The Young Radicals: A Symposium

The Young Radicals: A Symposium

When I was asked to summarize in a few pages my general reaction to this symposium I assumed that this would be an easy task. In fact I have been trying for several hours to discern common themes to which I might address myself. But what is there in common 159 between, say, Robert Wolff, for whom the struggle for integration, against HUAC or against capital punishment, has nothing to do with radicalism, and Jeremy Lamer who says he is a radical because as a child he found himself in a world of lies?

Perhaps, however, this wide variety of response is one of the very characteristics of the new radicalism. Perhaps it derives not from a theory, as did the old, but from a wide arc of individual responses to a common mood. But one cannot discuss a mood in the same manner as a theory; one is either with it or one isn’t. Being imprecise by definition, a mood lends itself with difficulty to analysis. Let me try nevertheless to set down a few reactions.

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Lima