Economics

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Wondering why we're experiencing abortion bans and attacks on birth control? The birth rate is plunging in the U.S.: It's a spontaneous birth strike! In other countries, panic over low birth rates has led governments to underwrite childbearing and childrearing with generous universal programs, but in the U.S., women have not yet realized the potential of our bargaining position. When we do, it will lead to new strategies for improving the difficult working conditions U.S. parents now face when raising children. Join Jenny Brown, in discussion with Laura Tanenbaum, on her new book, Birth Strike: The Hidden Fight over Women’s Work (PM Press, 2019).

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

My Mis-Education in 3 Graphics documents the filmmaker’s darkly humorous journey through the mind-boggling constructs of mainstream economics. Critics offer some clear-sighted alternatives to the dominating economists' beliefs and models. The film is a visually fun satire deconstructing the current orthodox version of "the dismal science".

Filmed introductory economics course lectures and interviews with economists reveal the enormous rift between the economic textbook models and the filmmaker’s and other critics’ understandings of economic reality. The first part of the film explores how mainstream economics (mis)represents markets, the next is a presentation of their befuddling model of the firm, and the final section, on macroeconomics, points to some of the major issues hidden by the models: financial debt’s contribution to inequality, and the unaccounted for destruction of the natural world.

Mainstream economists such as N.Gregory Mankiw, George Borts, Timothy Taylor, and Lawrence Summers are critiqued by Herman Daly, Michael Hudson, Randall Wray, Richard McIntyre, Richard and Max Wolff, Robert Pollin, Nancy Holmstrom, Richard Smith, Costas Panayotakis, Doug Henwood, John Foster, Susan Feiner, and Stephen Marglin.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Scores of political commentators have been recently suggesting, humorously but also earnestly, that we are currently living through a second "Gilded Age," an era in U.S. history when, as now, public concerns included rampant technological shifts, "massive wealth inequalities, hyperpartisanship, virulent anti-immigrant sentiment and growing concern about money in politics." (Edward T. O'Donnell, "Are We Living in the Gilded Age 2.0?" www.history.com/news/second-gilded-age-income-inequality ) 

The pushback against the first Gilded Age, of course, included what we now sometimes call the Progressive Era. Taking this idea as a starting point, our Roundtable will ask: What can current grassroots activists learn from 20th century organizing experiences about building a viable Left Alliance?

Panelists will foment a broad-ranging discussion on subjects that may include the imbalance of wealth and power, migration and immigration law, environmental justice, reparations for slavery, interference in Latin American countries by U.S. moneyed elites, and current fights for gender and class equity of all kinds.

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A proper material analysis of the world requires constant engagement with developments in science and philosophy. This panel hopes to explore the ideas how complexity science, evolution, computation, sync, and similar scientific and philosophical insights might inform today's left politics. The presentation will start with a discussion of basic principles of complexity theory such as linear vs non-linear systems, replication, feedback, emergent behavior, and sync. Within this framework we will look at some example phenomena in today's political discourse such as individual and systemic racism, third party politics, comparative revolutionary processes, and how complex systems inform debt unionization.

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The solidarity economy is an alternative to capitalism that is growing up within and alongside of it, and within and outside of markets. In contrast to capitalism, centered in individualism, greed, competition, and domination, it is based on values of solidarity and cooperation, equity in all dimensions, sustainability, economic and political democracy, and pluralism. This roundtable will discuss the growth and development of the solidarity economy both conceptually and concretely within two cities, Boston and New York, and on a national scale. What forms is it taking? What are the forces encouraging its growth, and some of the problems and limitations being encountered? What can we learn from one another’s best practices? Julie will speak as an academic, providing historical and theoretical context for the emergence and growth of the solidarity economy. Micky will speak from her experience as a worker-owner in Agaric, with the platform cooperativism movement, and with UjimaBoston, which is building solidarity economy as a means of empowerment and economic development in an under-resourced community of color in Boston. Sarah works alongside Micky and 450+ members with the Boston Ujima Project as Ujima's Communications Organizer. She will discuss her work building connections and shared strategy with Ujima and with Resource Generation, a national organization focused on shifting wealth and power to POC-led movements, among young people access to wealth and class privilege. Emilie will speak as a board member and peer educator at CEANYC, involved in their leadership development work, including their Cooperative Leadership Intensive and Food Co-op Anti-Racism training, and as well as plans to build an Advocacy Council of grassroots solidarity economy practitioners.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

This panel will examine the political economy of the weak recovery since the 2008 financial crisis. The panel will examine the weakness of this recovery in connection with the failure of the recession of 2008-9 to destroy or devalue sufficient unprofitable capital, or deleverage enough debt, to ensure a strong rebound in profitability. The fragility came, above all, from the bloated financial system, which threatened to generalise any new sign of crisis. The uncertainty was a product of state interventions that helped put a floor under the crisis without resolving the fundamental problems that caused it.

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At the panel speakers will argue that the decline of neo-liberalism and the growth of a new conservative wave are objectively conditioned. The prevailing model of late capitalism that has led to the domination of the market of simulacra, financialization and stagnation, called the ‘new normality’, cannot ensure the progress of the productive forces that are on the verge of not just another technological revolution, but a qualitative change – the genesis of the economy in which a decisive role will be played not by reproductive, but by creative work. Not just re-industrialization – the coming creative revolution – necessitates at least a deep reform of the currently dominant social and economic system. The non-realization of these changes is fraught with conservative regress of both the economy and society. The main directions of reforming the system of economic relations that respond to the challenges of the progress of the productive forces will be discussed at the panel.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Since the end of slavery in the United States in the 19th century the question of reparation to slaves and their descendants has been a topic of conversation. The unfinished process of Reconstruction of the South left unfilled the promise of 40 Acres and a mule to Black Americans. More recently, in the 2016 presidential campaign and currently in the run up to the nomination of the Democratic Party presidential campaign the topic of reparations has surfaced yet again. While most candidates vying for the Democratic presidential nomination easily gave lip service to the idea of reparations and to support for H.R. 40. which promises to study reparations, Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders was initially skeptical.This panel aims to put reparations and socialism in a historical framework which clarifies current debate by exploring three discussion questions:
1) What do meaningful reparations to descendants of slavery look like?
2) How do can reparations be won and can they be achieved under capitalism?
3) Is there is socialist case for reparations for slavery?

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: 

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.