Education

Location: 
NYC
Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Race, Class, Gender, and the University: Struggles within and beyond the Campus Walls The university under capitalism is a site of political unevenness and contradiction. While academia promotes an image of impartiality and liberality in terms of viewpoints, scholarship, and diversity, those who don’t adhere to the restricted parameters of institutionalized “neutrality” are often marginalized, slandered, and sometimes dismissed. Indeed, as Steven Salaita argues, “disinterest and objectivity” are more often aligned with ruling powers both within and outside the walls of the academy. While identitarian positioning is often encouraged, solidarity that challenges systems of racial and gendered oppression or that exposes the symbiotic relationships between academic knowledge-production and imperialism are systematically repressed. At this same time, the university--perhaps especially our austerity-prone public universities, which often serve 'majority minority' and working-class students-- still can provide fertile ground for radical thinking and new social connections with the potential to resist hegemonic capitalist regimes of 'divide and rule.' Accordingly, this panel seeks to discuss the intersections of race, class, and gender struggles that challenge the status-quo politics within the university, or that use the base of the university to challenge capitalism and imperialism beyond the campus walls. While we intend to address some of the limits of critique offered by institutionalized identity politics, primarily this panel will offer first-hand accounts and theorization of alternative models for radical social justice organizing within the university space, with a view towards building resistance beyond the confines of campus-oriented politics.

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Jazz and Self Determination 4 is the continuation of discussions focused on the socio-political components within the Jazz idiom. The free jazz movement of the 1960's and 70's are the primary focus with the primaries of this activity providing the narrative. The first installment premiered at Left Forum 2018 and the second took place at The People's Forum, March 10, 2019. The topics include: formations of collectives, independent record labels, underground festivals, gender, working conditions for musicians and the black arts movement. Althea SullyCole is the co host as occurred on Left Forum 2018. The panelists include: Greg Tate, Basir Mchawi, Ahmed Abdullah, Ted Daniel, Jeremiah Hosea and William Parker.

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With the objective of sparking public debate before the 2020 presidential election, this panel will consider a direct action solution to the student debt crisis: Activists from four generations will discuss and envision the strategy of an organized student debt boycott, using our collective burden as leverage against the American ruling class, and global capitalism itself. Every day that we continue to perform the status quo is time that cannot be recovered; the struggle for human survival past this century demands that we act now, and when all else has failed, we must consider revolutionary action. Throughout history, there have been countless movements of working class people demanding the cancellation of usurious, unpayable debts to the ruling class, often accompanied by general strikes that disrupt everyday life. A movement of American students, graduates, and teachers, engaging in civil disobedience and honoring the ancient tactic of an organized debt strike, could change the power dynamics in the fights for student debt cancellation and universal free higher education, at the national and state levels. A student debt boycott could also help unite the multitude of intersecting movements for social justice in an intergenerational coalition that is not dependent on electoral politics to build power. For this strategy to be fairly considered, the American public must be made aware of what has been hidden in plain sight: For many years, the largest student loan servicing companies (Navient, Nelnet/Great Lakes, PHEAA) have been legally gambling with federal student loan debt, despite being under contract with the Department of Education. Just in the decade since 2009, a trillion dollars worth of federal student debt has accumulated; in the same time, the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rose from roughly 390 to 410 ppm (parts per million), a trend that will define the remainder of our lives. All the while, this immoral and unregulated loan servicing industry has issued billions of dollars in Student Loan Asset-Backed Securities (SLABS) every year, which are sold to investors and traded in speculative financial markets. Generations of Americans are being stifled by permanent indebtedness and a declining standard of living, but a small number of corporations and their CEOs are making extraordinary profits capitalizing on the high interest rates paid by student borrowers. Obscured by fake economics and bipartisan political corruption, a student loan default crisis looms in the near future, which will inevitably cause the collapse of the SLABS market, decades before these assets will reach their final maturity. In the pursuit of infinite wealth regardless of the human cost, capitalism has burdened students with unpayable debt, but also provided them the means to crash the system and disrupt business as usual. This panel will consider the notion that accelerating the default crisis to put direct financial pressure on the student loan industry may be both justified and necessary in order to force Congress to solve this crisis, liberate 44 million Americans from debt and empower them to transform society, and provide for the future security of American students.

Location: 
NYC
Description/Abstract of your Event: 

This year, in contrast to the 2018 “red state” teacher revolt, strikes in Los Angeles and Oakland confronted Democratic Party bosses and rulers at every level. The strikes were militant and massive, with broad working-class community support. But the union bureaucracies, chained to the Democrats, rammed through settlements that betrayed the struggle to stop the spread of charter schools, the drive to privatize and sharply reduce class size. Class Struggle Education Workers campaigned to mobilize workers’ power – shut down the ports! – to win the strikes. In New York, an ongoing fight against adjunct poverty at CUNY poses broader issues of linking the fight to defend public education to class struggle in the center of finance capital. The key: ousting the pro-capitalist bureaucrats, breaking with the Democrats and forging a class struggle leadership. As Leon Trotsky wrote, “The independence of trade unions in the class sense, in their relations to the bourgeois state, can, in the present conditions, be assured only by a completely revolutionary leadership.”

Location: 
LA
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Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Social movements in the recent past have founded schools and universities to carry the flame of the movement in a structural context. In the first few weeks of the occupation at Zuccotti Park, a few activists did the same thing: set out to create a new university. The group has subsequently created a new institutional framework based on emergent communities of inquiry, pedagogies of emancipation, and curricula for radical knowledges. The purpose has been to create an alternative to the corporatized university using OWS practices of consensus-building. This panel will present the framework for this new university, and facilitate a discussion about the possibilities of higher education for and by the 99%.

Location: 
LA
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The panel will investigate some of the many ways we are pushing back against the corporate colonization of academic culture. Fighting to raise awareness of the issues through documentaries and art-making will be discussed by the writers and filmmakers on the panel. Working to return professional stature, governance and economic justice to the migrant adjunct faculty within traditional academic institutions will be discussed by members of NFM. Creating new models of higher education - like the free university movement, open sourceware opportunities and peer-to-peer educating - will be examined for its benefits and game-changing possibilities.

Proposed panelists:

Debra Leigh Scott and Chris LaBree Co-Producer of 'Junct: The Trashing of Higher Ed. in America, will talk about the 'Junct project, our goals and intentions in the making of the film. (Confirmed)

Nathan Kleinman, The Free University of Philadelphia Working Group, and candidate for U.S. Congress, in Pennsylvania's 13th District.

Kyle McCarthy, Producer of Default: The Student Loan Documentary.

Location: 
LA
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Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Working teachers from public secondary schools in the NY metropolitan area discuss what it means to have a left pedagogy and curriculum and the possibilities for encouraging organic intellectuals who can be leaders in movements for social change. Speakers view their work within the context of concepts developed by Gramsci, hegemony and organic intellectual. Schools are dialectical institutions designed to replicate capitalist social inequality, but which create space for the emergence of indigenous working-class intellectuals with ties to oppressed communities. Alan Singer provides an overview of public education today. Pablo Muriel discusses working with high school students from the Bronx who fought against the closing of their school and are now involved as social change activists. Justin Williams teaches in a suburban minority community. For Justin, teaching as a leftist means providing classroom experiences that force students to not only gain an understanding of the power structures that have been influencing their lives but to begin to think critically about them. Being a leftist educator means that whatever the standard curriculum material or the skill components of the lesson, you are always teaching for social justice. Atif Khalil is a Pakistani American from the suburbs. Because of his left perspective he chose to teach social studies in inner-city New York City communities where his students are largely either immigrants or the children of immigrants.

Location: 
LA
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Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Our young adult public school working class children are graduating into a 2013 globalized world where their Civil Rights, Human Rights and American style Freedoms and Potentials have become increasingly more dependent on their relationship to money, access to jobs, costly higher education and the economy in general. Our Public Schools have proved unable to intellectually negotiate or produce a senior high school experience rebuilt on the local and global changes, new democratic demands for informed engaged citizenship and the general confusions of who we are as a people and how we want to live, work cooperate and share into the future of America. In July of 2012, The Center for the Study and Practice of Social Studies, an independent collaboration between the Association of Teachers of Social Studies (ATSS/UFT) and the National Academy of Alternative Education (NAAE) convened the High School Students Rights Task Force, commissioned to update a 1972 Civil Liberties Union produced Student Rights Handbook for New York City. That 2012 Declaration of Student Rights for New York City Public High Schools calls for the democratic and influential participation of our senior high school students through Representative Student Government and Student Edited School Newspaper Programs in all aspects of school life with power to influence. This panel/workshop will present ongoing Social Studies reforms and generate conversation with participants over what more needs be addressed and done.

Location: 
LA
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Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Contemporary analyses and critiques of current education reform

are generally absent deeper considerations of the logic of capitalism

and its fundamental socio-economic tendencies such as privatization,

commodification, and alienation. We will examine the current policies and

directions of the so-called educational reform movement from a Marxist

perspective and identify significant economic changes (dating to the 1960's)

that provoked changes in education broadly considered, and in schools

in particular. We will examine the concrete nature of neo-liberal changes

including testing and the phenonomenon of data use, school closures, the

Common Core and the increasing influence of large corporations such

as Pearson and McGraw Hill, teacher evaluation and the deskilling of the

teaching profession, and the undermining of unions. Finally, we will analyze

the challenges facing our current Mayor as well as propose avenues for

resistance and future struggle.