Herbert Marcuses Messianic Humanism:
Politics of the New Left
HERBERT MARCUSE, a radical theoretician of the New Left movement, shot into prominence in the 1960's in the wake of student unrest in the US, France and Italy. In Italy, he was hailed as one of the "3 M's" (Marx-Mao-Marcuse). Despite the fact that the student unrest, at least for the present, has subsided, his radicalism continues to be a source of inspiration to the followers of the New Left movement. Marcuse's basic contention is that political domination and economic exploitation pale into insignificance before instinctual repression in advanced industrial societies. How then to ensure liberty in the face of technical rationality? His answer lies not in managing the civilization but in transcending it. In order to grasp the full import of his theoretical construction, it is necessary to discuss the dominant contours of the New Left movement, his historical perspective on the present predicament and interpretation of Freudian psychoanalysis.
As for the New Left movement, it does not have any coherent ideology. It has emerged at the confluence of various streams of thought: Maoism, existentialism, neo-anarchism, Surrealistic thought and neo-Marxism tinged with Freudian psychoanalysis. Despite the fact that the constellation of its ideas presents an inchoate pattern, certain dominant contours can be identified. In