CPD Left Forum panel: What Are the Lessons of 1989's East European Revolutions for Transformations Today?
" What Are the Lessons of 1989's East European
Transformations Today? "
Campaign for Peace and Democracy Panel at the Left Forum,
New York City March 16–18, 2012
Founded in 1982, the Campaign for Peace and Democracy opposed the Cold War by calling for "detente from below." It engaged Western peace activists in the defense of the rights of democratic dissidents in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and enlisted East–bloc human rights activists against anti–democratic U.S. policies in countries like Nicaragua and Chile.
Today, a little more than two decades after the East European revolutions of 1989, we propose to make a critical assessment of those revolutions through our panel at the Left Forum entitled “What Are the Lessons of 1989's East European Revolutions for Transformations Today?” We invite you to attend the event, which will be held at Pace University in Manhattan, March 17th at 10am in Room W511.
[Please note that the Campaign for Peace and Democracy is sponsoring another panel at the Left Forum, "Should Labor and the Left Propose a Global Green Jobs Alternative to Austerity and Climate Change?" featuring Jeremy Brecher, Greg Albo, Elaine Bernard, and Robert Pollin. Details about this panel can be found on the CPD website.]
We have a group of especially knowledgeable panelists:
- Jan Kavan, Former Czech student leader, Foreign Minister and President of the UN Gen. Assembly. Social democrat
- Antonio Morandi, Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro (CGIL), Italy
- Joanne Landy, Co–Director, Campaign for Peace and Democracy and member of the editorial board of New Politics
- Jeff Goodwin, Professor of Sociology, New York University, with interest in revolutions and social movements
- Chair: Thomas Harrison, Co–Director, Campaign for Peace and Democracy and member of the editorial board of New Politics
(brief panelist bios at the end of this message)
In 1989 many people, East and West, had great expectations for a democratic, progressive, peaceful and prosperous Europe arising out of the collapse of Communism and the end of the Cold War. This panel will explore the reasons why those hopes were not realized.
We will examine the global context in which the dramatic changes of 1989 took place, as well as the political and economic views of those who led and participated in the upheavals that swept across the Soviet bloc. We will discuss the lessons of 1989 for today's revolutions and movements for change in North Africa, the Middle East, China, Europe on both sides of the old Cold War divide, the United States, and elsewhere. Can we avoid repeating a history of disappointment?
More information about the Left Forum is available on their website. For more information about the Campaign for Peace and Democracy, where you will read about CPD's opposition to U.S. wars against Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and elsewhere, and our support for democratic struggles in Bahrain, Iran, Syria, Egypt and around the globe, see our website.
Brief Panelist Bios
Jan Kavan was born in 1946 in London. Czech student leader of the 1960s, emigrated to England in 1969. Founded Palach Press as the press agency for Charter 77. Editor of quarterly East European Reporter. 1989 returned to Prague. Elected to Parliament. Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister (1998–2002). President of the UN General Assembly (2002–3). Member, Executive Board of European Leadership Network for Multilateral Disarmament; Member, Academic Council of Gorbachev's New Policy Forum.
Antonio Morandi is a journalist working for the Italian General Trade–Union Confederation (CGIL) in Rome, for which he follows the politics of Central and Eastern Europe. He is a member of the Pan European Regional Council, Brussels, which groups 88 European union organizations. He also tracks the European Social Forum, the Joint Social Conference and relations with European movements and networks. He is chief editor of the CGIL's newsletter and that of its left platform (Lavoro Società).
Joanne Landy is Co–Director of the Campaign for Peace and Democracy and a member of the editorial board of New Politics. As CPD Co–Director, Landy traveled frequently to Eastern Europe in the 1980's. She helped mobilize U.S. peace and labor activists in defense of East bloc dissidents, and enlisted East bloc dissidents in campaigns against U.S. policy in Chile, Nicaragua and elsewhere.
Jeff Goodwin is Professor of Sociology at New York University. His interests include revolutions and social movements. He has conducted research in Central America, the Philippines, South Africa, and Ireland. He is author of No Other Way Out: States and Revolutionary Movements, 1945–1991 (Cambridge, 2001), and coeditor of Contention in Context (Stanford, 2012), The Social Movements Reader (Wiley–Blackwell, 2009) and Passionate Politics (Chicago, 2001).
Thomas Harrison is Co–Director of the Campaign for Peace and Democracy and a member of the editorial board of the socialist journal, New Politics. He has written about U.S. foreign policy and domestic politics, the history of the left, and the wars in former Yugoslavia, among other subjects.