The 1970s are usually passed over as the decade in which the social and political upheavals of the 1960s New Left were overwhelmed by a conservative tide. What is forgotten is that the 1970s were also a time of tremendous growth on the Left, most notably in the New Communist Movement. In Quebec thousands of members joined groups intent on forming a new national Communist party. In cities like Halifax and Vancouver activists formed smaller collectives in an effort to "get serious" about their Leftism. The period marked a reconsideration of Marxism and working class politics on a scale that has not been seen since.
What is the legacy of this movement today? Why did it emerge and what lead to its stunning decline in the early 1980s? As activist prepare for the next phase of Occupy is there anything to learn from this experience?
A panel discussion held on May 29, 2010 at the second Platypus International Convention at SAIC.
The late 1960s and early 1970s witnessed the rise of a new militancy and sectarianism on the Left. Whether in the case of the Black Panthers, the Weather Underground, the Gay Liberation Front, or many other currents on the Left, developments from that time did much to shape the New Left's legacy as it comes down to the present. This panel seeks to move beyond the usual antinomies of unity versus fragmentation and idealism versus sectarianism that typically shape the discussion of the political trajectories of the period. Instead, it will attempt to grasp these turn of the decade developments as the results of long-standing problems inherited and confronted, yet ultimately abandoned and left unresolved by the New Left.