.

‘American exceptionalism’: immigrant nation; frontier myth; liberal constitution; white suprematism; state repression; consumer affluence; Cold War patriotism.
1861-5 American Civil War -> 1869 Knights of Labor -> 1872 1st International in New York -> 1876 Socialist Labor Party -> 1886 American Federation of Labor (AFL) -> 1901 Socialist Party of America -> 1905 Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) -> 1919 Communist Party USA -> 1935 Confederation of Industrial Organizations (CIO) = mass strikes, factory occupations and violent protests.
1933-45 US president Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal = US state organising Fordist compromise between capital and labour -> high profits and rising wages/welfare.
American liberalism = political democracy + mixed economy + social tolerance.
Democratic core voters = organised labour in North + white racists in South.
1955 Civil Rights Movement -> 1957 Little Rock -> 1964 Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party -> 1964 LBJ’s ‘Great Society’ speech -> 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Max Shachtman and Bayard Rustin: Democratic party -> Social Democratic party.

Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States.
Seymour Martin Lipset, American Exceptionalism.
Mike Davis, Prisoners of the American Dream.
Peter Drucker, Max Shachtman and his Left.

New Left: ‘red diaper babies’ -> hip educated activists in Cold War America.
1946 Student League for Industrial Democracy -> 1960 Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) -> 1962 Port Huron Statement -> 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer = direct action + participatory democracy + cultural rebellion.
1960s youth revolution: Civil Rights Movement -> Free Speech Movement -> anti-Vietnam war protests -> Black Power -> Yippies -> 2nd wave feminism -> hippie communes -> Gay Lib -> environmentalism -> Weather Underground.
‘Don’t fold, mutilate or spindle’: IBM computer rationality = genocide in Vietnam.
American liberals = smug, imperialist, racist, sexist, homophobic technocrats.
New Left social movements = youth + blacks + latinos + feminists + gays.
1968 Democratic Party Chicago conference: Old Left v. New Left = Mayor Daley’s police v. Yippie anti-war protestors -> Hubert Humphrey’s electoral defeat.
New Left revolution in the USA: non-violent direct action -> armed insurrection.
American youth = Northern detachment of guerrilla uprising by South.
‘A Yippie is a hippie who has been hit over the head by a policeman.’ – Jerry Rubin.

Old Left/New Left diagram

Theodore Roszak, The Making of a Counter Culture.
George Katsiaficas, The Imagination of the New Left.
Jerry Rubin, Do It!
Dan Berger, Outlaws of America.

Cold War suburban USA = advertising-funded corporate television broadcasting.
1950s Beatniks: On The Road; folk music; subtitled films; coffee houses; beat poetry; jazz festivals; pot smoking; abstract art; and existentialist philosophy.
East Coast -> West Coast = folk-rock; LSD; Hells’ Angels; surfing; and mysticism.
1967 Summer of Love: hippie youth subculture in Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco.
‘Tune in, turn on, drop out’: psychedelic consciousness v. straight society.
‘California Dreamin”: Easy Rider; the Grateful Dead; and the Human Be-In.
1960s counter-culture: rock bands; free festivals; alternative newspapers; community radios; video activism; art happenings; and underground films.
1965 Berkeley Barb: off-set printing; cooperative ownership; community noticeboard; reader-journalist-printers.
KPFA in Berkeley: 1940s Quaker pacifists -> 1960s hippie revolutionaries; FM radio; Maoist commune; donation funding; listener-broadcaster-administrators.
Old Left media = 1-way flow of party propaganda -> New Left media = 2-way flows of community creativity.

Tom Wolfe, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.
David Armstrong, Trumpet to Arms.
Peter Lewis and Jerry Booth, The Invisible Medium.
Abbie Hoffman, Woodstock Nation.

Hippie counter-culture = libertarian mores of 1960s youth v. patriarchal bourgeois hegemony = social conformism of 1950s parents.
Revolution of the Mind: ‘the personal is political’ -> ‘the political is personal’.
Youth rebellion in the affluent society = post-scarcity acid anarchism.
Prophecy of Ecotopia: Consciousness I = liberal individualism -> Consciousness II = Fordist discipline -> Consciousness III = hippie collectivism.
Appropriate Technology: Old Left political correctness -> New Left McLuhanism.
Political parties = representative democracy of corporate media ->
Social movements = participatory democracy of the electronic agora.
New Left revolution = diversity of identity politics -> unity within Global Village.
Convergence of media, telecommunications and computing into Net = 2-way communications in alternative media -> cybernetic communism in the USA.
1973 Community Memory; 1974 Computer Lib; 1975 Homebrew Computer Club.

New Left Media Freedom diagram

Charles Reich, The Greening of America.
Jay Stevens, Storming Heaven: LSD and the American dream.
Ted Nelson, Computer Lib.
Shulamith Firestone, The Dialectic of Sex: the case for feminist revolution.

May ’68: American New Left revolution in US-occupied Western Europe.
Swinging London: Beatles -> Rolling Stones -> Pink Floyd -> Led Zeppelin.
English alternative newspapers: Oz; iT; and Black Dwarf = hippie counter-culture + New Left politics + off-set printing + cooperative ownership.
1960s and 1970s Italian Autonomism: Left Communists + Social Catholics + trade union militants -> wildcat strikes and mass protests -> new social movements of youth, women and immigrants -> urban terrorism and police repression.
New Left newspaper-parties: Il Manifesto; Lotta Continua; Autonomia Operaia.
1976 Constitutional Court ruling = collapse of state regulation of airwaves.
Free radio stations: Onde Rosse; Radio Populare Milano; Radio Alice.
Bologna: Eurocommunist city in Third Italy = Old Left reformist ‘wonderland’.
Radio Alice = ‘Mao-dada’ molecular revolution of New Left social movements.
2-way communications of electronic agora = community management + volunteer programme-makers + radio phone-ins -> participatory democracy of ‘immense permanent meeting of the airwaves’ – Félix Guattari.
Schizo-politics: ‘poetico-frenzied speech’ -> realising desire v. Oedipal repression.
1977 live broadcasts of student demonstration -> police raid v. Radio Alice.

Nigel Fountain, Underground.
Richard Neville, Playpower.
John Downing, Radical Media.
Félix Guattari, Molecular Revolution: psychiatry and politics.

Free radio movement in France: 1977 Radio Verte -> 1978 Lorraine Coeur d’Acier -> Radio 93 -> 1979 Fédération Nationale des Radios Libres (FNRL).
Félix Guattari: New Left community radios v. neo-liberal disco radios.
1981 François Mitterrand elected Socialist president of France > legalisation of free radio stations -> Fréquence Libre = New Left station in Paris.
Gilles Deleuze and Michel Foucault: disciplinary societies -> societies of control = Panopticon of prisons, asylums and factories -> computer surveillance, mass media, compulsive consumption and genetic engineering.
Jean Baudrillard: New Left post-industrial revolution = participatory democracy of free radio stations -> electronic agora of the Net.
1982 Minitel = 1st computer network with mass participation: bulletin boards; chat lines; virtual communities; Groupe Eros = Guattari’s on-line activists.
1985 Paris radio ratings: Fréquence Libre = 21st out of 23 stations.
New Left Bolshevism: political censorship of multi-ethnic rappers’ lyrics.
Implosion of Fréquence Libre: boring programmes -> low ratings -> few volunteers -> lack of money -> burn-out of key activists -> bankruptcy.
Capitalist recuperation of 1960s youth rebellion = hippie counter-culture without New Left politics -> Rolling Stone; FM rock format radio; NME; Radio 1.

Gilles Deleuze, Society of Control.
Jean Baudrillard, The Mirror of Production.
Dick Pountain, Cool Rules.

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