We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Memory and the Radical Imagination

Click here to access the 51:41m audio interview with Max Haiven, an assistant professor of cultural studies in Nova Scotia from radio station KPFA, Berkeley, California.

Max Haiven
(The following commentary was slightly modified at 9:40 PM PST.)
I could really relate to this discussion of the "radical imagination" because I experienced it in the 1960s and early 70s. It was such an exciting time. We questioned everything, and felt that everything was possible. By contrast this period we are now living seems so false, so dead, so pitiful. (Whenever I see small children in my neighborhood, I worry for their future.) This wonderful experience of my youth has haunted me ever since, and I always yearn for this kind of experience to return to the US in the form of a vibrant subculture that can challenge the domination imposed on all of us by the neoliberal ruling class. It's not clear to me how much this sort of imagining is happening now. There are definitely signs of hope that are inspired by people like Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, and Edward Snowden. But we need far more people to question and to act, now more than ever before.

Because the "radical imagination" and our memory of things past are such major threats to the ruling establishment, they have made an enormous effort to kill them through their control of major indoctrination agencies--education, media, and entertainment. This is so because as stated by Professor Haiven, "the way we remember the past always shapes what we think is possible in the future". The capitalist ruling class doesn't want us to believe that our future can be anything other than this neoliberal nightmare.

I highly recommend listening to this interview.

P.S. Important mention is made of the book entitled May '68 and Its Afterlives by Kristin Ross.