Actions and Detail Panel
The will of the people? Revolutionary legacies, reactionary manipulations
Thu, 1 Jun 2017, 09:00 – Fri, 2 Jun 2017, 17:00 BST
Debates about the nature and value of democracy and of popular sovereignty have returned to the centre of political discussion in recent years and over the past year in particular. Right-wing or extreme right-wing groups claiming to champion 'the will of the people' have established themselves all over the world, from Venezuela to Finland, and have taken or consolidated power by various means in places as different as the USA, Turkey, Russia, the UK, and Poland. These recent re-appropriations of the phrase, however, cannot erase its revolutionary origins and implications. Popular sovereignty is indissociable from the effective formulation and imposition of the people's will, and democracy remains an empty word unless it affirms the power of ordinary people to prevail over any form of privileged interest or ruling class.
This conference aims to address some of the central questions that have become so divisive in contemporary political struggles, and to review some of the most significant revolutionary sequences that sought to empower a genuinely egalitarian and inclusive collective will to political change - from the French and Russian Revolutions to recent mobilisations in parts of the Middle East and Latin America.
- Gilbert Achcar (SOAS)
- Peter Hallward (Kingston)
- Lars Lih (McGill)
- Marisa Linton (Kingston)
- Karma Nabulsi (Oxford)
- Yves Sintomer (Paris VIII; Harvard)
- Jeffery Webber (Queen Mary)
- Jessica Whyte (Western Sydney)