U.S. Politics

Description: 
The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) Legal Observer program was established 50 years ago in response to anti-war protests during the Vietnam era in defense of people swept up in mass arrests. The program is designed to enable people to express their political views as fully as possible without unconstitutional disruption or interference by the police and with the fewest possible consequences from the criminal justice system. In this training you’ll be guided through the Legal Observer Manual by an experienced Legal Observer instructor and Guild member. Please note: reading the manual alone does not constitute an official training. You will also learn how to become an official NLG Legal Observer.
Location: 
LA
Description: 
First Daughter and the Black Snake” follows the efforts by Winona LaDuke, famed Native American environmentalist and executive director of Honor the Earth, in her battle—successful to this point—to stop development of several pipelines that would cut across Indian reservations in northern Minnesota, jeopardizing food and water sources for the Ojibwe tribes, while trampling treaties now a century and a half old. “First Daughter” was produced by award-winning photographer and filmmaker Keri Pickett, an award-winning American photographer, author and filmmaker whose work explores love, family and community. Keri will discuss the film after the showing.
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2018 is the 50th Anniversary of 1968–the most decisive revolutionary year in during the Great Revolution of the Two Decades of the Sixties—1955-1975. In that year the Vietnamese National Liberation Front carried out a decisive political victory in its war against the U.S., Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated, urban rebellions rocked the U.S., president Lyndon Johnson refused to run for re-election under great national protests, students at Columbia University and the Paris student/worker rebellions shaped history. The Movement agreed the problem was “The System”, the Answer was “The Revolution” and the vehicle was “The Movement.” Today, U.S. society is disintegrating morally, economically, politically, ecologically, and spiritually. Black Lives Matter, The Dreamers, the Bernie/Warren Democrats, the Labor/Community Strategy Center and many other organizations are doing important work to fight the system but there is a need for more discussion about what is our strategy. Eric Mann will discuss “A Black/Latino/Third World United Front against the U.S. Imperialist White Settler State” as the strategy the Strategy Center is trying to carry out in its work in South L.A., Los Angeles, and the U.S. to shape grassroots organizing and movement building.
Description: 
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: 
The movement for true election integrity continues. This panel will discuss the efficacy of paper ballots and electronic voting machines, as well as voter registration problems and what can be done to protect our elections and end voter suppression. There will also be discussion related to the more than 100,000 voters removed from voter registration rolls in the primary election and what can be done to improve our elections. Additionally, panel members will discuss their respective campaigns and/or activism efforts to improve our Democracy as well as the importance of insuring true election integrity in order for the Progressive movement to succeed.
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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 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.
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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
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Description: 
Can a number of socialist and left organizations join together and achieve a critical mass in common projects during the complex battles throughout 2012? Representatives of several organizations--CCDS, CPUSA, DSA, Freedom Road and others--will discuss and debate matters arising from the OWS insurgency, the working class fightback and the 2012 elections.
Location: 
LA
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Description: 
Groups across the spectrum have recognized that campaign finance reform is a critical component to restoring our democracy. And yet campaign finance laws are written by those who have directly benefited from them, and organized in a way to keep money flowing and influence peddled. How do we get politicians to legislate against their self-interest? Should we increase our influence with the politicians we have, replace them with the politicians we want, or is there a way to operate completely outside the system? What will it take? The panelists represent organizations with different approaches in working to reduce the influence of money on our elections. How do these approaches support or conflict with each other? Is one more effective in terms of increasing public engagement? Framing? Can a unified strategy come out of these different approaches?