Marking Telos 200: The New Politics of Class

October 14, 2022 - October 15, 2022
John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, Queens College/CUNY

25 West 43rd Street, 17th Floor
New York 10036
United States


  • The Telos-Paul Piccone Institute



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In the last fifteen years, the discussion of class has shifted with the rise of the Tea Party and then Trumpism in the United States. Whereas the notion of class used to be a left-wing category championed by socialists, Marxists, and anarchists, the critique of class division has now shifted to right-wing denunciations of the managerial class. This shift toward a populist politics targeting the new class has long been a topic of discussion in Telos, starting with the classic 1975 essay by Alvin Gouldner "Prologue to a Theory of Revolutionary Intellectuals" (in Telos 26) and continuing through Paul Piccone's work in the early 1990s in essays such as "The Crisis of Liberalism and the Emergence of Federal Populism" (in Telos 89) and "Postmodern Populism" (in Telos 103). A search of the Telos archive will uncover literally hundreds of essays that address various aspects of this issue. The recent popularizing of the critique of the new class has led to a conflict between the liberal pursuit of redistributive policies and the expansion of the welfare state, on the one hand, and the populist attempt to disempower governmental managerial elites and dismantle the welfare state, on the other hand. How is the underlying notion of class being defined by the different parties to this debate? What are the political possibilities, both on the left and on the right, that can emerge from the conflict? Is this conflict leading to a new kind of civil war, or can we envision new solutions?

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September 30, 2022, 9:00am EST

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