Culture and Everyday Life

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Theater of the Oppressed (TO) is a methodology and set of techniques that has its origins in the political and cultural liberation struggles that developed in Brazil during the 1950s and 1960s. It was founded by the late Augusto Boal (1931-2009) in the early 1970s, and since then has been used around the world by activists and organizers fighting against oppression in all its forms as a tool to help mobilize communities in struggle. Conceived and practiced as a martial art, TO is rooted in a popular education model of theater; its original objective is to transfer the “means of production of the theater” to people fighting to change power relations at all levels of society. In the United States context, TO has been successfully applied in immigrant rights organizing, in anti-racism education, in community leadership training, and in many other projects and endeavors that are striving for social justice and radical anti-capitalist change. Founded in 1990 with the support of the Brecht Forum/New York Marxist School, the Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB) is the oldest group in the US offering TO facilitation training. In this workshop, the presenters—all long-time TO practitioners—will teach some of the basic TO games and exercises, in which participants will explore how they and the communities and constituencies with whom they work can apply TO techniques to build solidarity, a sense of community, and a greater level of engagement with people who are actively working for social transformation. TOPLAB has offered annual workshops at the Socialist Scholars Conference and the Left Forum since the early 1990s.
Request: Two 110-minute back-to-back sessions. This has been TOPLAB's workshop format for many years. The same workshop will be offered twice.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Theater of the Oppressed (TO) is a methodology and set of techniques that has its origins in the political and cultural liberation struggles that developed in Brazil during the 1950s and 1960s. It was founded by the late Augusto Boal (1931-2009) in the early 1970s, and since then has been used around the world by activists and organizers fighting against oppression in all its forms as a tool to help mobilize communities in struggle. Conceived and practiced as a martial art, TO is rooted in a popular education model of theater; its original objective is to transfer the “means of production of the theater” to people fighting to change power relations at all levels of society. In the United States context, TO has been successfully applied in immigrant rights organizing, in anti-racism education, in community leadership training, and in many other projects and endeavors that are striving for social justice and radical anti-capitalist change. Founded in 1990 with the support of the Brecht Forum/New York Marxist School, the Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB) is the oldest group in the US offering TO facilitation training. In this workshop, the presenters—all long-time TO practitioners—will teach some of the basic TO games and exercises, in which participants will explore how they and the communities and constituencies with whom they work can apply TO techniques to build solidarity, a sense of community, and a greater level of engagement with people who are actively working for social transformation. TOPLAB has offered annual workshops at the Socialist Scholars Conference and the Left Forum since the early 1990s.
Request: Two 110-minute back-to-back sessions. This has been TOPLAB's workshop format for many years. The same workshop will be offered twice.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Our vision of Freedom Dreaming: A Call to Imagine envisions a world without racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, classism, etc. We recognize the impact that these multiple and intersecting structures of oppression can negatively have on individuals lives. We believe in elevating the voices of those from marginalized communities who experience oppression in order to call attention these inequalities. Inspired by Robin Kelley's "Freedom Dreams" we have created a platform, teaching materials, and structured workshops aimed at producing a communal vision for freedom through the radical imaginary. We aim to build empowerment through fostering safe spaces online, and networking like-minded marginalized folks together. If given the opportunity, Left Forum is an incredible platform to extend our reach in extending our mission and inspiring youth to express their thoughts without the fear of being silenced.
Furthermore, we hope to inspire individuals to take action against these injustices by recognizing them to move towards a more just and free society. As the dreams of freedom continue this digital campaign builds on the community program that came before. Visitors to the workshop are encouraged to create, reflect, and engage with fellow dreamers in a supportive and creative environment both physically and digitally. This workshop will engage with the concept of Freedom Dreaming from multiple angles, including visual art, sound, and personal reflection to demonstrate the numerous ways in which one can Freedom Dream and what that might look like in a classroom setting and beyond. Our goal is for all participants to leave with at least one personal and communal Freedom Dream as well as connections, resources, and action steps to move their dreams forward.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Within the panel, speakers from Russia and the United States - famous scientists and public figures will show that the basis of the ongoing 5-year conflict between Russia and the US is the contradiction of the corporate capitals of these countries, which are closely aligned with the top of their state apparatus.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Censorship of writers is one of the hallmarks of a totalitarian regime. In the United States, we're seeing unprecedented attacks against journalists by this presidency. Writing in all its forms (nonfiction, fiction and poetry) are more important than ever. How can we continue to write during this time of crisis? Five writers, ranging from novelists to professionals in health and education, offer a variety of tools to resist and persevere, using words to clarify, heal, and amplify our voices and bring people together in solidarity for progressive change. This workshop will be dynamic with group exercises and resources that will give the audience a way forward in writing what matters to them and to our global community that is at risk.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Recent years have provided no shortage of opportunities to become outraged at the powers that dominate our world. From spiraling social inequalities within and between countries, to the rise of white nationalist xenophobia and open misogyny in the Trump White House (magnified by the rise of social media), the basis for popular rage and Left organizing is widespread. The ruling order is rapidly losing legitimacy in many places. And yet, existing Left organizations often struggle and fall short of seizing the opportunities that our times present, caught up in their own contradictions, routinized habits, and knee-jerk reactions. While there has certainly been substantial growth in some Left groups (particularly those riding the Bernie Sanders wave), others falter, remain marginalized, mired by sectarian in-fighting, or have split apart suddenly and altogether--leaving members and onlookers in shock. What is going on? Why does it so often seem that Left organizations are prone to self-destructive tendencies? What ideas, attitudes, and methods currently in practice seem to be holding back the potential of our radical movement? Our panel will seek to draw from history and from personal experience, sharing reflections on practice that might contribute to building sustainable radical culture and organization. While examining some of the problematic aspects of Left organizing and discourse, this panel will also explore how we might shed oppressive habits of thought and practice that have been inherited from the dominant society, as we work to create a world of true justice, solidarity, equality, and human flourishing.

A. Shahid Stover, "Bad Faith, Leftist Defeatism and the Imperial Mainstream"

Linda A. Liu, "Victim Cultures and the Left"

David Keil, "Problems on the Left: the need for due process and non-violent language"

Location: 
NYC
Description/Abstract of your Event: 

There has been a strong leftist thread in psychiatry driven by the conviction that psychiatry can be an emancipating endeavor. This perspective rests on the foundational point that psychiatry’s principal object, the mind (psychological sphere), is inherently biological and social. Viewed from this perspective, psychiatry has a necessary role in understanding how to further liberation at the individual and social levels. This session will begin by providing a survey of various trends in Left Psychiatry including its intermingling with psychoanalysis, behaviorism, humanism, structuralism, post–structuralism, anti-psychiatry, and radical psychiatry. Some of the limitations of these approaches with respect to psychology of individuals in general as well as mental illness will be discussed, e.g., idealism, positivism, the disembodiment of the individual, and social reductionism. Next, we will discuss emerging models including “critical psychiatry,” “structural competency,” and consumer groups such as Mind Freedom or the Hearing Voices Network. We will discuss the tensions between these approaches and the enormous gaps in psychiatric services and the validity of demands for “evidence-based” practices.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

The focus of our panel is on the meaning and challenges to love in a neo-liberal era wherein what is valued is consumer driven and conditioned by the market forces of conformity, conditional love, helicopter parenting, gender and sexual normatives, and the resultant profound loneliness escaped via addictions, celebrity culture and social media. Our focus is on retrieving the richness of loving and being loved from neoliberalism’s shallow versions of both.
Britton: Saving Love in an Unloving Culture
Javors: The Mental Health Industry: Normalizing Regimens of Love
Langer: Gender and Sexuality: My Life as a Chameleon

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Jazz and Self Determination 4 is the continuation of discussions focused on the socio-political components within the Jazz idiom. The free jazz movement of the 1960's and 70's are the primary focus with the primaries of this activity providing the narrative. The first installment premiered at Left Forum 2018 and the second took place at The People's Forum, March 10, 2019. The topics include: formations of collectives, independent record labels, underground festivals, gender, working conditions for musicians and the black arts movement. Althea SullyCole is the co host as occurred on Left Forum 2018.
The panelists include:
Greg Tate, Basir Mchawi, Ahmed Abdullah, Ted Daniel, Jeremiah Hosea and William Parker.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

W.A.R Stories: Walter Anthony Rodney is a 2010 documentary film by Clairmont Chung which is a political and personal biography of the Guyanese revolutionary Walter Rodney who was assassinated in 1980. Cornell University's Africana studies dept gives this apt summary of the film: "It’s a story of a man who dedicated his life, and ultimately, gave his life in the struggle for equal rights and justice. He did so through his considerable intellectual gifts and actual grassroots involvement everywhere he went. The people who knew him weave a tale of how they related to him and him them. In the process we see the growth of their friend, brother, father, husband, his ideology and how that changed over the years from his coming of age in racially divided Guyana through the cold war, the Black Power Movement, Pan-Africanism, Caribbean independence, and the idea of self emancipation. "

After the screening (1hr 27 mins), a brief discussion will be held on the implications of the film for contemporary Guyana and the wider Caribbean with the director Clairmont Chung, Robert Cuffy of the Socialist Workers Alliance of Guyana and Twinkle Paul of Guyana Trans United.