U.S. Politics

Location: 
NYC
Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Organized labor is panicking about the forthcoming Supreme Court decision for Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, fearful that all of the U.S. may soon become a "right-to-work state." And yet public school teachers in "red states" like West Virginia and Oaklahoma are conducting walkouts despite existing labor law -- and labor "leaders." What can labor leftists learn from this new show of militancy?

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Minutes before Donald Trump's oath of office and a few blocks away, over 230 people were mass-arrested during an anti-capitalist and anti-fascist march. A 36-hour detention was followed by two long indictments, amounting to eight felony charges. The prosecution's aim was to create a story of conspiracy, where those wearing black, carrying medic supplies, or using any form of face protection were guilty by association of any property destruction.

One group of six went to trial in November of 2017, and were acquitted. The trial itself revealed a great deal about legal and police approaches to undesirable protest. 59 more defendants will go to trial throughout this year, and still face decades in prison.

We talk with three former defendants and one supporter who has written extensively about the case and its connection to a broader history of repressive policing, legal statutes, and public discourse. We will also discuss the new era of popular #resistance, in which many are quick to condemn property destruction, barricades, and identity concealment.

The J20 case has been the canary in the coal mine of Trump's presidency: anarchists and anti-capitalists are a testing ground for the criminalization of protest and anti-state expression. There has already been an up-tick in felony charges for water protectors, radical queer activists, and Black Lives Matter protesters. We welcome conversation on this topic and ways to make links and solidarity between defendants across cases.

The J20 trials are a in-depth course in how right-wing elements flex their strength through the police and Justice Department. They have also been a test of the strength of radical movements, who have risen to face legal and personal costs amidst a two year courtroom battle. For more info, visit defendj20resistance.org.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Labor insurgencies in West Virginia, Oklahoma, and beyond gave us a glimpse at what workers can achieve when organized and united in solidarity.

Panel Image: 
Location: 
NYC
Description/Abstract of your Event: 

While the NRA has monopolized the discussion of gun rights and the Second Amendment in mainstream public discourse, leftist perspectives on these issues provide a richer context for understanding not only the use of guns against the victims of slavery and colonialism but also the possible uses of guns by Black, Brown, and Indigenous resistance movements. Drawing on the Black Radical Tradition, Puerto Rican movements, and Indigenous resistance, this panel offers a reinterpretation of the relationship between guns, settler colonialism, and leftist organizing. In addition to establishing the connections between the NRA, the Second Amendment, and white supremacy, this panel explores the possibilities of using what Scott Crow calls “liberatory community armed self-defense” as one plank of a broader leftist strategy. By cultivating a realistic perspective on the colonial and racist “gun culture” of America, the Left’s use of armed self-defense can be re-thought in a new light. In the next few years, the Left must acknowledge oppressive gun violence and reflect on the uses of liberatory self-defense.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

What do a fake pimp and prostitute have to do with ACORN, America’s largest anti-poverty organization? A power player in the 2008 election of President Barack Obama, community organizing group ACORN was targeted by conservatives, who accused them of committing voter fraud. ACORN critics found allies in amateur journalists James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles whose undercover hidden camera investigations smeared ACORN, and helped launch a new entity called Breitbart Media. ACORN and the Firestorm is a thrilling recount of recent political history by award winning directors, Reuben Atlas (Brothers Hypnotic) and Sam Pollard (Two Trains Runnin’), ACORN became a major player in the 2008 presidential election that resulted in Barack Obama’s victory. Big businesses, Republicans and right-wing activists attacked the group, firing accusations of voter fraud and government waste at the left-
leaning organization. Right-wing opposition found unexpected allies in a pair of amateur journalists who posed as a pimp and prostitute hoping to expose ACORN via hidden-camera. The ensuing political drama spawned the now-omnipresent Breitbart Media, and served as a prescient foreshadowing of today’s political climate. In an age where fake news and truthiness obscure reality, ACORN and the Firestorm tells a deep, true, moving story about what lies beneath a divided America.

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In this panel and participatory discussion we will explore how Cooperation Jackson in Jackson, Mississippi, and Barcelona en Comu in Barcelona, Spain, have brought social movements directly into elected office to expand the potential of democracy to be truly accountable to the needs of the people - and where we can go from here in our towns and cities. We will take a deeper look at how solidarity economies and worker cooperatives build strength and long term equity in communities of color, highlighted by the Jackson experience, how the battle against inequality and for housing is embedded in local struggles inside and outside the ballot box, as shown in Barcelona, explore how the paradigm shift in municipalism's commitment to feminizing politics underpins the radical nature of the municipalist hypothesis for change, and where we will go next in building a vibrant network of local movements.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Washington has a long history of seeking to overthrow North Korea, even before their murderous war on DPRK that killed one quarter of the population, according to US Generals. We will discuss the effect of the war on Korean consciousness, US sanctions and threats against North Korea since that time, counter some of the fake news in the corporate media over the recent period, and the movement against war in Korea today. All the speakers have been to North Korea. Medea Benjamin was part of the Women Cross the DMZ peace delegation. Deirdre Griswold has been to both Koreas several times, the first being a meeting with Kim Il Sung. Stan Smith has written several articles exposing US disinformation against North Korea.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Large, imposed, infrastructure projects are a driving force of climate change. They are also a necessary component of our response to rising sea levels and changing weather patterns. Physical infrastructure has very visible, material effects: it holds water, changes the landscape, moves oil, sprouts leaks and poisons water. But a mere analysis of infrastructure-as-object conceals more than it illuminates. A closer examination of pipelines in Canada and Lebanon, real estate driven flood infrastructure in coastal Florida, and the legal response to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests reveals the economic, historical, political and racial relations that are embedded in and reproduced by these technologies for stopping floods and transporting fuel. Furthermore, the responses to the power structures articulated through infrastructure--occupations, sabotage--suggest a critique that exceeds the limits of environmentalism proper and strategies that would confront this political-economic behemoth at its point of production, whether that is the pipeline or the red line.

(Zack Culyer) Work, Staging, and Sabotage: Perceptibility and the Trans-Arabian Pipeline.
(Rosalind Donald) Combined and Uneven Real Estate Development: Miami' Segregation Driven Climate Change Response.
(R.H. Lossin) Critical Infrastructure Sabotage: Protecting Property and Suppressing Speech.
(Troy Vettese) Black Snake in the Grass: The Political Economy of Pipelines.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Progressives are sometimes fooled by governmental programs that offer to solve social problems, including the provision of affordable housing. Historically, FDR's New Deal and LBJ's Great Society did hand out billions of dollars and, for a time some people benefited, but some claim the money would have been better spent if it were just given away in grants to those deserving low income housing. The panel identifies an innovative use of community land trusts to permanently provide affordable housing, by leveraging mixed income and commercial rental of CLT-owned land to sustain availability of the majority of units for tenants at 60% of AMI.