War/Peace

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NYC
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This panel will include 3 people who recently visited Odessa to support the families to memorialize those killed in a right-wing massacre in 2014. It will also include a Ukrainian national. It will discuss the situation with the war in Donbass, the recent elections, the growth of Fascism and more.

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Sanctions are among a range of coercive instruments used by the United States government to achieve its foreign policy goals. Often presented as a diplomatic and peaceful alternative to direct military engagement, sanctions ironically can have just as devastating outcomes. They may also be seen as a prelude to actual kinetic warfare, strategically deployed to weaken targeted governments and/or their populations’ morale. Indeed sanctions may even create the very "humanitarian crises" to which they were allegedly responding. Addressing the situations of Cuba, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela, this panel addresses the origins, implementation, and impact of US-imposed sanctions. It will also consider both popular and state-based resistance to sanctions in both the United States and in the targeted countries.

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Bring your poems of peace, social justice and resistance to our annual Left Forum open mic! The Radical Poets Collective is a group of poets who are also activists and dissidents across a range of movements for social change, from immigration to Israel-Palestine, Syria, climate change, Marxism, the Black Lives movement and more. Poetry, as an expression of the radical imagination, challenges society, empowers us in speaking truth to power, and inspires us to action, bringing hope to those who are hopeless and self-empowerment to those who have felt helpless. Come to learn more about us and what we do, and then read your poems along with us as we read ours.

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NYC
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Blocking U.S. imperialism’s regime change agenda focused on Venezuela and Iran should be a priority for the left. Our panel will discuss both the historical context for this threat and the critical relevancy to the global anti-imperialist/climate and energy justice movements. The debate in the left regarding Maduro and the course of the Bolivarian Revolution is secondary, on one side is Trump/Pompeo/Bolton/Elliot Abrams (the war criminal from the Reagan era) and their appointed "president" Guaido, on the other side is the right of self-determination of Venezuela free of criminal imperial aggression/economic warfare/sanctions and the continuing threat of armed intervention. We should note U.S. involvement in the 2002 failed coup. Considering Iran, the sordid history of U.S. intervention goes back to the 1953 CIA-instigated coup removing Mossadegh. Now Iran is once again a target of regime change, with the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear agreement and imposing new sanctions raising the danger of a reprise of the catastrophic Iraq war. Militarized fossil capital wants control of the world’s biggest oil reserve found in Venezuela’s Orinoco deposit and likewise the fourth largest reserve in Iran. Extracting this oil will drive us to catastrophic climate change (C3). Only by blocking the imperial agenda will the ecosocialist-inspired Bolivarian Revolution have the chance to use a small fraction of its conventional oil reserve as an energy supply for solarization of Latin America, as well as a revenue source for its social transformation, thereby creating a model for a cooperative global regime for preventing C3.

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Location: 
LA
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This panel is inspired by the bicentennial of Karl Marx’s birth on May 5, 1818. On June 30, 2018, the NY Times published a column headlined: “The Millennial Socialists Are Coming.” Is “the spectre of communism [still] haunting” America and the world 200 years after Marx was born? Panelists representing different leftist parties and perspectives will tackle these questions and more. Speakers will explain their conceptions of what Marxism is and explore whether Marxism is still relevant 170 years after Marx and Engels wrote The Communist Manifesto.

Is Marxism a Stalinist police state with a command economy and gulags? Or is Marxism a utopian pie-in-the-sky fantasy of a classless society? Is this just an outdated philosophy from 1848 that is no longer relevant in the 21st century? Or is Marxism a participatory, direct democracy of the workers, by the workers and for the workers?

Is Marxism applicable in 2018? Come the revolution, how will Marxism impact on economics? Race? Gender? Class? Militarism? Endless war? Can Marxism solve inequality across the board and create an egalitarian social system? Is Marxism a workers’ paradise, “an association in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all,” where the golden rule is “from each according to their abilities to each according to their needs”?