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Frank Furedi
January/February 2012

 
(David Smith)
 
 
In 1950s and 1960s New York there flourished a political cult which claimed that it — and it alone — had the answer to all political, philosophical and economic questions. Its adherents, most famously Alan Greenspan, called themselves objectivists and maintained that their guru, the Russian émigré novelist Ayn Rand, was the living embodiment of reason. Those not agreeing with objectivism's conclusions — support for unfettered capitalism, radical individualism and dogmatic atheism — were either evil or stupid, they maintained.

Today in London another political cult is thriving. It too claims to embody reason and shares some of the assumptions of the objectivists. This group too believes that reason is under attack from the uninitiated hordes and that human potential is being denigrated by hostile anti-rationalist ideologies. There are two striking differences — the latter-day cult's origins are to be found on the Trotskyist Left not the individualist Right and its founder is not a best-selling novelist but a Marxist professor of sociology based at the University of Kent at Canterbury.
 
Frank Furedi was born in postwar Hungary, leaving for Canada with his parents after the 1956 uprising. Unlike most Hungarian exiles, the young Furedi was drawn to hard-Left politics, especially after moving to the UK to pursue his graduate studies. He completed his doctorate on the Mau-Mau uprising in Kenya.
 
 
Furedi moved through various Trotskyist organisations until, finding that none quite fitted the bill, he founded his own — the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP).  This new group argued that its many rivals on the Marxist Left were too willing to collaborate with the hard Left of the Labour Party. Furedi, often using his nom-de-guerre Frank Richards, had no time for bourgeois politics even when represented by Tony Benn. Furedi thought other Marxists of the 1970s were much too soft on imperialism and insufficiently supportive of Irish republicanism.  
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Stepfuredi Wife
April 4th, 2012
9:04 AM
Mr Mosbacher -- you are a miserabilist and a misanthrope. The Stepfuredi Wives would not dispatch you to a re-education camp, because that is no longer in accordance with the Eternal Laws of Reason, but be warned: it may become so again. http://franklymrfuredi.wordpress.com/

TDK
February 6th, 2012
12:02 PM
two points 1. The dishonesty claim appears to be, not that they espouse views they disagree with, but that they hide their underlying Marxism or Trotskyism to achieve entryism. This appears a rather weak claim given the continual reminder by people across the spectrum from George Monbiot to this Standpoint article of their past history. "Entryism" is even a section on the Wikipedia Spiked article. If there is a conspiracy it is a conspiracy in open view. 2. Your claim reminds me somewhat of the alliance between the SWP and the Muslim Brotherhood. In the latter case, the comrades assumed that the alliance would give them greater credibility (if only in terms of feet on the ground) and more importantly, that there would be a conveyor belt of converts - people abandoning the "opiate of the people" in favour of secular Marxism. In fact the reverse was true. The Marxists, more and more had to subsume their secularism to the Islamist agenda. I feel the same would inevitably be true of entryists to Libertarian politics. It has long been acknowledge that Individualists are handicapped by their unwillingness to subsume their politics to a collective entity. I'm reminded of the old Jewish Joke: 3 Jews, 4 opinions. In other words, I'm not sure there's any collective body to enter and capture and if such a thing occurred the then most Individualists would quickly leave. Individualism trumps party Loyalty. I'm not sure that anyone's opinion will be changed, particular when the underlying Trotskyism is revealed after a few drinks. After all we all sober up.

Michael Mosbacher
January 24th, 2012
7:01 PM
Thomas S - I am not trying to dismiss every position that Spiked/Institute of Ideas/LM/RCP takes. Indeed on not a few individual issues I would strongly agree with the line that the RCP nexus takes (on others their views are simply disgusting - such as the line they took over Bosnia). My point is rather that Frank Furedi and his followers are profundly dishonest about the nature of their enterprise and what they are about.

Thomas S
January 21st, 2012
3:01 AM
I don't agree with every stance they take on spiked, but they make valid points on free speech, the culture of victimhood, identity politics, multiculturalism, the decline of adult authority, the erosion of community and individual responsibility through state welfarism. You can't just blithely dismiss it all as you have done.

Comrade Furedi
January 18th, 2012
10:01 AM
There's also the national network of salons, promoting 'free debate' that are actually forums to promote RCP ideas and bring susceptible new people into the fold. Michael Mosbacher is quite right - the mention of the Trotskyist faith comes a long time after a long courtship.

Michael James
December 29th, 2011
12:12 PM
Why exactly is Frank Furedi 'overrated'? If he thinks 'we have lost faith in reason and humanity and become fearful of progress', he's dead right. The more we hear of him the better. Thanks for publicising him and his views.

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