U.S. Politics

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

How will climate change affect our lives? Where will its impacts be most deeply felt? Are we doing enough to protect ourselves from the coming chaos? Cities are ground zero for climate change, contributing the lion’s share of carbon to the atmosphere, while also lying on the frontlines of rising sea levels. Today, the majority of the world’s megacities are located in coastal zones, yet few of them are adequately prepared for the floods that will increasingly menace their shores. This panel will consider what's at stake globally for the most vulnerable communities who are are already feeling the impacts of climate change.

Scientists are predicting that as the southern hemisphere heats up the number of people migrating to the EU each year will triple. How can we link the struggles against neoliberalism, austerity, high housing costs and gentrification, with support for the rights of free movement across borders, for migrants displaced by the effects of climate change, and for environmental justice? What can we learn from urban movements already fighting to remake our cities in a more just and equitable way?

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

After the 2016 election, Fox News has attempted to take control of the concept of the Deep State, portrayed as a conspiracy of the adversaries of Trump. In reality, the Deep State - understood as deeply entrenched networks cutting across federal agencies and congressional staff and serving predominantly Wall Street interests - does indeed exist and has long existed. This Deep State played the decisive role in enabling Trump's seizure of power. Recalling JFK, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and 9/11 puts the Deep State into historical perspective. Factual analysis must start with the role of FBI Director Comey in thowing the election to Trump in the last 11 days. The New York FBI field office allegedly fueled repeated Fox News reports of an imminent indictment of Ms. Clinton. The paralysis of the Obama regime in the face of the Russian attack fits the same pattern. We are left with a ruling class of predatory and parasitical billionaires who are deeply factionalized, many of them functioning as Fifth Columns of hostile foreign powers like Russia and China. We urgently need measures to break the power of the Wall Street financier oligarchy, the main reason these problems exist.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

From day of his inauguration as president, Donald Trump has faced a broad, multifaceted resistance that ranges from neolliberal Democrats such as Hillary Clinton and Andrew Cuomo, to progressives such as Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Elizabeth Warren, on the one hand to social movements of women, immigrants, labor and antifa on the other. How do we characterize Trump's presidency? How do we view the Resistance? How will all of this impact the midterm elections? And where should we socialists be and what should we do?

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

CALLING ALL ARTISTS, ACTIVISTS &TV/DOCUMENTARIANS

Seeking volunteers to create a new cutting-edge Art and Activist Reality TV Show Series and Documentary called "GUERRILLA X ARTIVISM." We are seeking to recruit volunteers for the political campaign staff, the guerrilla art team, Film/TV crew and computer techs to create our website and social media platforms. We need web designers, videographers, documentarians, filmmakers, film crew, funders, investors and political supporters. Use our project to exhibit your unique skill sets, services & products on a wide scale. First meeting is at 1pm on Friday, June 1st at BRU 64 (café/brewery) in Downtown Cortland on 64 Main Street.

Through Cross’ campaign, we will challenge the political status quo in a much more revolutionary way than Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders do so today by introducing a new technology platform that could create a true direct democracy based on Alan Watkins and Imus Stratenus’ book called “Crowdocracy: The End of Politics,” (www.crowd.ngo) within the breakthrough Integral Governing Dynamics (IGD) model that would rein-vent government through the eventual elimination of political parties, career representatives, big money lob-byists and special interest groups that tends to produce dysfunctional government paralysis, corruption and scandals. And in order to popularize this new form of national governance to the world, Cross embarks on an unconventional guerrilla art/political campaign for congress in rural red republican towns and small blue democratic cities of upstate New York. Z.X.C. and his crew of Guerrilla X Artivists launch a clever and innovative political campaign that mobilizes Millennials through their temporary, outdoor, site-specific, art installations at night that communicates the campaign’s new narrative, vision, philosophy and solutions of wicked problems for humanity, while also seeking to depolarize the cultural divisiveness among the electorate in America as a candidate for a metamodern, pseudo-political third party called the Society of the Third Millennium (S3K), while at the same time attempting to orchestrate a major political upset during the 2018 Congressional race through the defeat of conventional Democratic and Republican opponents in the November election.

TITLE OF SHOW:
“GUERRILLA X ARTIVISM”

LOGLINE:

It’s “Banksy Does New York” meets “The War Room.” A daring, 13-week, “Change of Consciousness” guerrilla art/political campaign with “Live-Look Ins” of the actual projects being done in real time during the upcoming 2018 Congressional Election in upstate New York to end politics as we know it, by a Millennial supported, trans-partisan, independent, third party candidate—Zoren X. Cross.

SYNOPSIS:

There is a political blue wave coming. And whether it becomes a terrible tsunami or hopeful harbinger of change depends on one’s cultural orientation and geographical location. However, there is one unforeseen Gen X candidate that threatens to upend all expectations from both sides of the political spectrum through his unconventional campaign of integral guerrilla art in the flippable Congressional District of NY-22….

Zoren X. Cross, otherwise known as “The Rebel Rodder” (a play on the words: rabble rouser/hot rodder) who was the founder and leader of a classic hot rod club in California and used to street race his 1971 Mach 1 Mustang in the early 1990s, now drives an aptly named, black and red modern muscle car—the Dodge CHALLENGER—which is an appropriate vehicle for a guerrilla artist and activist (artivist) to sprint towards the political finish line this Fall. Cross challenges the political status quo in a much more revolutionary way than Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders do so today by introducing a new technology platform that could create a true direct democracy based on Alan Watkins and Imus Stratenus’ book called “Crowdocracy” within Zevin’s breakthrough Integral Governing Dynamics (IGD) model that would reinvent government through the eventual elimination of political parties, career representatives, big money lobbyists and special interest groups that tends to produce dysfunctional government paralysis, corruption and scandals. And in order to popularize this new form of human governance to the world, ZXC embarks on an unconventional guerrilla art/political campaign for congress in rural republican towns and small democratic cities of upstate New York. He and his crew of Guerrilla X Artivists launch a clever and clandestine political campaign that mobilizes Millennials through their temporary seizures of outdoor, public spaces to erect unauthorized, site-specific, art installations at night in order to capture free mainstream media attention by piggy-backing on controversial issues that communicates his campaign themes and solutions to depolarize the cultural divisiveness among the electorate as a candidate for a pseudo-political third party called the Society of the Third Millennium (S3K)—all-the-while trying to avoid detection by the public and apprehension by police during their “midnight maneuvers,” while at the same time attempting to orchestrate a major political upset during the 2018 Congressional race through the defeat of conventional Democratic and Republican opponents in November.

Beginning in mid-July and running right on through election day, November 6, this ingenious Docu-Style Reality TV Series can be enjoyed as both an arced storyline and self-contained episodes. As an arced storyline it documents the 4-month, political journey of a first-time, white Hispanic congressional candidate who does not choose to engage in a hopeless head-on fight against the political machine but instead wisely chooses to unplug it through his refusal to play by the establishment’s rules and opting out of the ruling elite’s political field of battle of big money donors and rich corporate sponsors who end of up owning the politicians they help elect. ZXC instead intends to rewrite the political playbook and elevate the art of reality TV by running a youth-oriented congressional campaign that promotes a new vision, narrative and grand unified theory and strategy for radical evolutionary transformation through a new evolutionary ethos of cooperation, team work and avant-garde guerrilla art instead of the typical survival-of-the-fittest political campaigns and the dog-eat-dog world of competition reality shows. However, ZXC and the Society of the Third Millennium (S3K) still have to follow a campaign timeline and meet milestones by going through the process of recruiting volunteers, forming a campaign staff, assembling a Guerrilla X Artivist crew, doing non-stump political speeches on YouTube, while raising campaign funds by selling S3K merchandise, putting up S3K posters throughout all 8 counties of the congressional district instead of the typical political yard signs to promote the website, meet the write-in petition deadline and enact a “get out the vote” (GOTV) registration drive for Millennials, among many other political activities. And it’s through this unorthodox campaign that the stories of not only the candidate but the individuals involved in the campaign will be told consisting of diverse artists in a variety of mediums like drawing, painting, sculpture, installations and mixed-media and different activists such as rebels, reformers and change agents whose various preferences like: 1) Local interests versus national and global emphasis; 2) Idealism versus pragmatism; 3) Radical change versus moderate pace; and 4) Militant versus moderate advocacy, may clash with dissimilar types of liberal activists who hold different progressive modes of thoughts and emphasis like: 1) Socioeconomic progressives; 2) Identity politics progressives; 3) Environmentalists; 4) Civil liberties progressives; 5) Spiritual progressives; and 6) Antiauthoritarians.

Finally, it’s fair to say that as the economic gap between the rich and poor widens in America (and in other Western democracies) a ripening for revolt will continue as it has for years, if not decades. Since the 2008 Obama Presidential “Change We Can Believe In” campaign, the 2009 Tea Party rebellion, the 2011 OWS occupations, the 2015 Black Lives Matter upheaval, the 2016 Sander’s “political revolution,” and the rightwing revolt of the Trump Triumph—all are major manifestations of the eruptive ebb and flow of populous uprisings swinging right and left and right again. The selection of Donald Trump has proven to be the biggest fuck you to “business-as-usual” in world history. As such, the 2016 presidential election has been described by many political pundits as the year of the outsider—the rejection election. Trump was referred to as political chemo to purge the status quo—a human Molotov cocktail flung at the corrupt system. Sander’s supporters were seen in a similar fashion—an anti-establishment eruption of an embittered electorate. According to the November 9th 2016 CBS Evening News broadcast, Hillary Clinton was a victim of both such populist movements—caught between two revolutions—one on the left with Obama and eight years later stung on the right by Trump. This unique Docu-Style Reality TV Series reflects the contemporary trends and current political, economic, social and cultural climate that has birthed multiple movements like: 1) “Pencils Down” Wildcat Teachers’ Strikes, 2) Never Again Movement (NAM), 3) the DACA Immigrant Rights/Sanctuary Movement, 4) the Women’s March (MeToo/Times Up) Movement, 5) The Resistance Movement, 6) The Anti-Fascist Movement (ANTIFA), 7) Black Lives Matter (BLM) Movement, 8) Community Rights Movement (CRM), 9) Moral Revival Mondays Movement and 10) the new Poor People’s Campaign derived from the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s shift from civil rights to the Economic Justice Movement begun in 1968. All leading many of us to conclude—the Rebels are on the Rise and the Establishment is on the Ropes! And “Guerrilla X Artivism” is just the vehicle to showcase solutions by inserting them into the American consciousness through popular culture for maximum exposure to the widest audience possible and thus, potentially increase citizen engagement in order to evolve our system of governance and elevate our society to the next evolutionary leap of human existence like a “Second Age of Enlightenment,” or what I like to refer to as the “Epic Era of Metamodernism.” Is this too much to expect from a reality TV show? Perhaps, but my past unconventional life experiences have always been about defying the odds and achieving some level of success. My approach to this epic endeavor will be no different but ultimately there is only one way to truly find out.

Contact Campaign Manager Email: zevinxcruz@gmail.com / Facebook: Zevin X. Cruz / Phone: (607) 835-6673

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

The last several years have seen cracks in the hegemony of bourgeois electoral politics unlike anything we’ve seen since the beginning of the neoliberal era in the late 1970s. Tens of thousands of radicalizing young people have been mobilized in progressive campaigns and have aspirations of socialism.

The contradictions of this moment will be sharply felt. Mass layers of people are discontent and want alternatives to neoliberal politics including the Clintonite Democratic Party. Many will be drawn toward progressive Democrats and Democratic Party primary challenges. Some of these efforts will likely be fruitful in the short term, but we can’t expect them to lead to anything transformative in the medium to long term, and the pressure on organizers to remain within the orbit of the Democratic Party will be immense despite the sharp criticisms many have of the party.

The Green Party has grown and been somewhat revitalized but remains marginal, with its victories limited to scattered and minor local seats. It is simply not seen as a serious alternative by the great majority of people joining the resistance, and no interventions from small socialist organizations are going to change that.

Arguments about de-prioritizing elections and building movements are similarly unlikely to be persuasive in the era of Trump and the violent incompetence of Republican dominance—and serious socialist strategy cannot forever dodge the question of elections and state power in any case.

We need an approach to electoral politics that can:

Win meaningful victories (both in terms of winning office and of winning strategic reforms);

Attract important layers of activists and give them an electoral vehicle that is widely seen as serious AND that remains structurally independent of the Democratic Party;

Build organization(s) that mobilize people, bridge gaps between social movements and electoral politics, and provide a grassroots base the means by which to hold candidates and elect officials accountable.

While conditions don’t yet exist for the creation of a new national party of a mass type and that meets the above criteria, we must continue to lay the groundwork for such a formation. To that end, we must struggle with some strategic questions:

What organization forms should our efforts employ?
What historical lessons might we draw on?
How do we coordinate left electoral efforts in the absence of a singular left party?

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

This panel will consider whether, to give action a direction, opposition to Trumpism needs to be grounded in philosophy—that is, philosophical principles and/or specific philosophical and theoretical tenets. If so, what are the principles and tenets that are needed, and why are they needed? Panelists will also discuss the responsibilities of groups and individuals rooted in Marx’s philosophy to the new mass movement against Trumpism, as well as their responsibilities above and beyond this moment’s immediate struggles.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Tens of millions of Americans and people around the world, including some of “the left,” have regarded Trump and Trumpism as exceptional threats to our well-being that must be resisted tooth-and-nail. But others have argued that anti-Trumpism is a problem, that concerns about Trumpism are a distraction from struggles against neo-liberalism and U.S. state power, and/or that the left should reach out to Trump’s anti-establishment and populist base.

This debate will feature speakers with different positions on these and related questions. Among the issues to be considered is whether or not the positions one opposes are genuinely “of the left.”

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

This panel brings together two undergraduate students and two faculty members to discuss and explore the possibilities of student-faculty collaborative research projects as sites for social justice work and campus organizing. The project at the center of this panel investigates the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a nationwide “nonprofit” composed of state legislators and private corporations. Founded in the 1970s, ALEC works to create bills that are disguised to seem unbiased, yet are designed to benefit corporations at the expense of America’s middle and working classes. After ALEC, along with its legislative and corporate members, creates a “model bill,” legislators introduce it in state and federal governing bodies, allowing the organization to quietly coordinate and direct the nation’s political agenda. ALEC is responsible for some of the most egregious attacks on minority, immigrant, and working-class groups in recent years. It has promoted its pro-business, anti-immigrant, and anti-environment platform by crafting model policies for voter ID laws, mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines and bail bonds reforms that benefit the private prison industry, and accountability policies that aim to exploit America’s education system for profit.

As a student-faculty collaborative team, three of our panelists will describe the work they are doing at the University of California, Santa Barbara, to expose ALEC’s impacts on America’s working and middle classes by analyzing already-existing sources of information about ALEC, investigating Millennials’ information literacy capacities and rhetorical preferences for political information, and creating a multimodal campaign of social media messaging and on-campus organizing. Their goal is to mobilize college students to learn about and take action to stop ALEC’s campaign against equitable, inclusive policymaking.

Our first two speakers, undergraduates Wendy Santamaria and Sudeep Dhanoa, will begin the panel by describing ALEC and explaining how it works as a core part of right wing political activity in state and federal government. Then they will discuss findings from their comparative study of the effectiveness, reliability, and persuasive power of different rhetorical strategies for raising awareness about political issues on social media and websites. In today’s noisy media landscape, how can young people learn about complex political entities like ALEC? Santamaria and Dhanoa will present examples of the existing online information about ALEC, the infographics and info-videos their team has been developing, and the types of multimedia texts college students describe as most reliable, effective, and persuasive for learning about political issues on Facebook, Instagram, and other sites.

The third speaker will be Heather Steffen, a postdoctoral scholar and lecturer who collaborates with Santamaria and Dhanoa. Steffen will introduce key points from the literature on student-faculty collaboration in research and on the ways college faculty and staff can support student activists. She will reflect on the challenges and possibilities of such collaborative and supportive relationships, using examples from the ALEC project to demonstrate the enhanced learning, strong cross-generational bonds, and creative thinking about organizing that can take place in sites where students and faculty work together.

The panel and Q&A will be moderated by John Maerhofer, an adjunct assistant professor with experience in global and postcolonial studies. We will reserve at least 40 minutes of the panel’s time for open discussion among attendees, and we hope to spark a lively debate about the possibilities of activist research at institutions of higher education, as well as to prompt consideration of the potential that lies in cross-generational and student-teacher collaboration.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

This panel proposes to examine the relationship between the growth in socialism as a mainstream discourse and political platform in the United States since 2016, and the Green Party as an independent left electoral force. It asks what role the Green Party might have to play in spreading socialist political success, if any, and how the Party's platform and views might coincide with socialist ones. It also asks whether the Green Party is a place where a socialist caucus or faction has a place, what that group's perspective can or should be, and how it might develop if so.

Location: 
NYC
Description/Abstract of your Event: 

As always, education is an ideological battleground. Decisions about what students are expected to study and how they are expected to react to current events are shaped by tensions between different political and pedagogical philosophies. Teachers who invite students to directly examine the nature of ideology are often dismissed as “brainwashing” students, while the status quo is unproblematized and treated as neutral. This session will continue a discussion started in the first session (Addressing Ideology in the Classroom Pt. 1). The facilitator and two presenters from the first session will review the key issues that have been raised. Then two new presenters will make brief remarks. The first new presenter is a high school History teacher, and the second is a teaching artist. At that point, the facilitator will moderate an open dialogue between the presenters and those in attendance. The focus will be how teachers can help students productively engage in analysis of the ideological dimensions of key topics (e.g., xenophobia and immigration policy, the representation of minorities in literature, the history of US imperialism, etc.). As part of this conversation, we expect that participants will examine the ideological nature of education itself under neoliberalism and share suggestions for helping students critique the educations they are receiving.