Labor

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).

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Escalating fascist and racist violence grows out of the bipartisan capitalist offensive against immigrants: not only Trump’s border wall with Mexico and anti-Muslim ban, but Obama’s record deportations and Democrats’ policy of border militarization. Key to fighting anti-immigrant hysteria is mobilizing the power of the multiethnic working class. The Internationalist Group calls for workers action to stop deportations and crush the fascists. In the Pacific Northwest, Class Struggle Workers – Portland sparked union motions to mobilize against racist/fascist provocations, and initiated Portland Labor Against the Fascists that brought out some 300 unionists and supporters in 2017. It calls to form workers defense guards to defeat the fascist threat. In the 2016 elections Painters Local 10 called to break with all bosses’ parties, and for a class-struggle workers party. In Los Angeles, transit workers have marched with Teamsters defending Salvadoran immigrants. In New York, Trabajadores Internacionales Clasistas has joined in unionizing immigrant workers, demanding full citizenship rights for all immigrants.

Location: 
NYC
Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Kim Moody's Rank-and-File Strategy (RFS) has received new attention in the pages of Jacobin in the last year, which reprinted both his original piece and his 2014 reassessment. This was followed by articles from Barry Eidlin and Max Elbaum, while the RFS is also being discussed within the DSA. Here, the three panelists will examine what is missing from Moody's bottom-up organizing model, those of his Jacobin respondents, and the DSA debate. Marc Kagan will speak on the importance of fighting for workplace control, a crucial feature of previous rounds of working class unrest, which has largely disappeared from discussions about mobilizing workers. After this deeper dive onto the shop floor, the next two speakers argue for a more expansive strategy. Lynne Turner will consider how to conjoin RFS with the "bargaining for the common good" approach utilized in recent teacher strikes, to build more power and encourage workers to think beyond the workplace and toward social transformation. Luke Elliott-Negri will argue that the rank and file approach to union politics is much more a tactic of socialist strategy than it is socialist strategy itself, and needs to be combined with electoral work.

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.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

The New Deal is widely associated with socialism. This association holds true not only within the popular imagination shared across many sections of American society, but also within the historical imagination of the contemporary Left. This panel will consider the New Deal as it appeared to organized political tendencies that struggled for socialism during and after the 1930s. It will ask whether and how the New Deal -- its life, its legacy, its crisis, its memory, and its potential revival -- has advanced the struggle for socialism in America and beyond.

We ask the panelists to consider the following questions:

How did socialists of various tendencies-- the Communist Party USA, the Socialist Party of America, Trotskyists, and anarchists-- relate to the New Deal during the 1930s? How, in their respective views, did the New Deal (considered both as policy and as politics) present obstacles to and/or opportunities for advancing the struggle for socialism?

The liberal political coalition forged in part through New Deal policies subsequently prosecuted first the anti-fascist Second World War and then the anti-Communist Cold War; it also administered the American-led reconstitution of global capitalism beginning in 1945 that oversaw the creation of the European welfare state. Considering how the New Deal helped usher in a new era of global capitalism: What is the New Deal's relationship to socialism? What is its relationship to capitalism?

Location: 
NYC
Description/Abstract of your Event: 

In recent years, states and cities across the U.S. have pursued a range of creative -- and increasingly assertive -- efforts to strengthen workers' rights. New standards-setting legislation has been enacted that establishes sharply higher minimum wages, guarantees various forms of paid leave, prohibits abusive scheduling practices, and provides access to public retirement savings programs, among other measures. However, legislation that would directly strengthen worker organizing has been pursued more tentatively and with less success. Notable initiatives in this vein include legislation to allow app-based drivers to unionize in Seattle and a law in New York City that would allow fast food workers to form a novel form of organization and fund it through payroll deductions.

In this panel, a diverse set of speakers will take stock of the new wave of policies concerning workers’ rights, assess strengths and limitations, and discuss strategies for furthering a pro-worker agenda at the state and city level.

Janice Fine, Professor of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers University, will provide an overview and analysis of the recent wave of state and local activity on workers’ rights.

Mansoor Khan, Organizing Coordinator at SEIU, will discuss the history of unionization among publicly-financed home care and child care providers. Driven by state and local policy innovations, home care and child care workers’ successes over the past two decades, followed by recent setbacks, hold important lessons for current strategy.

Sam Krinsky, Research Director at the New York City Office of Labor Policy and Standards, will review recent proposals for using wage boards and benefit programs to strengthen worker organizing and discuss how these can be implemented by states and cities despite constraints posed by federal law.

Panel Image: 
Location: 
NYC
Description/Abstract of your Event: 

A spectre is haunting the USA: the first strike wave in over four neoliberal decades. West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, Los Angeles, and Oakland teachers have walked off their jobs and shut down schools to demand better pay, more funding for students, a reversal of privatization, and an end to years of austerity. More recently, slowdowns and a threatened strike by flight attendants and airport screeners ended the government shutdown. Join us for a conversation about the lessons and prospects of this historic upsurge for educators, unionists, and radicals.

Location: 
NYC
Description/Abstract of your Event: 

The Green New Deal should be the most important agenda for expanding the power of the working class since the original New Deal. However, up to now the response from labor has been skeptical or even dismissive. We will discuss how to formulate a Green New Deal plan that will appeal to the labor movement, by explaining how a broad-based Federal program of building new national and local green infrastructure systems will benefit the working and middle classes as a whole, and the labor movement in particular. Because of the millions of jobs, up to at least 20 million, that this program can generate, manufacturing can be revived, and along with millions of other jobs, a de facto job guarantee would mean that the working class would gain unprecedented power in the economy.

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What does the labor movement look like in Africa today? What are the dynamics and theories of revolutionary socialism on the Continent? We explore these questions with the chairman of the African Socialist Movement, a Pan-Africanist and revolutionary socialist movement based in Freetown, Sierra Leone.