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No More Nice GirlsCountercultural Essays$
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Ellen Willis

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816680795

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816680795.001.0001

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Beyond Pluralism

Beyond Pluralism

(p.235) Beyond Pluralism
No More Nice Girls

Ellen Willis

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter examines Jeffrey C. Goldfarb’s views on totalitarianism as spelled out in his book Beyond Glasnost: The Post-Totalitarian Mind. In Beyond Glasnost, Goldfarb explores the cultural and political ferment in Eastern Europe during the 1980s. He presents an argument about how to conceive of and move toward freedom; an argument that could hardly be more relevant to the debates among American radicals. Goldfarb believes that totalitarianism is a distinctive social order that transcends its rightist or putatively leftist content; it is, as he puts it, “best understood as the cultural form necessary for modern tyranny.” He insists on the cultural continuity between Stalinist and post-Stalinist regimes; official truth and Newspeak still reign. But in the absence of terror, the cultural status quo is enforced by means of a process Goldfarb calls “legitimation through disbelief.” The greatest strength of Beyond Glasnost is its vivid and convincing account of the interpenetration of culture and politics.

Keywords:   totalitarianism, Jeffrey C. Goldfarb, Beyond Glasnost, Eastern Europe, freedom, social order, official truth, Newspeak, culture, politics

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