Problems Needing Analysis and Answers

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1. Historically, the working class was considered the Agency for revolutionary change. How do we assess the question of Agency today?

2. What IS the working class, or the working classes? Many radicals in the 1960s concluded that working people were hopelessly co-opted, not only in their pro-capitalist leadership, but by the broad, decisive success of consumerism. Is this the case today?

3. Mass media are generally thought to have hegemonic authority in present-day society. Is this so, and if so, what can be done about it?

4. Most people in present-day America (i.e. on the left) appear to agree that some kind of reform to lead to real change. Is this a realistic expectation? If not, why not?

5. Much of what passes for education in the schools is in the grip of a mindless bureaucracy. If this is so, what concretely, can be done about it?

6. The Occupy movement believed that engagement with politics (legislators, Congress, etc.) was futile because it was inevitably in the hands of the rich and powerful. Is this so, and if so, why? If not, what can be achieved in the legislative arena?

7. What kinds of people-based organizations are needed (labor unions, co-operatives, community, work-based (employee-owned, etc.)?

8. Banks were at the center of the economic crisis of 2008 and after. Can reforms (regulation, etc.) change this? If not, what should we aim at?

9. Some argue that the various crises America faces can only be understood in the context of broad social decay, and that such a decline is a feature of the course of Empire. If this is so, is a reversal of decadence even possible, or are we destined for some kind of collapse like the Roman Empire?

10. Are there examples of Empires which successfully reversed course? Britain and France come to mind, but can we perceive such a reversal in their historical experience?

11. Many radicals argue that the Democratic Party is just as capitalist as the Republicans. Is this so, and if so, what grounds can be argued for participation in that Party?

12. Is it realistic for intellectuals to engage in strategic initiatives, with any hope of success? If so, what expectations of success are possible? If not, do we still have responsibilities?

13. Gramsci wrote of “pessimism of the intelligence, optimism of the will.” What about optimism of the intelligence?

Please contact us to share your existing work on the issues listed here or to contribute to these analyses.