Loren Goldner’s Website

I recommend Loren Goldner’s website: “Break Their Haughty Power.” [The site is no longer accessible; see note below.] Loren’s perspective might generally be characterized as ultraleftist, but he has a broader cultural awareness than most ultraleftists and more familiarity with the situationists (he translated a couple SI books back in the 1970s).

The site has only been up a couple months, but it already includes a wide-ranging collection of texts he has written over the last three decades — a book on the 1974-1977 radical struggles in Portugal and Spain; a critical appreciation of the Indian group Kamunist Kranti (known in the West for their booklet “A Ballad Against Work”); critiques of postmodernism and “multiculturalism”; and articles on Marx, Bordiga, the 1960s’ impact on literature, and last year’s WTO protest in Seattle. There are a number of convergences with my own writings, all the more interesting because they have been arrived at independently. Two of his articles (“The Renaissance and Rationality” and “Afro-Anabaptist-Indian Fusion”) help clarify one of the factors underlying the European situationists’ blindspot regarding religion which I discussed in The Realization and Suppression of Religion; and his interview with a participant in a little-known radical situation in the Boston area illustrates some of the points I made in chapter 3 of The Joy of Revolution.

The only text that I found more trouble than it was worth was the book-length piece on the “Restructuring of Global Capital.” Though it may be a reflection of my relative ignorance in this area, it seems to me that the pertinent points could have been presented more clearly and far more briefly. While there may be some value in refuting sophisticated economic ideologists on their own terrain, in practice most economic debate only serves to muddle the issues and to intimidate people, giving them the impression that everything hinges on the obscure workings of “the economy.” As Marx himself stressed, people make their own history, even if they are obliged to make it within the material limits of the society in which they find themselves. Moreover, as I noted in “The Joy of Revolution”: “Fortunately, we no longer have to worry about this question. Whatever possibilities there may or may not have been in the past, present material conditions are more than sufficient to sustain a global classless society.” The fact that the present social order is dominated by the economy does not mean that our revolt against that order must also be dominated by it. Loren himself does not fall for that common fallacy, but his partial acceptance of the style and terrain of leftist-academic discourse may sometimes give that impression.

Some of Loren’s articles are a bit dated; others are previously unpublished manuscripts that he is in the process of reworking; and they could all use some more careful proofreading. But there’s not a single text at his site from which I didn’t learn something new and interesting. There are very few websites about which I can say that.

September 2000


2005: Since this recommendation was posted many years ago, Loren has added numerous other texts to his site. The quality remains high.

December 2023: I haven’t been in touch with Loren for the last year or two, but I just learned that his website “Break Their Haughty Power” is no longer functioning. Loren’s other more recent site, Insurgent Notes, is still there, with numerous articles by him and his like-minded comrades during the period from 2010 to 2022, but it does not seem to have been updated since January 2023. The last time I talked with him he mentioned that he was having some health issues, though he did not go into detail. During the last couple weeks I have been unable to reach him via either phone or email. . . .

February 2024: A mutual friend reports that Loren stopped maintaining his website some time ago. He and his wife are now living in an assisted-living facility.