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Taking It BigC. Wright Mills and the Making of Political Intellectuals$
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Stanley Aronowitz

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231135412

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231135412.001.0001

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The Structure of Power in American Society

The Structure of Power in American Society

(p.167) 6 The Structure of Power in American Society
Taking It Big

Stanley Aronowitz

Columbia University Press

This chapter details Mills's political radicalization during the last decade of his life. Although he had been an opponent of perhaps the most popular war in U.S. history and always harbored deep suspicions of the powers that be, until the early 1950s it is fair to say that despite his adherence to a “third camp” politics he was far more tolerant of the United States as a liberal democracy than he was of Stalinist regimes. His main political ties were with labor progressives such as J. B. S. Hardman, social democrats such as Hans Gerth, and mildly dissident liberal academics such as Richard Hofstadter, Irving Howe, and Daniel Bell. However, from the publication of The Power Elite in 1956 to his last book, The Marxists, published posthumously in 1962, Mills' project looked forward to the creation of a new Left, one nestled deeply in the American grain of populism—a more egalitarian society marked by radical democracy—but not the American celebration to which many 1930s radicals had given their enthusiastic approbation.

Keywords:   radicalization, radicals, political Left, populism, egalitarianism, The Power Elite

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