Springer should correct his erroneous view from “hindsight” as to what actually happened in radical circles in North America after 1969. We were a very diverse group, free to be radical in any way we wanted. The written record is much more biased initially to Marxism and anti-imperialism (reflecting understandable preoccupations with the Vietnam War), for reasons I have already stated, and the voices of women and minority groups often had difficulty being heard even though there was no specific hegemonic faction (as opposed to influential individuals). The idea that I “solidified what Folke had considered obligatory” (Springer, 2014: 250) is way off the mark. There was a brief period in the late 1970s when many geographers explored the Marxist alongside other radical options. But by 1982, when I published Limits to Capital (a book I had worked on for nearly ten years), that was pretty much all over. By 1987 I was venting my frustrations at the widespread rejection of Marxist theoretical perspectives. “Three myths in search of a reality in urban studies,” published in Society and Space , was greeted with strong criticism from both friends and foes alike. In retrospect the piece looks all too accurate in what it foretold.
Plato’s deep mistrust of democracy was no doubt in part a product of experience. As a young man he saw the citizens of Athens, under the influence of demagogues, back ill-advised military campaigns that ultimately led to the Spartan victory over the city in 404 . After democracy was reestablished following the Spartan occupiers’ departure in 403 ., he witnessed the Athenian people’s vote to execute its wisest citizen, Socrates. Popper as a young man had also witnessed the collapse of democracy, in his native Austria and throughout Europe. But he drew very different lessons from that experience. For him, democracy remained a bulwark against tyranny, not its handmaiden. For reasons explained in the next section, Popper held that by rejecting democracy Plato’s system destroyed not only individual freedom but also the conditions for social, political, scientific and moral progress.