Europe

Description/Abstract of your Event: 
Starting with the Greek Crisis and the Sovereign Debt Crisis in the European Union, to the BREXIT choice of the people in the UK, to the rising of global migration fluxes and the Closed Borders and Nationalist Politicians both in Europe, the Pacific and the US, the recent Trade Wars between the US and China and renegotiation of International Trade deals, the crisis in Venezuela, the Constitutional Revision and Land Reform in South Africa, there seems to be a growing struggle between Local Nation States versus globalized Elitist Institutions. What's the root causes of these problems that seem to destabilize the Post World War II global order? How can we bring the Global Society to even keel in a way that empowers democracy and economic justice and social progress?
Description/Abstract of your Event: 
With the end of the Trump regime in sight, it is time to bring ideas into the Democratic primary for a sharp left turn in US foreign policy. Under Trump, support has been extended to fascists, dictators and oppressors, and this obviously must end. While undermining human rights at home, China has been able to pose as friends of the environment despite building more and more coal-fired electric plants. The Belt and Road program has resulted in crushing debt burdens and eroding sovereignty for developing countries in South Asia and the Indian Ocean areas. The next US administration must therefore be pressed to adopt a policy of debt relief and debt moratorium for less wealthy countries -- a policy that will in effect be paid for by Wall Street, China, and other big money powers. Needy people cannot be free, so comprehensive economic development is necessary. Marshall Plans are part of the answer. The Belt and Road is all high-interest loans, but the original Marshall Plan was 85% grants and gifts, and only 15% loans. A good place to start is by implementing the $30 billion Marshall Plan for central America proposed by Mexican President Lopez Obrador. Zero percent financing for such Marshall Plans should come from a special Federal Reserve window, not from tax increases or new borrowing.
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In this session we will explore the rising movement to dismantle “Francafrique,” a particularly destructive form of neocolonialism that affects 14 countries in Africa, and influences many more. Propelled into popular awareness by French activist and economist François-Xavier Verschave in his 1999 bestseller La Françafrique: le plus long scandale de la République, the critique of Francafrique has been popularized within the French left through various efforts including La France Insoumise movement and Jean Luc Melenchon’s 2017 presidential campaign. With leading strategists and organizers from throughout some of the most misunderstood parts of the continent, the panel puts modern-day resistance and decolonization struggles into historic contexts which give hope for the future. With discussion of best-practice tactics, unity across borders, and collective visions of and end to all forms of colonialism — direct, economic, cultural, gendered, and otherwise - we will explore new ways forward for solidarity and Pan-Africanism. This panel will feature African diaspora activists from Benin, Cameroon, Gabon, DRC, Chad and Ambazonia who are working in close relationship with grassroots home-front movements against French neocolonialism. Questions we will seek to unpack include: What is happening on the ground in these countries? What is the historical context of these struggles? What is the role of Francafrique in the issues people are mobilizing around? What are the limits of the critique of Francafrique? How does the critique of Francafrique relate to critiques of other colonial and neocolonial influences, and other forms of oppression within the fabric of these societies? What coalitional work is going on to bring these voices together internationally? What forms of international solidarity are needed? We are honored to dedicate this panel to the late Bill Sutherland, unofficial ambassador between Kwame Nkrumah’s pan-African movement and the African American civil rights movement, in this the year of his centenary. The panel will feature Matt Meyer, co-author with Sutherland of Guns and Gandhi in Africa: Pan-African Insights on Nonviolence, Armed Struggle and Liberation, one of the few texts which has sounded the alarm about Francafrique to the English-speaking world.
Description/Abstract of your Event: 
The Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung New York Office welcomes Victor Grossman for a discussion of his new memoir A Socialist Defector: From Harvard to Karl-Marx-Allee. The circumstances that impelled Victor Grossman, a U.S. Army draftee stationed in Europe, to flee a military prison sentence were the icy pressures of the McCarthy Era. Grossman—a.k.a. Steve Wechsler, a committed leftist since his years at Harvard and, briefly, as a factory worker—left his barracks in Bavaria one August day in 1952, and, in a panic, swam across the Danube River from the Austrian U.S. Zone to the Soviet Zone. Fate—i.e., the Soviets—landed him in East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic. There he remained, observer and participant, husband and father, as he watched the rise and successes, the travails, and the eventual demise of the GDR socialist experiment. A Socialist Defector is the story, told in rare, personal detail, of an activist and writer who grew up in the U.S. free-market economy; spent thirty-eight years in the GDR’s nationally owned, centrally administered economy; and continues to survive, given whatever the market can bear in today’s united Germany. Having been a freelance journalist and traveling lecturer—and the only person in the world to hold diplomas from both Harvard and the Karl Marx University—Grossman is able to offer insightful, often ironic, reflections and reminiscences, comparing the good and bad sides of life in all three of the societies he has known. His account focuses especially on the socialism he saw and lived—the GDR’s goals and achievements, its repressive measures and stupidities—which, he argues, offers lessons now in our search for solutions to the grave problems facing our world. This is a fascinating and unique historical narrative; political analysis told with jokes, personal anecdotes, and without bombast.
Description/Abstract of your Event: 
When the yellow vests movement began in November 2018 following the Macron government’s decision to raise the tax on diesel, it was characterized by many, including those on the far left, as being a movement of the extreme right - anti-immigrant and anti-ecological. It was a movement that existed outside the major urban centers. It was also outside the unions and political parties that would usually be associated with any significant mobilization. But far from being a minority movement, it is made up of a significant portion of the French population: the poorer sections of the working class, retirees and women. The movement gained widespread support as it demonstrated on the exclusive Champs de Elysees in Paris and battled the police for the right to put forward its grievances. It was made up of hundreds of local “headquarters” with people meeting on the “roundabouts.” Recently General Assemblies, grouping members or representatives into broader regional bodies have been formed to discuss the direction of their movement. This panel will discuss the political developments within this movement and how the extreme left can engage this new movement that has the possibility to challenge the mechanisms of power.
Description/Abstract of your Event: 
The German revolution of 1918-19 attempted to overthrow capitalism and establish a Socialist Republic. Unlike the Russian revolution a year earlier the German uprising ended in defeat. Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, leading members of the young Communist Party of Germany, were murdered by reactionaries. What can we learn from this defeat in our struggle against capitalism? Come and discuss the way forward!
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In this presentation, we will explore the philosophical and political affinities between the composer Richard Wagner and the militant philosopher Mikhail Bakunin, beginning with their joint action on the barricades of revolutionary Dresden in 1849. We consider Wagner’s Ring cycle as depicting the Proudhonian idea of theft and the figures of Siegfried and Brünnhilde as Bakuninist-Feuerbachian heroes. By examining Wagner and Bakunin’s common anti-Semitism, feminism and anti-feminism, and revolutionism, we discuss how anarchism and anti-theism influenced the creation of The Ring as an epic opera that depicts the rise and fall of capitalism. Nevertheless, in light of the anti-Semitism that drives The Ring, we cannot overlook the undeniable Aryanist, national-anarchist, and proto-fascist aspects of Wagner’s approach, which represent disturbing lines that connect typically left-wing notions of anti-statist and anti-capitalist upheaval with ultranationalist myth. To delve into these matters, we will consider how the fascist creep applies to Wagner and Bakunin and compare the “dangerous minds” of Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger to those of the pair in question.
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LA
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Description/Abstract of your Event: 
Fighting continues in Ukraine with rebels in charge of the Eastern areas of the country and declaring their independence from Kiev. Struggle also continues in other parts of the country against the draft and the right-wing government. On May 2, we reached the 2 year anniversary of the fascist attack on demonstrator at the Odessa House of Trade Unions, where 46 people were killed. A leader of the progressive movement from Odessa will join this panel
Description/Abstract of your Event: 
This panel will have three or four speakers who are all involved in artistic creation, teaching, and political transformation through creative work. Each of the artists will briefly introduce their work, and talk about how it speaks about gender, race/ethnicity, and/or class dynamics. The artists will show excerpts of their works in order to open up discussion about the relationships between practice, theory and politically engaged art. The moderator will then introduce questions and problems for discussion. How do cultural background, gender and labor history inform artistic works? What are the benefits and potential problems of collaborative efforts? How can the art contribute to the political struggles and help communities face psychological trauma of oppressed groups? What is the relationship between embodied memory and artistic expression? How can complex history of arts and artistic representation help us unravel influence of consumerism and consumerist ideals on bodies and minds? The problematic of how spectatorship/witnessing relates to subject's coming to being and political awareness about the body, femininity, violence, and trauma, will be opened up in the context of education. Before sharing insights The participants will be invited to introduce themselves, talk about their political and individual histories and practices.