In the beginning was defeat. Anyone who wishes to understand the nature of contemporary critical thinking must start from this fact.
From the second half of the 1970s, the protest movements born in the late 1950s, but which were inheritors of much older movements, went into decline. The reasons are various: the oil shock of 1973 and the reversal of the ‘long wave’ of the trente glorieuses; the neo-liberal offensive with the election of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan in 1979 and 1980; the capitalist turn in China under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping; the decline of old forms of working-class solidarity; the Left’s ascension to power in France in 1981 and, with it, ministerial prospects encouraging the conversion of leftist militants who had distinguished themselves in May 1968; the definitive loss of credibility of the Soviet and Chinese blocs; and so on and so forth. [...]