I often think that the problem is with the concept of "the masses". The biggest problem being that they do not exist, usually shorthand for people I do not know who do not share my insights or social group. Even when a group claims to be for the masses they are not of the masses. Self esteem and a desire to have an indulgence which makes one part of the solutuion and not the problem appears to be the prime concern of the most succesful or infamous.
Yes, I feel its also important to slap down that old Marxist slogan that 'Leaders naturally emerge during times of struggle'. The reality is opportunists usally do as you point out. However, as I said in my reply to Squid Isolationism is the currency of control in this current system and empathy and identification are the only weapons to fight it. I'm not pointing fingers here but your reply is taking the isolationist stance, playing the game. Problem is its hard to nigh on impossible to not be isolationist or to simply take a 'me and them' approach. This is not some amazing insight I know, its something we all know and is why anarchist ideas are finding more traction (as they seem to combat this with the strong 'no leaders' stance of some of its forms).
But, they become cliques, etc, etc, identity politics groups that draw each other in closer just to defend themselves from the outside, from the 'them'. They end up manufacturing their own 'situation of abandonment' whereby the state and the current system can ignore them, they disempower themselves by being isolationist. Whereas at the same time they have to be Isolationist in order to get anything done at all. Its fucked, yeah, and I don't have any answers at all. We just end up marking time hoping that something, some issue or event, will create a masive upsurge among the wider population. Cos building to create a mass movement seems impossible. In relation to the 60's I'm with Chris Marker who argues quite well that the revolution (such as if there actually was one) died in 67 and all we witnessed in 68 was just the bowling ball finally hitting the pins. The arm was swung in 67 and the body attached to that arm died once it released the ball.
I dunno.. we just need to focus energies on this problem of isolationism, spend some time trying to widen the general conciousness. Yep, I'm sounding like a hippy here, which is very unlike me. Maybe Spivaks ideas of Strategic Essentialism can grow from one single issue group into another, and then another. so as to create some large assemblage that generates widespread change rather than just another easily identifiable (and therefore self-isolating) 'movement'.