Fascism

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

In recent days, anti-Semitism has returned with a vengeance, alongside Islamophobia, anti-communism, and an anti-capitalism of fools that substitutes conspiracy theory for critical theory. At the same time, political power is concentrated as never before in the hands of the far right, and wielded indiscriminately against its political opponents on the left. Spikes in anti-Semitism tend to track closely with times of war, social unrest, and economic crisis—and with upticks in nationalist, anti-communist, and anti-capitalist sentiment. How can we respond to the concurrent rise in anti-Semitism and anti-Communism, on the one hand, and in the “anti-capitalism of fools,” on the other? This panel will include antifascist labor organizers and militants from the Jewish left from a variety of political tendencies. Presenters: Michael Gould-Wartofsky, author, educator, & cofounder of OLT-NYC Tobi Erner, social worker & labor organizer Savannah Gordon, worker & cofounder of OLT-NYC Ronny Nuñez, organizer from Occupy Sandy & OLT-NYC Chair person: Savannah Format: Roundtable/moderated dialogue w/audience Q&A at the end

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

In recent years the fascist movement in India has been growing. Led by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), their electoral wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and sponsored by the big corporate houses in India, this fascist movement has sponsored and carried out viscous attacks on Muslims, Dalits (the so-called "untouchables"), women, Adivasis (indigenous people), religious minorities, and national minorities. All this has been coupled with extractive neoliberal policies aimed at maximizing corporate profits while undercutting the most basic and meager social welfare programs that still exist in India. Recently, a series of poets, human rights lawyers, professors, and civil liberties activists have been arrested on trumped-up charges and accused of terrorism. This is all part of the government's plan to forcible evict 800 million people from their land and move them from the countryside to the city by 2050. When coupled with draconian laws like the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (which give the state legal cover for arresting and killing activists with impunity), it clear that the people of India face a very dire situation. This panel will examine the growing fascist movement in India, speak on the dire situations that people face, and highlight the courageous resistance being waged across the country. We will also examine the role of US imperialism in supporting and sponsoring the fascist movement in India and the associated neoliberal extractive policies.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

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.