left forum 2008



March 14-16
The Cooper Union, New York City

Each spring in New York City, Left Forum gathers intellectuals and activists from around the world to address the burning issues of our times. The theme for 2008  was "CRACKS IN THE EDIFICE". We examined the context of an empire in the throes of collapse and discuss the possibilities for social movements to build a better world in its place.

We are living in a time of economic and political meltdown. Even once-stable governments in the advanced capitalist nations are not immune from decay, while in other parts of the world war and genocide have become the rule. The disintegration of the social fabric has brought insurgencies, some presenting a progressive alternative to corrupt regimes but others led by religious fundamentalists.

The U.S. President -- with the collaboration of both parties in Congress -- has pursued an agenda heavy on imperial interests despite the myriad domestic problems we face. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and U.S. military and civilians have been killed in this oil-soaked war, but the urgent needs of the majority of our own civilians remain unfulfilled.

How can we address and challenge such catastrophe when our collective voices often seem weak and our alternatives underdeveloped? Left Forum provides a unique space for the generation of ideas crucial to theorizing and building a resurgent Left. In 2008, the Forum included participants from all corners of North America, as well as Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America. It was a truly rare opportunity for a global left dialogue.

The primary questions explored are as critical as they are classic: What is the nature of the current conjuncture, and how can the Left intervene effectively?


The Left Forum 2008 featured over 100 panels on topics including:

-- Remembering 1968
-- Crises in Africa
-- China, India, & A World in Transition
-- Proliberalism & Nation-States
-- Political Satire In a Serious World
-- Social Movements & Electoral Politics
-- The Latin American Right
-- Anarchism in Theory & Practice
-- The Solidarity Economy
-- Palestine, Israel & Chaos in the Middle East
-- The Saga of New Orleans Continues
-- Mainstreaming Racism & Professional Sports
-- The Housing Meltdown
-- Anti-Capitalist Movements From the Left & Right
-- Global Labor Unions & International Solidarity
-- Building a Better Feminist Movement
-- Homelessness & Resistance In New York City
-- Literature & Politics
-- Utopian Visions For the 21st Century
-- Ecology & Catastrophe
-- Puerto Ricans in Diaspora
-- New Student Movements
-- War In Iraq & the Struggle to End It
-- Activism Across Generations
-- Fighting Gentrification in the Global Barrio

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Photographs by Joel Simpson.

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