U.S. Politics

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Puerto Rico – The Sun Still Rises

This workshop is about hope – what the people of Puerto Rico, on the island and in the states, can do to raise themselves up. Hurricane Maria compounded the economic crisis on the island. Based on all environmental indicators and climate change, the next hurricane could be more powerful. In addition, the government is suffering from a severe debt crisis.

Blaming the US for their slow response is legit – maybe that is the role of the US as ‘colonizer’ – the question is what ‘colonized people’ should do to free themselves? Capitalism and colonialism have clearly failed as a development model for island. What alternatives are springing up on the island, and what have other countries done in similar situations? What can progressives in the US do to help the island?

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Perhaps the most long-standing and intractable crisis in the world, Israel/Palestine, has now reached beyond catastrophic proportions. The panel will focus on the various ways the issue affects and infects American politics. We will discuss the origins of the present situation and the influence of Washington lobbies, and offer ideas and strategies for ways toward a just solution.

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Dave and Dick have done nonviolent civil disobedience dozens of times over decades, and Julio is active in New York with the Poor Peoples Campaign and About Face Veterans, formerly IVAW. Julio will address the NV of MLK. Other topics include moral jujitsu, principled versus strategic nonviolent resistance, various degrees of diversity of tactics, and ploughshares actions. Dave will present an approach to climate change resistance that has been quite suppressed by national climate change leadership. Opponents of nonviolent resistance are also welcome to participate in our dialog.

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In 1979, the Iranian Revolution overturned a key pro-US power in the Middle East. Since then Washington has sought to overthrow the Iranian government, as it did before in 1953. The US has used crippling economic sanctions, internal subversion, and threats of war. Little known about the Islamic Republic of Iran are the progressive changes made in the country, such as programs to eliminate poverty, improving the rights of women. Dan Kovalik will discuss his new book now coming out on Iran. Sara Flounders will discuss the movement to stop a US war on Iran. Ben Norton will review the genocidal US-Saudi war on Yemen.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

The fight against racism is a class issue. Attacks on Black people, Latinos and people of color are attacks on the entire working class. Meanwhile, attacks on workers’ rights and conditions embolden racists and the right wing.

This year’s Teachers’ Spring showed the potential for a new wave of class struggle at the same time that Black youth are rising up against racism and police murders. The struggle against bigotry which has heightened during the Trump administration is interlinked with police murders and attacks on worker conditions. The panelists — three rank-and-file workers — will discuss their experiences in overcoming racial divisions imposed by the bosses and linking workplace struggles to the struggles against police brutality, deportations, and other forms of racial oppression. How can labor activists and oppressed peoples unite? What has been the role of the police in class society and how can workers organize to fight police terror? How can we build a workers’ movement that not only seeks to improve immediate conditions but also can make political gains and overcome the racial, gender and other divisions that capitalism has created?

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

In the decades long tradition of award-winning investigative journalism by writers for CovertAction Quarterly, this panel will address the secretive and nefarious activities of the U.S. government in their efforts to destabilize democratic processes, both past and present. It is now ever more critical to expose such ongoing efforts: efforts that further U.S. geopolitical regional and global control while creating favorable investment climates for U.S. multinational corporations. While their goals are invariably masked in the name of “democracy and freedom,” their efforts invariably strive to exploit cheap labor and natural resources. Topics will include: American exceptionalism, ending torture, closing Guantanamo, opposing the appointment of Haspel as CIA Director given her roles in black sites and her destruction of the CIA torture videotapes, ongoing scrutiny of the National Endowment for Democracy's (NED) programs globally, ...and much more.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Author Terry Tapp whose book A Serf's Journal documents his involvement in what had been the longest wildcat strike in US history, hosts a conversation with the teachers and activists who broke, and continue to break, his record.

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Since the outbreak of the global financial crisis, we have seen the rise of authoritarian regimes, of populist parties, of growing inequality… These trends diminish social cohesion and undermine democratic governance. Our future depends on how we will address the unprecedented number of political, social, and economic challenges. It is necessary to revitalize democratic governance and preserve civil rights and fundamental liberties. Arts, Culture, Humanism play a vital role in contemporary societies, and can contribute to achieving this goal. The current panel aspires to present some visions on creative democracy: in what ways the current wave of authoritarianism can be transformed through the Arts, Culture, Health Visions and Humanism. In particular, the speakers will examine how poets use language as a way to stabilize their sense of self, reclaim language and resist homogenized meaninglessness; how to narrate from a path of unity in diversity and embrace integration; some cultural perspectives from migrants in the US, and today´s initiatives on creative attempts to promote social change and civic engagement.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Late night comedians may try to laugh him off, but Trumpism has created a dangerous instability in our political system and across the international political order. So in terms of a "left" strategy, what is the "Trump phenomena"? Is it a "nouveau" assertion of "American Exceptionalism"; a rehash of "Manifest Destiny"; or part of the new wave of authoritarianism threatening the legitimacy of democratic rule across Europe, North Africa and Asia? And how should the left respond to a crisis of democratic legitimacy that is, in part, of its own making? By way of self criticism, how should the unexpected advent of Trumpism inform the strategy of the left both here in the United States and around the world? Join us for our wide ranging discussion of this perplexing topic.