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The Left at War$
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Michael F. Bérubé

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780814799840

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814799840.001.0001

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On Time

(p.1) Introduction
The Left at War

Michael Bérubé

NYU Press

This introductory chapter presents three important strands of recent leftist thought that underlie the left’;s responses to U.S. foreign policy or to the world since 9/11. The first involves a kind of postcolonial bad conscience about criticizing such things as the Iranian persecution of gay men or the Taliban’;s treatment of women, on the grounds that such criticism serves U.S. propaganda purposes and replays the imperialist script of white men saving brown women from brown men—or saving brown gay men, as the case may be. The second strand involves a mode of belief, which is the work of a countercultural left that sees popular politics as a game rigged by corporations and the process of winning popular consent as a form of “selling out.” The last strand entails a radical trust of modern ideas of liberal democracy and the Enlightenment tradition on which they rest.

Keywords:   leftist thought, U.S. foreign policy, 9/11, U.S. propaganda, imperialism, countercultural left, popular politics, liberal democracy, Enlightenment tradition

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