October 3

Forums Homework 4: October 3 October 3

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    • #1188 Reply
      Sheila Gallagher
      Keymaster
      Each student is to read the selected readings and bring a short answer to these two prompt questions to class for discussion in groups – along with a concrete contemporary example (local, national or global) of what you would ideally like to protest.
      • Questions:
        • Is ‘Power to Imagination’ a realistic slogan of protest?
        • Is protest more than refusal? Does protest need to supplement negation with affirmation? Resistance with utopia?
    • #1191 Reply
      James Cacciola
      Guest

      Power to Imagination is a viable slogan for protest because it allows individuals to challenge the current political or societal system. Without the freedom to imagine individuals seeking to protest would not be able to articulate their dissatisfaction. By empowering imagination, the protests of 1968 encouraged individuals to shape their reality by means of imagination. This strategy does have limits though. Marcuse notes that protesters are often confronted to articulate a “concrete alternative.” However this is impossible because the “blueprint of the specific institutions and relationships which would be those of the new society … cannot be determined a priori; they will develop, in trial and error, as the new society develops.” Thus imagination can allow protesters to take the first step of challenging authority, but it can only take them so far.
      In this sense protest is more than mere refusal in that it must present some sort of alternative in order to be effective, but as Marcuse says it does not need to present a full “blueprint” of exactly how the success of the protests will shape society. There needs to be some idea of an alternative, but not necessarily a fully thought out utopia.

      • #1201 Reply
        Terence O’Brien
        Guest

        1. Power to Imagination is a realistic slogan of protest, and I couldn’t think of a phrase more fitting for those who want to bring about societal transformation. In my German Modernism course, we have just started reading Pinthus “Dawn of Mankind” anthology. The collection is widely accepted as the “Bible for expressionist poetry”. In the introduction, Pinthus explains what makes this a collection, and he offers more significant reasons than simply time, place, common themes, etc. He chooses to include all early 20th century poets in Germany who were willing to break from convention—he was inclined to select the workings of men and women who followed their imaginations and intuitions. It boils down to a group of poets who distorted the concepts of reality, existence, and knowledge that had previously been widely accepted in objective ways. This caused a change in mood, an influx of new ideas, and a transformation towards a more subjective and artistic society—and it all stems from the mind. We cannot profoundly alter social systems if we do not imagine different modes of operation. Change needs galvanization, legislation, persuasion, and an offering of new practices (among other things) to be effective—and that all requires pragmatic action. Nonetheless, the roots of change are grounded in the imagination—everything else stems from there. Marcuse says as much, ultimately arguing that a redefining of values and beliefs must take place to escape the normalized production-consumption system.
        2. I think that effective protest evolves to become something more than refusal, but often it materializes from the simple act of refusal. As we’ve learned extensively throughout this course, all it took to create a momentous movement against the Vietnam War was refusal—people saw on their TV screens and read in the newspapers what was happening, they said ‘this is not right’, and they spread that message. The same can be said about police brutality in Chicago. As Don Rose famously said, “Tell them they can’t get away with it again because the whole world’s watching”. Even today the movement against police brutality is still gathering momentum—it’s a long, treacherous path to justice. And if the results don’t seem promising (Nixon’s election, police brutality still pertinent), that just means more people need to receive the message, more people need to refuse the persisting injustices, and only then can affirmation of change enter the picture.

    • #1192 Reply
      Ziyang Xiang
      Guest

      I think it could be a realistic slogan. This slogan challenged the viewpoint, the baseline, the “normal” of the older generations. And the power to imagine becomes a meaningful first step. It does not demand viewers, or the people, to do anything big yet. Just to imagine more and differently. In such a way, people can be motivated more effectively, as emotions move people more easily than orders.

      I believe protest should be more than refusal, while protest does not necessarily supplement negation with affirmation.
      The protest could be just refusal in the first place like Marcuse notes “the refusal with which the opposition confronts the existing society is affirmative in that it envisages a new culture which fulfills the humanistic promises betrayed by the old culture.” It is a refusal movement of what was promised.
      Sometimes, I view other protests as a way to avoid a bigger conflict, kind of like a Cold War between the people and the government. There are always problems in a country and people are, from time to time, becoming critical, or angry, of some of those problems. In such way, protest becomes a tunnel for communal emotions

    • #1193 Reply
      Chris Zhang
      Guest

      Is ‘Power to Imagination’ a realistic slogan of protest?
      Is protest more than refusal? Does protest need to supplement negation with affirmation? Resistance with utopia?

      When we consider the avenues opened up by the ability to imagine, the “Power to Imagination” is effective as a slogan for protest as it embodies the capacity for change – the capacity to be what the present state is not through the endless ‘other’ of the imagined states. It has a sort of rallying cry to it: We can use our power of imagination to imagine a society that is better, a society that is more just, and altogether a society that is unlike that with which we are currently unsatisfied. Certainly, “Power to Imagination” isn’t necessarily realistic by itself for it does not propose any marked direction or tangible logistics by which protest can move towards, but it definitely may serve as a precursor to these more corporeal aspects of revolution – and so I do consider it to be realistic as an impetus.

      Protest is undeniably more than just negation. A protest that seeks only to negate and not to implement directed change is tantamount to anarchy. When one protests (possibly alongside the slogan of “Power to Imagination”) I do necessarily believe that they protest with their imagined new future in mind. Affirmation of the new is important to effective protest as it not only serves as a vision by which the day-to-day of revolution can be set towards but also as an important motive for protest: a reason for people to rise up. That being said, I do not believe that the revolutionary must necessarily hold a vision for utopia. No matter how noble or how widespread revolt can be, utopia cannot be achieved in a single fell swoop and so realism must remain in the mind. Resistance with tangible goals and with realistic horizons add to the definition of proper protest.

    • #1194 Reply
      Amy Gately
      Guest

      I think power to imagination is indeed a realistic slogan of protest. Protest is only possible when people are interested in improving society, and to be interested in doing so people must be able to imagine a society in which the thing they are protesting does not exist. Marcuse spoke about imagining a society not based on the capitalist conceptions our society has developed, which is impossible to picture without the power to imagine something better. This does of course have drawbacks because it is hard to imagine all the aspects of the imagined alternatives, however power to imagination is a key starting point of all protests. The power to imagination is an important first step in any protest, but I’d argue it is helpful to elaborate as well, with more specific aspects relevant to the actual issues at hand.

      All protests are more than refusals because in order to protest something, protesters must have a more idealistic view that they think their protest will help achieve. So while many protests are refusals to participate in a system or are denouncements of things seen as unjust, protest action is based in idealism that wants to achieve a world that would be considered to be better without the thing being protested. I’d argue that any resistance is routed in a utopia, and part of that utopia is that the thing being protested does not exist in a more perfect world. While protesters can be mislead sometimes, their central goal of achieving a more perfect world is universal in their view.

    • #1195 Reply
      Evan Kielmeyer
      Guest

      I believe ‘Power to Imagination’ is a realistic slogan. In protest, there must be some sense of an ultimate goal, a look to the future. A slogan as simple as ‘Power to Imagination’ casts a wide net. The slogan tells protestors to think past their capitalist created needs (as Marcuse describes them). By giving power to your imagination you are free to think and create whatever you want without restraint. You are free to explore the ‘new sensibility’ that Marcuse writes about and achieve liberation.

      This slogan affirms that protests must be more than refusal. A protest cannot stop at negation. If a protest focuses strictly on negation, even if they succeed they will have no say in what replaces that which they’ve negated. By pairing negation with affirmation, a protest becomes multistaged. Protestors must fight for the negation of a certain system, and then promote what changes need to be made. Including utopia with resistance gives those protesting something to work towards. They must push through negation to achieve their ultimate goal. Although not all protestors may agree on what utopia looks like, the idea of a better world on the other side of negation serves as a uniting force.

    • #1197 Reply
      Hyun Ji Yim
      Guest

      “Power to Imagination” is a realistic slogan as showcases the rationale suppressing the imagination in the current capitalist society we live in today. Herbert Marcuse exemplifies this reaction when rebellious art, literature, and music become repressed, subdued, and mediated by the market. By freeing imagination, people can freely express their concerns and the meanings within their mediums. The slogan represents a new revision from the status quo to a more equal society, shifting the power from the “haves” to the “have-nots”.

      Protest is more than refusal, because they symbolize the need for changes in a society and the solutions to resolve certain issues. Protest movements depend not only on addressing the common problem, who the problem results from, but also solutions that the movement agreed upon. Thus, negation and affirmation are two sides of the same coin in a successfully organized protest. Although I am not sure if I fully understood Marcuse’s view of utopia in protest, I agree that a successful social movement maintains the same vision in solving the issues at hand (or else why would someone join a specific movement against the many others). I believe utopia may be too extreme as most protesters are reformers, rather than radicals. Successful protests promote change but do not step too far against the status quo or the unfamiliar. Often they are the medium between these limits.

    • #1198 Reply
      Stephanie Liu
      Guest

      The slogan “Power to the Imagination,” is indeed a realistic slogan for protest, as without imagination, protestors would lack the capacity to believe in something better than the status quo, thus rendering obsolete the need to protest. Only through imagination do people have the potential to exceed what they have already created, and to overturn accepted norms require a tremendous breakthrough, only achievable through the power of imagination. The imagination is a powerful tool–”unifying sensibility and reason, becomes “productive” as it becomes practical: a guiding force in the reconstruction of reality.”

      Protests arise because of the hope of something better–a problem that people see need to be solved. To simply deny a problem is not enough; the purpose of protest is to fix that problem. A protest with only language of denial and negation is not an effective protest, as it does not offer the alternative to the status quo. Protests should convey hope of future prosperity, and only with language of affirmation, does the protest become strong and persuasive.

    • #1199 Reply
      Rose Kuo
      Guest

      Is ‘Power to Imagination’ a realistic slogan of protest?
      Is protest more than refusal? Does protest need to supplement negation with affirmation? Resistance with utopia?

      Power to Imagination is a useful slogan of protest that enables capable demands for societal changes from the activists. It allows more room for negotiation and intermingling between the protesters and the protested subject. Power to Imagination also provides greater capacity for various media, e.g. music and literature, for people to develop their own ideals. As idealistic as it may sound, this slogan could indeed be practical when in reality it encompasses multiple aspects of the world and our lives.

      I also believe that protest is a call greater than refusal or denial of things. It embodies the hopes of the people and aims at a greater goal beyond the current condition. There is always a demand that comes with protest, and that demand, the envision of a better world, trumps the nihilist view of mere refusal. Therefore, protests shall become more solid when one’s call is affirmed with concrete demands. This way protests would later be able to entail reforms and further actions, which are better legal than violent.

    • #1200 Reply
      Natalie Spindler
      Guest

      Power to Imagination is a realistic slogan of protest, because imagination allows individuals to envision changes to the world, whether they be social, political, or societal changes. Imagination gives people the ability to question the current reality. Through imagination, protesters are able to form their desired reality. Imagining is an important first step to visualize the change a person deems necessary or to think in a different way than the status quo. However, power to imagination cannot stand alone as protest as it does not propose steps of action or a tangible way to bring about the change.

      Protests must be more than just a refusal. If there is a protest towards something, the protest is most likely happening because people are hoping for the situation to change. Even if the protesters have no idea how to make this change or make it public knowledge the exact change they want, they are protesting with an ideal outcome in their minds. In this way protest includes both the negation of the current state and the affirmation of new more ideal state. Affirmation and a new vision will help guide the protest and give something to strive towards. However, this new vision does not need to be a utopia. A utopia will never be reached, so a protest does not need to be reaching towards a utopia. Setting sights on a utopia, however, could incentivize the protesters more to make a change and strive for utopia even if it cannot be reached.

    • #1202 Reply
      Abyan
      Guest

      Protest comes from a refusal to accept reality, and to realise ones reality is insufficient you have to have an alternative in mind. Power to imagination is a realistic slogan of protest as it is empowering the mechanism by which an acceptable alternative to society or government is created. The key ingredient to create the world you want to live in is the imagination that allows you to picture it. It is not necessarily tangible but when people imagine a utopia, that’s not a tangible either.

      I think protest is more thsn refusal because the refuse the status quo one must have some sort of idea of how things should be. A protest is something that gives hope, and steps towards a more acceptable world

    • #1203 Reply
      Victoria Trinh
      Guest

      Is ‘Power to Imagination’ a realistic slogan of protest?
      
In order to measure whether or not ‘Power to Imagination’ is a realistic slogan of protest, we must look at the people who stand behind it and the purpose it is supposed to serve. When good imagination is exercise, it is a realistic slogan of protest. If not, then it is unrealistic.

      All men are able to imagine, to create—it is a powerful tool used to view the world in transparency, opening oneself to the invisible and visible; to see the world and oneself in a state of being and becoming. While it has been accepted that there are facts to our identity that we cannot deny, it is out of human nature and impulse to try to become greater than oneself. For these individuals it is not what exists that matters the most but progressing closer toward what might exist.

      Nonetheless, both bad and good imagination exists; one of the key distinguishers between the two is the direction it takes. Good imagination has direction and requires the whole soul. Good imagination gives people the opportunity to visualize the invisible to the human eye—in essence, the idea is visible to the eye of the mind. On the other hand, evil/bad imagination lacks such. It merely provides a false reality that humiliates and tortures. It feeds the soul with nothingness.

      Taking into consideration, Herbert Marcuse’s approach in his “An Essay in Liberation”, he delves deeper into the question that is posed forth to us. He carefully notes that the freedom of imagination must be restricted to the unification of sensibility and reason to produce a practical outcome. Imagination does not form out of thin air but is derived from our experiences. Imagination should not attempt to take control as if it is of higher entity but mimic what has been given to us. Rights, freedom, and liberation are not exception—while some may not hold such, they are no stranger due to its existence.

      Is protest more than refusal? Does protest need to supplement negation with affirmation? Resistance with utopia?
      While protest embodies the characteristic of refusal, to disregard what extends beyond that is nothing more than foolishness. “…Common to them is the depth of the refusal. It makes them reject the rules of the game that is rigged against them” (Marcuse, 11). When people protest, they are exploiting the oppression that society has structured its culture around. When people protest, they are emphasizing their entities as one that should be respected. When people protest, they are calling out the privilege others obtained by neglecting those around them.

      I do believe that protest needs to supplement negation with affirmation, because if only one or the other is sought out, the process is incomplete. The end-goal will not be reached as a single man himself cannot speed up the process by jumping to where he/she wants to be. To be clear, it is not to say that the persons should be responsible for doing so or the emotional labor that is necessary to achieve such is warranted. It is unfortunate our society treats people unequally, and with harm, but by protesting/resisting, it is not a utopia that is being envisioned. Instead, it is a reflection of those who were chosen to be ‘valued’, that is yearned for to be projected on those considered to be “inferior.” This is what imagination and protesting is about.

    • #1204 Reply
      Luis Fialho
      Guest

      Power to Imagination is a realistic slogan because all of our power stems, in the end, from our imagination. One could cynically say that is inherently unrealistic, but if we are taking Sartre seriously, then our reality is nothing but imagination. To say Power to Imagination is to say power to change and to possibility, for our imagination is the well from which we draw our dreams. By empowering imagination one empowers change beyond the material. Afterall, the material change is almost meaningless. You can change names on ballots or laws on records, but the only way to have a lasting change is to change one’s mind, and to empower one’s imagination.

      Protest is more than refusal because protest inherently implies imagination. To refuse is to , as Marcuse notes, greet opposition with affirmation. Refusal meets opposition with a negation, a digging in of the heels and closing off of the imagination to possibility; only then would true and absolute refusal be possible. Protest, then, implies imagination. It implies one looking at the issue, seeing what’s wrong and imagining a better possibility, and working through protest to push towards the possibility (via, of course, a Power to Imagination). So, to me, a protest needs an imaginative component; I only protest that which I can imagine to be better. So protests of 1968 weren’t refusals against the government, but an effort to push towards a future they imagined.

    • #1205 Reply
      Joan E Kennedy
      Guest

      I think ‘Power to Imagination’ is definitely a realistic slogan of protest because imagining is central to the act of protest—it is the first step to protest and the first step after protest. In the essay on Liberation, Marcuse “states that awareness of the transcendent possibilities of freedom must become a driving power in the consciousness and the imagination which prepare the soil for this revolution,” (Marcuse 22). He refers to Kant’s third critique and recognized that the imagination and the senses are productive and “share in producing the images of freedom,” (Marcuse 25). The imagination, as Marcuse explains is also easily controlled within the organization of class society, during historical revolutions the imagination is freed.

      I feel like protest doesn’t have to be more than just refusal. Protest, in its refusal, can certainly affirm other/ alternate values, but I don’t think it has to. In its pure form I think protest can be a saying no to something that one doesn’t like without having to immediately present a counter argument. But it’s a tough question I don’t have a fully formulated answer to. Like Marcuse was talking about, the demanding of a statement of “concrete alternative,” is uncomfortable when it asks for specifics. But in terms of a protest having a long term, specific alternative is necessary because negation is mostly only powerful when oriented toward a positive future. So, I don’t know—I think having a unique vision for a utopia definitely produces solidarity within a protest, but I would also think it would be counter-productive at times, and perhaps so much focus would be put on the ideals of a few, that everyone must participate in to be included in the protest. A protest I think would definitely have to orient itself around central ideas after its inception, but I don’t know if this applies to all protests.

    • #1206 Reply
      Nolan Constantine
      Guest

      1. “Power to Imagination” is most definitely a realistic protest of slogan. Minds and ideas can never be truly repressed in society, although governments have surely tried to do so. “Power to Imagination” calls for a shift from “repressive rationality” to the boundless freedom of choice and imagination. Instead of subscribing to reason, individuals should let their ideas and their freedoms flourish. Giving power to imagination rather than reason, rationality, and societal norms encourages society to reevaluate its systems and explore its freedom. As Marcuse writes, “If… the right and the truth of the imagination become the demands of political action, if surrealistic forms of protest and refusal spread throughout the movement, this apparently insignificant development may indicate a fundamental change in the situation.”

      2. Protest can be more than refusal, but it does not necessarily have to be more than just refusal/negation. I believe that in many cases, it is easy to recognize that something is wrong, but it is hard to articulate an alternative solution. It is important that protesters air grievances, even without presenting a utopian idea. It is better for the government to know that something is unpopular, for government will not change if not. Furthermore, protesters may agree that a current policy is wrong but may disagree on the proper solution. Either way, they should unite to encourage some type of change.

    • #1207 Reply
      Michaela Gacnik
      Guest

      Is ‘Power to Imagination’ a realistic slogan of protest?
      I’m not sure if I’d first think to describe this slogan as realistic. It is, however, completely relevant and inspiring for 1968 protests and even today. With the Vietnam War, Chicago Riots and many other anxiety filled events of 1968, the youth of America wanted to empower people to imagine a world beyond violence and hatred. By limiting human imagination and possibilities then the world becomes more corrupt and hopeless. Create vision is vital and must be unique/innovative to inspire growth/change and a more positive world.

      Is protest more than refusal? Does protest need to supplement negation with affirmation? Resistance with utopia?
      I believe protest is definitely more than a refusal, but also a chance to inspire and create better/more positive way of living. As Herbert Marcuses’ article expands on the one-dimensional society, I think that there is a need to re-envision and redefine values and life necessities in order to successfully move into the contemporary world.

      Today, I am passionate about protesting for women empowerment and respect. It’s sickening to hear about the news this past weekend and to think about how have we really come all that far from 1968? It seems the youth are once again being put down for their imaginations of a better world.

    • #1208 Reply
      Peter Klapes
      Guest

      If imagination is marked by its negating essence, then change, a negation of the present historical moment, should–and must–be predicated on the imagination. Yet, if the change that is desired is one that is a negation of a capitalistic society based on the pecuniary rather than the material, then I would like to elucidate the critical role and power of the imagination in that capitalist society that is itself so dependent on the imagination. Fetishization, surplus value, and the arbitrary nature of the sign–money, that is–comes to mind. In a sense, aren’t we facing a complex (or overly simple–at least in its production of a stalemate) conflict of imagination versus imagination? It’s the imagination of the right and the imagination of the left, etc., etc., which possibly can never be reconciled. Regardless, ‘power to imagination’ seems the best possible option, of which there’s only one after all.

    • #1213 Reply
      Daniel Young
      Guest

      “Power to Imagination” can be a realistic slogan to protest. As Marcuse articulates, our ability to envision a reality that is radically different from our own, especially in regards to aspects of our culture such as art and technology, can be a “liberating force on a societal scale”. Rebellion against sublimated and ordered culture allows the individual to express autonomy and self-determination. Only by giving power to this imagined utopia can individuals work towards re-shaping our society to be free of “ugly and aggressive features”. However, while I agree with the principal in theory, I doubt whether in application an entirely personalized imagined utopia can lead to a consensus on how to build a united society. If my image of the ideal differs radically for another person’s, how are we to agree on what society should look like?
      Along the same vein of the first question, protest must be more than simple negation. While protest starts with a negation of traditional culture, it must be accompanied by a vision of an alternative society in which the negation exists. Otherwise, there would be no justification for demanding a change. This is where the slogan of “Power to Imagination” has the most importance; by negating our reality and imaging a different one, we can (ideally) begin to move towards a more free society. Of course, such a mindset of breaking down societal norms leans more towards anarchism, and the effectiveness with which we can balance our imagined reality with practical reasoning remains to be seen.

    • #1215 Reply
      Alicia Clow
      Guest

      Is ‘Power to Imagination’ a realistic slogan of protest?
      I don’t know if “realistic” is the word, but I think it is a fitting slogan for protest. “power to imagination” empowers people to think past their intimidating lives where they feel they have no way out due to systematic oppression or the draft. I think because people believed in their imagination – what could be – they were able to stand up.

      Is protest more than refusal? Does protest need to supplement negation with affirmation? Resistance with utopia?
      I think it is more than refusal. In the New Sensibility, Marcuse refers to “black is beautiful” and “flower power” as “the redefinition and very negation on the sense of ‘power’” (29). The refusal/negation of power leads to the affirmation of oppressed identities and being. Isn’t the point of resistance to bring society closer to a utopia where there is no power hierarchy? Resistance on its own would only lead to chaos, and if the point is to bring down the Establishment, maybe that would suffice, but if one is resisting the Establishment for the oppressed, I think the end goal would be a utopia.

      I’d like to protest:
      lack of diversity in history and literature classes especially in high school where there may not be very many types of history or literature classes (for example, learning more about “Black history” in regular history classes, not just in a history class called “Black history”, or incorporating more authors who are women of color in regular English classes). In addition to domestic diversity, I think learning about American history from different perspectives (WWII from German or Japanese textbooks and compare differences/what facts are highlighted or left out) would be very beneficial for students and is much needed.

    • #1216 Reply
      Stavros Piperis
      Guest

      Is ‘Power to Imagination’ a realistic slogan of protest?
      ‘Power to Imagination’ is a realistic slogan of protest because protest itself is the mere expression of disagreement with something–it is objection, which can take many forms and be framed in different ways. Though this particular slogan is not an explicit denunciation of something thing, it is a call to empower one’s imagination–the capacity to consider and contemplate things separate from or outside of the status quo. This push to expand one’s thinking beyond the limitations of their society or community (whatever those limitations may be) is a a push to escape or exit the existing norm–an objection to (or protest of) it.

      Is protest more than refusal? Does protest need to supplement negation with affirmation? Resistance with utopia?
      Protest is mere disagreement or objection. One can lawfully protest the actions of a government–express disagreement–without casting out all obedience to its statutes. Protest, then, need not supplement negation with affirmation to qualify as protest–though perhaps this supplementation may make a protest more powerful in bringing about certain changes. The same goes for resistance with utopia; a protest can be only negation, but those looking for a change in the thing they are protesting would likely benefit from delineating certain goals in addition to their complaints.

      We would like each student to bring a short answer to these two prompt questions to class for discussion in groups – along with a concrete contemporary example (local, national or global) of what you would ideally like to protest.

      Thing to protest:
      Community-based policing in Lincoln, NE

    • #1220 Reply
      Josh Elbaz
      Guest

      I dont think that Power to Imagination is a viable slogan because I think there needs to be a embodied, moral grounding to any idealized movement, and I think my opinion is heavily influenced by my reading Schiller’s Aesthetic Education of Man. Like the revolutionary protests of 1968 in our minds, the French Revolution was fresh in Schiller’s and his critique of it, I think, is deeply relevant to contemporary movements. For Schiller, the French Revolution collapsed under the moral impotence of its proponents. It had envisioned a world where freedom and self-determination represented the highest values, but the reality of the revolution was one of state murder, execution, and he destruction of human dignity rather than the elevation of it. Schiller saw the people that constituted the revolution, and diagnosed a group whose idealism exceeded their moral foundation — they themselves did not have the proper aesthetic education to harmonize their thoughts with their embodied behaviors. I think the imagination deserves power, and is necessary for any revolution, but it absolutely must be in conjuction with a moral, ethical grounding in the individuals that carry it forward.

      I could not agree stronger that a protest must be more than rejection and negation, it requires a concrete vision that could realistically replace the established order. Although this may be an extended reference, but I think almost every military campaign conducted by the United States after World War II have reflected the importance of this idea. Without a clearly defined political endstate, the US has engaged in major natural and national destruction that has led to the collapse of social, political, and cultural frameworks. In other words, without a real vision of what comes beyond the collapse of an established order, these US engagements became significant failures with significant consequences.

    • #1230 Reply
      Emily Mrenna
      Guest

      Is ‘Power to Imagination’ a realistic slogan of protest?
      It depends on how this slogan is taken. I remember another slogan from this time period was “be realistic, demand the impossible”. The way I understand this slogan, it’s contrasting the “impossible”, an ideological product imposed on the masses to maintain the dominance of a ruling class, and what is “realistic”, the social changes which a revolutionary ideology says can only come about if the established order is transformed. One could take “power to the imagination” as referring to the need to exercise your imagination in order to overthrow these stale ideologies which claim to be the only possible reality.
      But maybe this slogan is too vague to communicate this message efficiently. Does it mean that any idea we can imagine should be put into action? Of course not, that’s ridiculous. So maybe this slogan permits a misunderstanding which would prioritize utopian daydreaming over the concrete social changes which might improve the human condition by leaps and bounds. I think it’s important that we make sure the ideas in our imagination are realistic before we attempt to put them into practice.

      Is protest more than refusal? Does protest need to supplement negation with affirmation? Resistance with utopia?
      Of course! The questions that were at stake in the events of 1968 centered around how to challenge an establishment which, despite admitting of left and right wings, was universally invested in the program of an economic ruling class (whether or not that ruling class ruled through a bourgeois democratic system or by a so-called “communist” party). This was arguably the case in Czechloslovakia, France, and in the United States, and at the very least many of the ’68 protesters felt as if this was the case. Many of the more radical voices in this movement argued that an entirely new system was needed, and that revolt, protest and negation were not enough. During the riots after the death of MLK in the United States, Huey Newton and members of the Black Panthers famously went among the rioters and attempted to convince the rioters to stop smashing storefronts and instead to organize for a socialist revolution. These voices were, for the most part, snuffed out before their specific ideas could be realized; now, fifty years later, we can ask ourselves why things happened this way, we can analyze the ideas these people were talking about, and then we might even be able to decide whether or not these ideas are worth keeping or changing.

    • #1238 Reply
      Jacob Hermann
      Guest

      Is ‘Power to Imagination’ a realistic slogan of protest?
      Protesting is more than just opposing a certain system. It can also be the promotion of a certain value or ideology that one believes would improve a certain system or completely override it. Typically the society would value something that is contrary to the new ideology or value being promoted. Therefore promoting the power of imagination in a society that is stuck in a value system that either directly or indirectly suppresses imagination would be a realistic slogan of protest.

      Is protest more than refusal? Does protest need to supplement negation with affirmation? Resistance with utopia?
      As I mentioned briefly earlier, protest can and should be more than just a refusal of a certain system. There is a heavy emphasis on the negation and resistance aspect of protest because protest almost always occurs in times when people have become fed up with a system that they believe should be undermined immediately. The first step is the resistant negation of the current system and the second is the affirmation of an alternative system which is believed to be better than the previous system. The alternative doesn’t necessarily have to be utopia, but should be a better system, and typically more sensitive to human rights and for the people in general.

    • #1239 Reply
      Ningkun Dai
      Guest

      Is ‘Power to Imagination’ a realistic slogan of protest?
      Is protest more than refusal? Does protest need to supplement negation with affirmation? Resistance with utopia?
      “Power to Imagination” can absolutely be a realistic slogan for protesting. However, things trouble me the most is, whether our protest has any value. For this slogan, power and imagination are the two essential factors. However, in Marcuse’s one-dimensional man, he suggests that we live in a society that claim to be democratic, but is actually authoritarian. We only have an illusion of freedom, and this freedom comes from the consumerism. As a result, when we are protesting to achieve the power, the freedom to imagination, we may actually doing the opposite thing, we are consolidating the previous system. Since we are protesting, it means we have already accepted the fact that we do share similarity between the things we are protesting and us. Then what is the point for us to protesting? Are we forcing them to be just like us? If the protesting works, then what are we? Do we become the people we were protesting?
      Protest is definitely more than refusal. As I have already stated, there is no way for us to protest something that we have no affirmation. Since, if we really only have negation towards the thing that we are going to protest, we would not even possibly know the things!

    • #1241 Reply
      Francine Almeda
      Guest

      I believe that power to the imagination is a realistic slogan of protest – as we discussed in a previous class, Sartre presents definition of the imagination as a method which “enables us to be human.” The imagination negates; it allows us to realize that we are “not here,” but rather, “somewhere else.” This ability to extend beyond ourselves is to be truly human – however, how can we call this power protest? Marcuse presents protest in a similar manner – he believes that in order to protest, we must “a break with the familiar, the routine ways of seeing, hearing, feeling, understanding things so that the organism may become receptive to the potential forms of a non-aggressive, non-exploitative world.“ (10). Therefore, this ability to project ourselves beyond the norm allows us to truly see our surroundings for what they are – this is the root of all protest. By providing more power to our imagination, or rather, ability to remain aware of our surroundings, the more prepared an individual will be to protest.

      Protest is absolutely more than a refusal – it is an existential crisis. Only when groups of individuals are simultaneously feeling that their own, true existence is threatened, will they feel called to stand against that threat. Protest does need to supplement negation with affirmation –
      Protest is the negation of the norm, instead of an affirmation alone. However, both are needed in order to achieve true protest. Marcuse states that protest could be thought of as a utopian conception: “the first powerful rebellion against the whole of the existing society, the rebellion for the total transvaluation of values, for qualitatively different ways of life” (21). It is utopian in its universal and imagined idea of “a perfect” society is sought after by the groups of people fighting for this way of life. To imagine protest through this lens provides a powerful and complex definition of what protest can truly be.

    • #1244 Reply
      Andrew Mettias
      Guest

      Power to Imagination is a realistic slogan due to the imagination’s inherent scope of possibilities. In order to challenge the old status quo and pave way for the new, one must first imagine something new and novel rather than relying on old traditional ways. This transcendental way of thinking must be beyond a human experience and encompass the essence of nature itself, for example, through eros. Thus a new sensibility can arise through imagination which is why Marcuse argues that imagination and eros are like “twin motors”. An example of revolution powered by imagination can be seen through art in which the aesthetic dimension is the base for the formation of a new society. Essentially, art can turn an imagination into a reality.
      This new reality may be brought about through protest which indeed is more than refusal as it differentiates itself from rebellion in that it presents an imagined alternative. This is necessary through the steps of negation (negation of the establishment) and subsequently affirmation of a right to build a new and finer society. However, resistance should not be blinded with ideas of a utopia because a true utopia is likely not achievable (as seen from examples of past revolutions) in one go and sets unrealistic goals or expectations higher than can be achieved. It is important to dream of a better future but to also remain grounded with realistic and achievable goals.

    • #1249 Reply
      Patrick Fitzgerald
      Guest

      I would argue that “power to imagination” represents a realistic slogan of protest, so long as what is imagined stays grounded in reality, namely that the imagination retains the emancipatory function Marcuse spoke of through which it can actually liberate people. Without the necessary resources and people to enact change, the potential for change is caged within our minds and will never be made real in the world around us. Imagination also represents a point of momentum, a starting point for change, for if we simply imagine our conditions as unchangeable and our imaginations are weak, we will be resigned to accept things as they are and will never conceive other potentialities.

      I would disagree that negation needs to be supplemented with any kind of affirmation initially. We as humans have the intuition to understand when something is wrong and needs to be changed. The final answer may not be fully unraveled, but the first reaction or protest is the first step that our imagination takes towards a more utopian state and the protest itself may accelerate the rate by which solutions are created as people join together and form a collective consciousness.

    • #1256 Reply
      Benjamin Twohig
      Guest

      Power to Imagination is a call for people to envision how society would and should exist in the absence of the boundaries and hierarchical structures that dominated society in 1968 and continue to do so today. At its core, this is protesting and activism in general should do. The whole point of standing up in protest is to bring about a change in society, and in many cases the final goal for this is one this is not immediately obvious. Therefore, it makes sense to call upon the imaginary in order to motivate and spur support. Using the imaginary to, as Marcuse puts it, be “a guiding force in the reconstruction of reality” can be a very powerful tool.

      However, there are almost immediately deep limits to this process upon implementation. The end goal of activism requires a policy or societal outcome. Additionally, I view that the most powerful protests assume a sense of affirmation beyond a sense of negation. In the Revisionist History podcast, Malcolm Gladwell spoke about needing to supplement societal change with a respect for the body and group of people that you are attempting to heal. This strategy, known as “Generous Orthodoxy”, represents a mixture of calling and demanding for change, yet recognizing that there is some good and that not all old processes and ideas need to be overthrown in order to achieve change. This idea can be seen most clearly in America during the Civil Rights Movement and the current MeToo movement. There needs to be an agreement among protestors of keeping existing structures in order for the subject of protest to build coalitions in the long run.

    • #1258 Reply
      Daniel Garzon-Maldonado
      Guest

      Protests arise in opposition to different kind of things. Those things vary in how particular or general they are, how simple or complex, how new or old, how much impact they have, etc. In some cases, a protest may not require much imagination; for example, refusal may be enough when protesting a new policy that is obviously wrong. However, imagination will be more important when a protest is in opposition to older or more complex issues. In those cases, the mere refusal may be insufficient.

      In Marcuse’s text, it is important to balance the negative elements (refusal, revolt, resistance, liberation) with the affirmative elements (utopia, “make the life of human beings worth living”). It is not enough to seek to liberate ourselves from exploitation, from “the familiar, the routine ways of seeing, hearing, feeling, understanding things.” We also need to construct an alternative, and imagination may be the key for that. This does not mean that a requirement to protest something is to already have a fully developed concrete alternative. However, the best protests against complex and long-standing issues are probably the ones that are able to shake the assumptions involved in the problem and introduce a new way to look at this problem or a utopia to fight for. In that sense, it is important to give power to imagination when protesting.

    • #1434 Reply
      Francine Almeda
      Guest

      (Forgot to post earlier!)
      I believe that power to the imagination is a realistic slogan of protest – as we discussed in a previous class, Sartre presents definition of the imagination as a method which “enables us to be human.” The imagination negates; it allows us to realize that we are “not here,” but rather, “somewhere else.” This ability to extend beyond ourselves is to be truly human – however, how can we call this power protest? Marcuse presents protest in a similar manner – he believes that in order to protest, we must “a break with the familiar, the routine ways of seeing, hearing, feeling, understanding things so that the organism may become receptive to the potential forms of a non-aggressive, non-exploitative world.“ (10). Therefore, this ability to project ourselves beyond the norm allows us to truly see our surroundings for what they are – this is the root of all protest. By providing more power to our imagination, or rather, ability to remain aware of our surroundings, the more prepared an individual will be to protest.

      Protest is absolutely more than a refusal – it is an existential crisis. Only when groups of individuals are simultaneously feeling that their own, true existence is threatened, will they feel called to stand against that threat. Protest does need to supplement negation with affirmation –
      Protest is the negation of the norm, instead of an affirmation alone. However, both are needed in order to achieve true protest. Marcuse states that protest could be thought of as a utopian conception: “the first powerful rebellion against the whole of the existing society, the rebellion for the total transvaluation of values, for qualitatively different ways of life” (21). It is utopian in its universal and imagined idea of “a perfect” society is sought after by the groups of people fighting for this way of life. To imagine protest through this lens provides a powerful and complex definition of what protest can truly be.

    • #1535 Reply
      William Knight
      Guest

      I would say that “Power to Imagination” is a realistic slogan of protest because we would have to see the places where our government (or whatever we’re protesting) can do better and come up (with imagination) with the better solution. Without the ability to imagine what a better society would look like, we would never know the actions necessary to move towards that vision. With the ability to imagine we can do two things: the first is realize where society falls short, and the second is move to action to change it. On the first, we can imagine a society without injustice, with fair legislation, and with perfect contentment–a utopia. In thinking of what this idealistic society has, we can then know that our real society falls short in certain ways. Then, after identifying those non-utopian parts of society, we can move towards the second part which is taking action to change these imperfect parts of society. Only through imagination could you identify how to fix these imperfections, such as eradicating poverty. Such a bold move towards change could only happen through an innovative and imaginative idea. Thus it all must start from our power of utilizing our imagination.

      This then leads to what protest even is. Protest can be solely about refusal, however I think this type of protest would be towards actions that take us backwards, such as a civil rights law being repealed or abortion being banned. Where there can be an objective/logical argument for a utopian part of society already having been achieved, there can and should be protest of sole negation. However, protest should also be about causing change to those parts of our society that don’t already reflect an internal idea of utopia. Let’s say perhaps this protest of refusal doesn’t work and a civil rights law is repealed entirely anyway. The protest has now shifted from one of refusal, to one for change. It is a shift from just being against something, to being for another thing. However, these are hypotheticals and what matters is that instead of seeing our society go backwards, we should constantly be trying to push it forwards, and that means towards a utopia. In the end I think that it really depends on what injustices are going to take place and whether we allow government and society to go backwards, stagnate, or move forward.

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