The philosophical roots of Ocasio-Cortez

Can an airhead be said to have "philosophical roots"? The answer is clearly yes, even in cases where there is no sign of immersion in the world of ideas.  Airheads mouth ideas that they received in classrooms, at meetings, or even on street corners, from people who do read books, or often from people who hear about people who read books a long time ago.  Consider how many versions of "vulgar Marxism" have animated tyrants and wannabe tyrants.  The ideas of Karl Marx, whose voluminous prose is rarely read by his adherents, have killed millions.

My friend Mark J. Fitzgibbons has discovered one of the sources of the thinking that the bug-eyed beauty from the Bronx regurgitates, accompanied by abundant use of the word "like."  He emails:

To understand AOC and this movement, one need look no further than the Marxist Andre Gorz.  I've read only his Ecology As Politics, which I read from my sister's bookshelf from her Brandeis U days.

Gorz (his pen name) is anti-capitalist, anti-material consumption, and pro-population control.

He was a critic of the work ethic.

It's about transformation:


André Gorz (1923–2007), a leading theorist of the French left, argued that the ecological reconstruction of society required a transformation of its political culture and economic basis. This case is made in his influential 1978 volume Ecology as Politics and developed in subsequent books and articles discussing the link between alienated labour, technocratic ideology and environmental destruction. His work’s critical and emancipatory vision reflects the synthesis of Marxist, existentialist and ecological elements. Gorz advocated a reduction in heteronomous labour and a corresponding expansion in the sphere of autonomy, supported by the distribution of society’s wealth among all its members in the form of a guaranteed social income. The present article (originally published in 2007 in Entropia, the theoretical and political journal of the French degrowth movement) offers a detailed account of Gorz’s work, highlighting its pertinence to ecological politics. It concludes by summarising his last writings, in which he argued that the recent crises of capitalism showed that it was more than ever necessary to realise the productive powers of twenty-first-century technology not by expanding still further the manufacture and sale of commodities, but by creating a social and economic order in which goods and work would be provided for the common good.

Sounds like Ocasio-Cortez, all right.