This chapter traces the evolution of New Left thought from the late 1970s. It
illustrates how deconstructionism and critical theory moved out of
revolutionary idealism and into politics. From the 1980s the promotion of
abstract human rights, radical democracy, social justice and post-national
constellations acquired a distinctive Maoist and Frankfurt School infused
edge. Somewhat differently, the 1970s also witnessed a new, critical,
post-colonial discourse theory, the harbinger of attempts to decolonize
western thought and culture. Out of deconstruction, via Mao and Fanon,
post-colonialists adapted privileged first world thinkers like Derrida,
Deleuze and Foucault to the needs of the silenced, non-western subaltern
identity. This too had implications for an updated version of Maoism in
China from the 1990s and for further exposing the contradictions at the core
of western liberalism and progressivism. These developments came together in
an all-purpose western version of cultural revolution and alter
globalization in the second decade of the twenty first century.
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