A panel discussion held at Oregon State University on April 25, 2019. The discussion was moderated by Andony Melathopoulos.
Charles Maughan, Our Revolution Corvallis Allies
Nathaniel Owen, Heart of the Valley DSA
William Smaldone, author of "European Socialism: A Concise History With Documents"
Reform, Revolution, Resistance - how do these relate for the Left historically, what do these terms mean today, and how can they help us understand the obstacles and opportunities for building a Left adequate to the 21st Century?
For example, what might we make of recent phenomena such as Bernie Sanders call for "political revolution" leading up to the 2016 primaries, Hillary Clinton (post-2016) lending her support to the "resistance" against Trump and the current moment when avowed socialists in the Democratic Party are calling for reforms, most prominently a Green New Deal?
Also, how are these phenomenon related or distinct to other political actors who claim to also be fighting "the establishment", from Trump in the US to the Gilles Jaune (yellow vest) on the streets in France.
Against this backdrop, there appears to be the legacy of the 20th Century, namely the the mid-century welfare reforms in industrialized countries, the rolling back of these reforms under neoliberalism (beginning in the 1980s) and the resistance to neoliberal austerity (e.g., the alter-globalization movement in the 1990s and more recently after the downturn of 2008). In contrast, the legacy of revolution appears obscure, as exemplified by the muted response to the 100th Anniversary of the defeat of the German Revolution (1919).
We ask panelists to look forward and backwards in order to understand what revolution, reform and resistance mean for their politics today, the extent to which the past bears on the present and what how their understanding of these categories factor into how they view the future.