Political and Social Movements

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.

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Book launch: Presentation followed by discussion. The book being presented is Occult Features of Anarchism - With Attention to the Conspiracy of Kings and the Conspiracy of the Peoples: In the nineteenth century anarchists were accused of conspiracy by governments afraid of revolution, but in the current century various “conspiracy theories” suggest that anarchists are controlled by government itself. The Illuminati were a network of intellectuals who argued for self-government and against private property, yet the public is now often told that they were (and are) the very group that controls governments and defends private property around the world. Intervening in such misinformation, Lagalisse works with primary and secondary sources in multiple languages to set straight the history of the Left and illustrate the actual relationship between revolutionism, pantheistic occult philosophy, and the clandestine fraternity. Exploring hidden correspondences between anarchism, Renaissance magic, and New Age movements, Lagalisse also advances critical scholarship regarding leftist attachments to secular politics. Inspired by anthropological fieldwork within today’s anarchist movements, her essay challenges anarchist atheism insofar as it poses practical challenges for coalition politics in today’s world. Studying anarchism as a historical object, Occult Features of Anarchism also shows how the development of leftist theory and practice within clandestine masculine public spheres continues to inform contemporary anarchist understandings of the “political,” in which men’s oppression by the state becomes the prototype for power in general. Readers behold how gender and religion become privatized in radical counterculture, a historical process intimately linked to the privatization of gender and religion by the modern nation-state.

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Montreal, the second largest city in Canada, has a robust history of left-wing organizing and mobilization at the municipal level, both through electoral and non-electoral means. This panel seeks to examine the successful practices and the strategic shortcomings of the municipalist Left in Montreal, by focusing on two main dimensions. We would first pay attention to left-wing municipal parties (the Front d’Action Politique from 1969 to 1973, the Rassemblement des Citoyens de Montréal from 1974 to 2001 and Projet Montréal from 2004 to today) and the numerous drawbacks and tensions that they faced in the last five decades, both regarding internal democracy and their links to extra-parliamentary left-wing organizations. We would then take a look at an ongoing mobilization campaign against the gentrification of Park Extension, a low-income neighborhood in the North West of Montreal, and the ways in which this campaign has integrated community-campus collaboration as a strategy for popular empowerment and social change. Our broader aim is to identify a set of practical insights that can contribute to mobilizing efforts in other cities, while helping the Left to face the turbulent times ahead of us.

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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.

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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: 

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. And it was 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.

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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!

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Information technology, the most powerful communications and data system in human history, not only plays a central role in revolutionary work, it's our main tool for building the society we want to see. For three years, left-wing activists from all over the United States have met in 27 regional convergences to forge a unified program of action around technology -- the Points of Unity Around Technology. That program is now being presented to our movements for full discussion and, hopefully, endorsement. In this encounter, we will present the program (in a five minute video), hear the reactions of a panel of leading activists and then open the conversation up to you. This is your opportunity to join in a conversation that could prove central to the revolution we all want and the survival of the human race depends on.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

How has President Trump been so successful for so long at maintaining extensive ultraright grassroots support? Speakers will examine the recently deceased neo-Nazi figure Lyndon LaRouche and how his legacy was adopted by the Trump movement, the ways in which a Red-Brown convergence strengthens Trump and how Polish nationalist anti-Semites have been challenged on the streets of New York City.

Location: 
LA
Description/Abstract of your Event: 

The win of SYRIZA in the Greek elections is in the centre of interest of social movements, trade unions and progressive political forces in Europe. SYRIZA has announced to cancel the Memorandum and replace it through a program for a Productive Reconstruction as early as it will be in power. The vicory of SYRIZA has inspired similar movements in other European countries. In Spain a new political formation emerged from the social movements. Together with the "Left Unity" the traditional party of the radical Left has attained more than 20 percent of the votes at the European elections. It took many of its inspirations from SYRIZA. This opens not only for Greece and Spain, but for the whole of Europe a new perspective. What conclusions do different social and political actors draw? What new possiblities for achange in Europe does this offer? These are two the main research questions of the network transform! europe which is the political foundation of the Party of the European Left.