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Radical Philosophy Review

Volume 23, Issue 2, 2020

The Radical Tradition, Politics, and Climate Change

Michael J. Sukhov
Pages 361-388

Herbert Marcuse on Radical Subjectivity and the “New Activism”
Today’s Climate and Black Lives Matter Movements

What forms of collective political action conceivably might offer the best prospects for radical, transformative change in the context of a planet currently in crisis, and characterized by intersecting struggles for environmental, economic, social, and racial justice? The concept of radical subjectivity that Herbert Marcuse developed throughout his life and work can provide social movement theorists, organizations and activists with valuable theoretical and practical resources to identify, encourage, and further develop new and emerging forms of political agency and activism, and thereby contribute to the mobilization of contemporary social movements seeking to address these crises and their underlying causes. This concept, when critically reevaluated and appropriated in light of more recent insights about the nature of subjectivity and political agency as well as in the context of these contemporary struggles, can assist in the development of a theory and practice that might be adequate to address the multiple global crises currently confronting humanity and other forms of life on Earth.

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