Political and Social Movements

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

It has recently been observed that by 2040, 70 percent of Americans will live in 15 states and thus 30 percent of Americans will choose 70 senators. That 30 percent will be older, whiter, more male and more rural. We currently live in a situation where in recent US Senate elections, 15 million more voters cast ballots for Democrats, and yet the Republicans control the Senate, White House, and the power to place justices on the Supreme Court and fill the federal courts.

The panel will discuss the ways in which the conservatives have maintained power despite their minority status. We will discuss how voting power is apportioned in the Senate, and how the right has been able to better maintain message discipline and focus on a few key issues to keep their base active and engaged, and whether there is any lessons progressives can learn from them.

Reviewing the immigration policies also lays bare the fact that since it is a function of the executive branch, there has been little difference in many of the deportation policies of Obama and Trump. However, the latest moves by the Trump administration have the most impact in California, which has the highest number of undocumented residents, including dreamers. A review of immigration laws demonstrates that laws passed in the Clinton administration expanded the policies for deportation, including the purported crimes for which legal immigrants could be deported. The current group of Democrats in Washington show little desire to engage in political action with respect to immigration which is regarded of little value to the large swath of independent voters whose support Democrats need to increase their representation in Congress. As a result, the Democrats become complicit in minority rule policies.

Thus the question arises as to how Californians, or other states, can assert their majority political rule in light of a dysfunctional federal electoral system. The federal system seems doomed to fail as the minority rule increases its grip over the majority, and one of the solutions may be for the citizens of California to reject the politics of both parties, and seek a way forward in ways that will seek to embrace and represent all of its residents, citizen and noncitizen alike, by refusing to accept minority rule and beginning to forge a path forward to its own independence.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

What is the relationship between spirituality and activism? What is the role of faith in politics? From abolition and the civil rights movement to anti-war activism and the Poor People’s Campaign, people of faith and their institutions have been at the forefront of social change. Concern for the earth and the welfare of humanity is at the heart of an aware and mature spirituality. Even Christians are discovering God’s cry for justice in the Bible. This panel will discuss the legal, ideological, ethical, and practical implications of spiritual and religious activism.

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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.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

In Los Angeles today, transit and climate racism demand racial and environmental justice. The Labor/Community Strategy Center is carrying out a Free Public Transportation/Stop MTA Attacks on Black Passengers Campaign but there is virtually no white or progressive support as the racial (racist) divide In Los Angeles continues as Black and Latino communities struggle alone while most white people talk about Trump, Bernie, Wall Street, but do not challenge their own or societal racism. This is a chance to change those dynamics. We are demanding Free Public Transportation/No Cars in L.A., No Police on MTA Buses and Trains, No Police in L.A. Schools, Stop MTA Attacks on Black Passengers/Stop U.S.

Genocide Against Black people. This panel will feature lead organizers Channing Martinez, Barbara Lott-Holland, India Tate, and Elmo Gomez in conversation with Strategy Director Eric Mann and the audience about how we can work together to actually win those demands over the next 2, 5, and 10 years—starting now. The discussion will focus on how all of us can get involved, through pressure on MTA board members Mayor Garcetti, Supervisors Mark Ridley Thomas, Sheila Kuehl, Janice Hahn, and Hilda Solis. Raise funds, hold house parties, go door to door, do social media, show up at MTA board meetings, really get involved in this historic movement and historic struggle.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

This panel will outline concrete steps to strengthen cohesion on the left. The presentation is based on a survey that gathered the ideas of experienced activists and organizational leaders about how progressives in Los Angeles could work together more effectively—toward social justice goals Activists and leaders in 43 wide-ranging progressive organizations voiced their views. The research indicated a critical need for a stronger ties to increase coalescence and success. Survey participants proposed a set of concrete programs to accomplish these aims: a newsletter for inter-organizational communication; more training opportunities for grassroots groups; a rapid response system for mobilizing for demonstrations and fast breaking events; a directory of progressive organizations; a common facility for meetings, events, and planning; and a mutual aid help line. These programs together would create a new infrastructure for a resilient left. Respondents felt that this initiative should not distract them from their current projects. They also thought that these programs should operate in a supportive rather than a directing way. The programs should enable participating organizations by boosting their capacity to carry out social action.

Location: 
LA
Description/Abstract of your Event: 

The concept of ѓ??communityѓ?ќ has played an important role in shaping contemporary radical strugglesѓ??and with good reason. In a context defined by alienating capitalist social relations, the affective and strategic bonds of community have often been seen as an important source of counter-power. Nevertheless, ѓ??communityѓ?ќ has also been marshaled by constituted power itself as a category and strategy of ruling. How, then, should those committed to radical social change relate to the category? In order to help break with accounts that present ѓ??communityѓ?ќ as a self-evident good, presenters will investigate case studies in which activist recourse to the concept has produced ambivalent results.

Location: 
LA
Description/Abstract of your Event: 

The last decade has been one of increasing conflicts across south Asia. While the incursions of global capital have resulted in increasing pressures on land, forests etc, leading to conflict between the state and dispossessed peoples, it has also enabled new spaces for political assertion and the formation of political solidarities outside older binaries of class. This panel casts a critical and reflective eye on developments across the south Asian subcontinent with a view to both taking stock and proposing possible future directions for a radical politics.

Location: 
LA
Description/Abstract of your Event: 

What lessons, positive and negative, can the Occupy Movements draw from past anti-slavery, labor, unemployed, anarchist, socialist, and other movements?

Location: 
LA
Description/Abstract of your Event: 

A strong progressive movement needs to incorporate a political and spiritual perspective that has often been lacking in leftist politics. This panel will attempt to explore these visions, how to unite them and develop strategies to politically, economically and spiritually transform the world.

Location: 
LA
Description/Abstract of your Event: 

OWS has generated discussion and debate among activists and urban specialists about the political significance of urban public spaces, whether privately or publicly owned and operated. Liberty Plaza in Manhattan is a "privately owned public space" that was chosen as the site of OWS's first occupation, not the many publicly owned parks. What lies behind this apparent paradox? How does this relate to the long history of struggles to reclaim public space, including streets and sidewalks, and stop the displacement of people and neighborhoods by real estate and finance capital?
OWS activists Cindy Gorn, Manissa Maharawal and Samuel Stein join urban specialists Tom Angotti and Peter Marcuse for an open discussion about the theory and practice of occupying public spaces.