U.S. Politics

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Our task today is not to imagine pies in the sky for a future that can always be postponed, but to think and act on what Andre Gorz called "concrete utopias". The possibilities for change are not in the distance; they are all around us and available. It’s a matter of breaking the spell of the crisis and seeing and seizing these useful, world-changing tools.

For a long time it seemed as though the future would always look like the present, and imagining utopia was largely a theoretical exercise. Over the past 10 years, since the "Great Recession" of 2008, this situation has been changing, as the neoliberal global order that sustained the idealization of liberal parliamentarianism as "the endpoint of mankind's ideological evolution" entered into a prolonged and profound crisis. Today, homeless populations are exploding in major US cities, wages remain flat or are falling, and yet CEO bonuses have rebounded to pre-crash levels. But there is no legitimacy for this growing inequality. No one believes that a rising tide lifts all boats and the faith in capitalist realism (TINA) is losing ground. Today, more and more people are recovering the ability – and realizing the urgency -- of imagining life differently.

How do we use this moment of the crisis of neoliberalism, only persisting now in a zombielike state, to repudiate the equation of markets with democracy? How do we shatter the fallacy of this central premise of neoliberalism to actualize resolutely concrete but radically utopian futures?

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

An offshoot of the original Socialist Party of Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas, SD USA has been revived by the Bernie Sanders phenomenon. It is determined to bring fresh insights about the original meaning of "Social Democracy" into its work in the 21st century.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

The 2016 rise of Donald Trump to the world’s highest political office has shocked many and represents a shift in American politics away from pluralism and respectability. Trump’s statements against women, minority groups, and his critics have fanned the flames of hatred and division. Nonetheless, a large percentage of voters (including 53 percent of white female voters) cast their ballots for Trump rather than for the better-qualified frontrunner Hillary Clinton, who would have been the first female President of the United States. This panel will feature the editors and contributors to the forthcoming anthology Trumpism: The Politics of Gender in a Post-Propitious America, which is a collection of diverse voices (scholars and activists) left out of the mainstream media surrounding the election. The panelists will analyze Trump's words, actions, and policies from a gendered lens and offer solutions to surviving Trumpism.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

The future of the left depends on the success of the mass resistance to the right/far right bloc of Trump and company. Defeating the Republicans and blue dogs in 2018 and 2020 will require building a conscious, coordinated national opposition, including reformers and liberals as well as radical activists. Panelists will offer ideas and experiences from the last year and a half of anti-Trump ferment and insurgency.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

In spite of the fact that Russia is a country of capitalism’s Jurassic Park and oligarchic capitalism, it has manifested itself as a geopolitical opposition to NATO, which raises a number of urgent and important questions and challenges to the Left: 1) NATO is world policeman. Will be Russia another world policeman? 2) New Cold War inevitable? 3) Do we need new world wide peace movement? Who can be main actors of this movement?

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Join us for a discussion of the interrelated roles plated by charity, so-called welfare, and incarceration in reproducing the lives of New York City's racialized working class. Presenters will focus on the histories of these institutions, the resistances they have inspired, and the horizon for class struggle in the present paradigm of neoliberal retrenchment.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Karl Marx described capitalism in distinctly monstrous term -- describing “dead labor” as “vampire-like,” for instance, and as living only “by sucking living labor.” Over a century and a half later, these metaphors still resonate, with a journalist from Rolling Stone in 2009 describing Goldman Sachs as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” The financialization that we’ve seen in the past three decades has crept into every aspect of social relations, with the search for market “solutions” to a wide range of issues from education to military intelligence to environmental stewardship. On an individual level, we are tracked with every swipe of a credit card, online transaction, and loan application. Did it have to come to this? What are the consequences? Is this trajectory reversible? In the decade since the 2008 financial crisis, we have not seen the banks and financial firms held accountable for their actions and financial profits have reached new heights. The challenges we face now are as great as any we have encountered in the neoliberal era. This panel brings together writers, scholars and activists to discuss the implications of these unnerving trends.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

In an age where information is both instantly accessible and easily manipulated, and the U.S. government’s war on whistleblowers and press freedoms continues in full swing, the need for hard-hitting, independent journalism that focuses on social justice and civil liberties is greater than ever.

It is up to those with the skills, platform and reach to ensure that the voices of the marginalized, and the issues that affect millions who live under a constant state of oppression and discrimination, cannot be squelched.

The News Beat podcast works all these angles. A short-form, educational podcast focusing specifically on social justice and civil liberty issues, News Beat’s seasoned journalists interview experts, thought leaders, academics and activists. Those interviews are woven over a bed of highly produced, hip-hop-styled music, while acclaimed independent rap artists craft original lyrics that are interspersed throughout each episode. The result: informative, entertaining and compelling mini audio documentaries -- with a splash of dope beats and rhymes.

Topics covered include the true origins of the racist, ineffective war on drugs, the injustices of the exoneration process for those who have been wrongfully convicted, the fight to close juvenile detention centers, the U.S. government’s war against journalism and press freedom, America’s illegal, perpetual war and more. Guests have included iconic voices such as Dr. Cornel West, Rosa Clemente, Barrett Brown and John Kiriakou.

Our workshop demonstrates the process of creating these groundbreaking, informative episodes -- ideation, interviews, scripting, audio production and lyric creation -- breaking down our unique marriage of traditional journalism, new media and focus on social justice with hip-hop music, culture and spirit.

We look forward to pulling back the curtain on this exciting new method of sharing vital knowledge through hip-hop.