Marcuse on revolutionary despair

An excerpt of a letter written in 1969 by German critical theorist Herbert Marcuse to his colleague Theodor W. Adorno on the German student movement and the prospects for revolution then1:

“We know (and they know) that the [present] situation is not a revolutionary one, not even a prerevolutionary one. But this same situation is so terrible, so suffocating and demeaning, that rebellion against it forces a biological, physiological reaction: one can bear it no longer, one is suffocating and one has to let some air in […]. And I would despair about myself (us) if I (we) would appear to be on the side of a world that supports mass murder in Vietnam, or says nothing about it, and which makes a hell of any realms that are outside the reach of its own repressive power.”


1The correspondence in full can be accessed here


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