Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952408 | Print ISBN: 9781412904094 | Online ISBN: 9781412952408| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
THE NEW LEFT was both a product of, and contributed to, the tremendous political upheavals that shook the United States in the 1960s. The New Left derives its name in contradistinction to the Old Left, which consisted of established Marxist parties such as the Communist Party. Many young people who became active in the 1960s considered these parties dogmatic and irrelevant. A variety of issues, most importantly the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War, gave rise to the New Left. In the early 1960s, the core of the New Left was noncommunist, anti-war, and anti-state. Young activists read C. Wright Mills, Herbert Marcuse, and Erich Fromm, not Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, or Vladimir Lenin. However, by the late 1960s, their political experiences radicalized them; a significant sector of the New Left looked to Marxism to explain the world and the capitalist system they opposed. The civil rights movement inspired ...