30 Years of 1989: The end of history? (Corvallis, 10.17.19)
Sarah Henderson - Author of Building Democracy in Contemporary Russia
Adam Lunceford - Heart of the Valley Democratic Socialists of America
GL Morrison - Oregon Communist Party
William Smaldone - Author of European Socialism: A Concise History
1989 is largely remembered as a decisive close to the Cold War contest between communism and capitalism—with the victory of the latter casting a seemingly damning verdict against Marxism as a form of politics. The planned economies based on collectivized property of these states were indicted as failures, and their totalitarian regimes called into question the very notion of working class rule. The fall of communism thus profoundly affected the Left’s ability to imagine the overcoming of capitalism, and the possibility of a classless society beyond it. But in passing into history, the meaning of 1989 can also be reconsidered. The panel will use this anniversary to reassess the question of how 1989 weighs on the present. What is the significance of 1989 in its historical context, and what is its relevance for Left politics today?