Organizing

Location: 
NYC
Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Kim Moody's Rank-and-File Strategy (RFS) has received new attention in the pages of Jacobin in the last year, which reprinted both his original piece and his 2014 reassessment. This was followed by articles from Barry Eidlin and Max Elbaum, while the RFS is also being discussed within the DSA. Here, the three panelists will examine what is missing from Moody's bottom-up organizing model, those of his Jacobin respondents, and the DSA debate. Marc Kagan will speak on the importance of fighting for workplace control, a crucial feature of previous rounds of working class unrest, which has largely disappeared from discussions about mobilizing workers. After this deeper dive onto the shop floor, the next two speakers argue for a more expansive strategy. Lynne Turner will consider how to conjoin RFS with the "bargaining for the common good" approach utilized in recent teacher strikes, to build more power and encourage workers to think beyond the workplace and toward social transformation. Luke Elliott-Negri will argue that the rank and file approach to union politics is much more a tactic of socialist strategy than it is socialist strategy itself, and needs to be combined with electoral work.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Scores of political commentators have been recently suggesting, humorously but also earnestly, that we are currently living through a second "Gilded Age," an era in U.S. history when, as now, public concerns included rampant technological shifts, "massive wealth inequalities, hyperpartisanship, virulent anti-immigrant sentiment and growing concern about money in politics." (Edward T. O'Donnell, "Are We Living in the Gilded Age 2.0?" www.history.com/news/second-gilded-age-income-inequality )  The pushback against the first Gilded Age, of course, included what we now sometimes call the Progressive Era. Taking this idea as a starting point, our Roundtable will ask: What can current grassroots activists learn from 20th century organizing experiences about building a viable Left Alliance? Panelists will foment a broad-ranging discussion on subjects that may include the imbalance of wealth and power, migration and immigration law, environmental justice, reparations for slavery, interference in Latin American countries by U.S. moneyed elites, and current fights for gender and class equity of all kinds.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Recent years have provided no shortage of opportunities to become outraged at the powers that dominate our world. From spiraling social inequalities within and between countries, to the rise of white nationalist xenophobia and open misogyny in the Trump White House (magnified by the rise of social media), the basis for popular rage and Left organizing is widespread. The ruling order is rapidly losing legitimacy in many places. And yet, existing Left organizations often struggle and fall short of seizing the opportunities that our times present, caught up in their own contradictions, routinized habits, and knee-jerk reactions. While there has certainly been substantial growth in some Left groups (particularly those riding the Bernie Sanders wave), others falter, remain marginalized, mired by sectarian in-fighting, or have split apart suddenly and altogether--leaving members and onlookers in shock. What is going on? Why does it so often seem that Left organizations are prone to self-destructive tendencies? What ideas, attitudes, and methods currently in practice seem to be holding back the potential of our radical movement? Our panel will seek to draw from history and from personal experience, sharing reflections on practice that might contribute to building sustainable radical culture and organization. While examining some of the problematic aspects of Left organizing and discourse, this panel will also explore how we might shed oppressive habits of thought and practice that have been inherited from the dominant society, as we work to create a world of true justice, solidarity, equality, and human flourishing. A. Shahid Stover, "Bad Faith, Leftist Defeatism and the Imperial Mainstream" Linda A. Liu, "Victim Cultures and the Left" David Keil, "Problems on the Left: the need for due process and non-violent language"