Economics

Description/Abstract of your Event: 
A farmworker leader from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) will share the history of the organization, conditions faced by farmworkers in the U.S. agricultural industry — including abuses such as sexual harassment and forced labor — and the transformative changes now in effect in the U.S. tomato industry as a result of the award-winning Fair Food Program in setting new farm labor standards, implementing fair wages, and eliminating abuses through its groundbreaking model of Worker Driven Social Responsibility. The workshop will also focus on the models through which the CIW has built power-- from the early days of general strikes and labor stoppages in the tomato fields of Southwest Florida, to the Campaign for Fair Food with successful boycotts of powerful multinational corporations, and then to the implementation of new worker directed standards in the agricultural industry. The workshop will be facilitated in both Spanish and English. There will be a question and answer session in which attendees can engage with farmworker leaders on their experiences as farmworkers, the movement for Fair Food and how they can be involved in the movement for farmworker justice.
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This panel is intended to change the conversation about student debt in this country. As Martin Luther King Jr. advised sanitation workers on strike in Memphis, Tennessee, in his last speech before being assassinated, in order to save our common future, student debtors must “anchor our external direction with the power of economic withdrawal”. Activists from four generations will discuss the possibility that an organized movement of student debtors could use its collective burden as leverage to demand transformational change before the 2020 presidential election, particularly the cancellation of all outstanding student debt and fully funding public higher education as a right for all Americans. We must decide whether the United States will continue to invest so much in producing indebtedness, or whether we will empower 44 million Americans to use the full extent of their education to transform society. In order to change the focus of the national dialogue on this issue, the American public must be made aware of what has been hidden in plain sight- all of the major student loan servicing companies (Navient, Nelnet, PHEAA) are gambling with hundreds of billions of dollars in federal student loan debt, and the failure of the market for SLABS (Student Loan Asset Backed Securities) may result in a systemic liquidity crisis to rival the financial crisis that caused the Great Recession of 2007-2009. The struggle for human survival past this century depends upon the ability of global movements to coordinate a strategic confrontation with the ruling class, whose malicious greed and indifferent negligence has produced the existential crises we are facing. Every day we continue to perform the status quo, greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and student loan interest accumulate. Throughout history, there have been countless movements of working class people demanding the cancellation of unpayable debts to the ruling class, and as history repeats it is a tactic we must consider. This panel will consider the notion that if the student debt bubble is doomed regardless, the most advantageous position for student debtors to take is to refuse to pay their debts and force the moment to its crisis. Given the emergencies we are in, could this tactic be effective, and is it morally righteous?
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LA
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Description/Abstract of your Event: 
There are many reasons to start your own bank. We ask this conversation remain practical, explaining what mutual banks, co-operative banks, public banks, land banks, time banks, peer-to-peer banks and all these other banking models are, why you may want to join one, or start your own. Moderated by Chris Lindstrom with farmer Tianna Kennedy (of Catskills Time), artists Julieta Aranda and Anton Vidokle (of E-Flux Time/Bank), Mike Krauss and Kristen Ragusin (of the Public Banking Institute), and Elizabeth Friedrich (of the Occupy Bank Working Group). --- "The only true method of organizing the alternative world of Mutuality is thru voluntary non-state free institutions such as co-ops, mutual banking & insurance ... sustainable economic ventures (i.e. non-capitalist businesses) like independent farms and craft ateliers willing to federate with the commons..." - Peter Lamborn Wilson, "Occupy Wall Street, Act Two" --- "The ideal [Occupy] bank would be democratically owned and controlled by its customers and employees. Like many credit unions, all depositors would get an equal say, regardless of the size of their accounts. It would be non-profit, building in a competitive advantage over the for-profit banks ... Any small-scale bank we establish say in New York would have be to be replicable by others elsewhere." - Carne Ross (Occupy Bank)
Location: 
LA
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Description/Abstract of your Event: 
The best way to fight a monopoly is to create actual alternatives to it. A roundtable discussion of what approaches, cautions and political questions to consider as we build out these additional monetary systems.
Location: 
LA
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Description/Abstract of your Event: 
With mass production of products and denser populations it's no longer possible for people to make most of the things required to survive in an urban culture. Economists have been clear about the value of this specialization of skills & knowledge on increased wealth, but a fair bargain has not been made for the people who forfeit their self sufficiency. The weakness of LETS/barter/clearinghouse schemes is that they donѓ??t invest in infrastructure. Silvio Gesell's demurrage currency properly addresses the reasons our money tends to pool into ever fewer hands, causing the velocity to slow & the inflationary injection of new money into the system by central banks. A holding fee removes the incentive for leveraged speculation and encourages long term investment. Demurrage currencies promote long term thinking by imposing the same storage fee on currency that real assets have. Positive interest rates prefer short term gains since returns on long term projects are exponentially discounted to present value. Demurrage currencies have the opposite effect; itѓ??s more profitable to spend on fruitful long term projects. A demurrage currency that invests in nonprofits chosen by its users democratizes the added value of our credit commons and amplifies the benefits of these non-profits. Nonprofits that provide housing food and jobs for people at risk are the ideal place to begin building a truly democratic economy.
Location: 
LA
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Description/Abstract of your Event: 
The Left suffers from something like Econophobia -- we tend to be afraid or at least apprehensive about engaging in economic debate. To capture the public imagination and intervene successfully in politics today, the Left needs to strengthen its capacity to understand and explain economics in popular terms.
Location: 
LA
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Description/Abstract of your Event: 
Occupy Alternative Banking proposes to run one of its typical weekly Sunday meetings as a Left Forum workshop, as it did the last two years. You can learn about us at http://altbanking.net/. But in brief, we grew out of Open University sessions at the Occupy protests, and have been meeting ever since. We are open to all comers, and meet every Sunday afternoon at Columbia University to discuss current events and theory related to the dysfunction of the financial system, develop strategies, and endeavor to implement them. Our meeting-structure involves listing some topics for possible discussion, allowing attendees to add others, and then voting on two or three to discuss (in assembly-style format) during the meeting. We believe our two previous appearances at the Left Forum were very successful, both in terms of how they were received, and in their bringing some wonderful new consistent members to our weekly meetings and community. We propose to run a similar workshop this year. Other presenters will include Natasha Blakely and Thessy Mehrain, both of Occupy Alternative Banking.
Description/Abstract of your Event: 
Panelists will pose the Henry George Theorem in terms of a picture of society battling within diametric poles of “democracy” and “capitalism.” Whereas the capitalist would maximize gain without concern for social and income inequality, the small “d” democrat would use government to assure that moral suasion and Constitutional rights put limits on capitalists maximizing their yields. Steve suggests an aspirational technique of letting free markets work will allow land value taxes to be quantified and made available for use by the community for all the services constituents need.
Description/Abstract of your Event: 
Income Inequality is growing wider by the day while Social Ills keep ailing the global human polity amidst an unparalleled advancement of the technological and scientific frontier. We are being told that handouts to the poor, minimum wage, Unions, Taxing the Rich Lowering Taxes, Social Security, Universal Basic Income, Free Pre-K, Free College for All, Open Borders and unchecked immigration, Deficit Spending, Unlimited Government borrowing, Reintroducing the Gold Standard, Reforming the Federal Reserve, "Free" Trade or Protectionism, Regulated or Deregulated Markets, Protecting Private Property/Or its centralized appropriation are solutions to the problem. All these contradictory solutions are being touted by either side of the ruling elites and their parrots in Politics, Media and Academia as solutions to our Society's problems. Really? All these schemes have been applied in one form or another and seem to exacerbate the problem rather than solving it. In a battle with the Cancerous Viral effects of "Rent Seeking" behavior both the so called "Left" and the so called "Right" come in armed with band-aids... all the while playing useful idiots to the one and only real enemy of the Productive Classes i.e the Rent-Seekers (masqueraded as Financiers, Insurance Companies, Real Estate Owners). So what should the productive classes do? Come and join us in an eye-opening discussion and effective solutions against the progressive gangrene of the economic enslavement of Humanity and the Destruction of our Global Commons.