Why Do Popular Movements Vanish? And Do They Have To?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Pearl Studios, 500 Eighth Ave. (35-36 St), Mahn., Room 403, or by teleconference

Marxist-Humanist Initiative invites you to a two-part exploration of the recent history of failed revolts, and the questions they raise for the future.

Wednesdays May 22 and June 26 at 7:00 p.m.

You can attend in person: Pearl Studios, 500 Eighth Avenue (35-36 Streets), Manhattan, Room 403

Or by telephone: write us to obtain the conference call number, or for other information: mhi@marxisthumanistinitiative.org

Why do popular movements fail and die? Is the problem as simple as their not having the “right ideas” or the “right form of organization,” as many people say--both vanguardists and anarchists? We don’t think so. As Hegel said, all beginnings are defective; the problem is not that radical movements don’t immediately succeed, but that the lack of immediate success causes them to vanish instead of reorganize. This “stopping dead” results from lack of a concept and process for collective review, re-thinking, and re-direction, i.e., the lack of objective grounds from which new beginnings in thought and activity can arise.

We will look at the facts and implications of some high points and vanishings of mass movements in the 1960s (such as the near-revolution in France in 1968), the 1980s (the multi-million strong anti-nuke movement), and 2000s (the anti-war and Occupy movements). And we will face the questions raised by their trajectories. Eschewing romantic defeatism, we will try to learn some lessons for the future.

Speakers will include veterans of 50 years of movement struggles—those of us who want to work out what the 20th century philosopher Raya Dunayevskaya termed “new beginnings that determine the end.”

People attending should check our web journal, “With Sober Senses” http://www.marxisthumanistinitiative.org/our-publication for pre-meeting discussion and a list of recommended readings.