BETWEEN HOPE AND DISILLUSION: 1989 THIRTY YEARS ON
The year 1989 was a watershed moment in world history. Communist parties lost their grip on power across Eastern Europe, helping to mobilize national movements in the Soviet Union and contributing to its collapse two years later. In China a similar challenge to the hegemony of its communist party instead ended with a bloody confrontation and massacre of protesters near Tiananmen Square. On the other side of the globe, 1989 marked the end of the rule of the Western-backed dictator of Chile, Augusto Pinochet, while in South Africa the new government of F. W. de Klerk was forced to begin to dismantle Apartheid. This was a year of mass uprisings and renewed hope for democratic change.
Looking back on the events of 1989, however, have these hopes been realized? Across Eastern Europe today, disillusion with the European Union and frustration with growing inequality has led to the rise of far-right populists. Russia is once more under an authoritarian ruler. In Chile and Hong Kong protesters have again taken to the streets in the hundreds of thousands. Meanwhile, in South Africa, the Marikana massacre and ongoing corruption scandals have fostered disillusionment with the heroes of the anti-Apartheid struggle, the African National Congress.
How did the events of 1989 shape our current world? How have the hopes of this year fared over the three subsequent decades? In short, what of 1989 is worth commemorating today? Join us to mark the thirtieth anniversary of this momentous year and to reflect on its legacy.
Speakers include: Tyrus Miller, Susan Morrissey, Jeff Wasserstrom, Heidi Tinsman and Laura Mitchell.