Left Forum 2007


March 9-11 Cooper Union, New York City

We live in dark times, but also hopeful times. The Bush administration has plunged the world into an endless war against the Iraqi and Afghani people, and now threatens to expand its colonial aspirations to other locales. In 2007, the cost of these wars to the American people rose into the trillions of dollars, while much of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast still languished in unattended rubble, a year and a half after Katrina. The refusal of the administration then in office to address these contradictions may visit incalculable devastation on our planet and its people, which even the most privileged will be unable to ignore. Yet 2006 was also a year during which the Right—in the United States, Latin America and elsewhere— suffered severe setbacks, with social movements and voters alike decisively rejecting its economic and social policies, and its wars. While it would be excessive to claim that the Left took the offensive, for the first time in a generation many were prepared to contemplate an alternative to the cockeyed market optimism of the neoliberals.

The events at Left Forum offered a provocative challenge to left movements around the world. Is protest and resistance a sufficient strategy to stay the hand of the forces of global devastation? Is reform the farthest horizon of our own hopes, or, if not, what are the steps towards fundamental economic, political and social transformation? Can the Left advance an alternative vision capable of capturing the popular imagination? Left Forum 2007, Forging a Radical Political Future, addressed the strategic and practical steps needed for us to move forward. We offered debate on the oft-neglected issue of political organization; and panels engaged the struggles for popular power of social movements here and across the globe. In short, this Left Forum poses the questions necessary to forging a radical political future.

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Photographs by Joel Simpson.

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