This yearв??s conference theme demands that we first address the questions, в??Who needs to be mobilized, and mobilized to do what?в?ќ This panel will begin the discussion through an examination of the fundamental attitudinal question: are the masses of people в??backwardв?ќ and in need of having their в??consciousness raisedв?ќ? That traditional view implies that the left must teach people to want to transform the world and take them along step by step. If, however, the impediment is not workersв?? consciousness, but rather the leftв??s presuppositions and elitism, then the left needs to re-think and re-organize its theory and practice.
Our panel has diverse views. One presenter will discuss Lukacsв?? formulation of Marxism as the consciousness of the working class. Another will challenge the prevalent leftist view of consumerism as a simply a product of capitalism. One will discuss why the leftв??s indifference to mass psychology has created an opening for the Right. Some may argue that the leftв??s role is to lead, with a resultant focus on methods of spreading left ideas and building organizations. At least one will argue that it is the left which needs to be transformed so it can build a new relationship to mass movements, creating an interchange of ideas and information without elitism and presuppositions, and stressing the need to develop ideas with the workers.