Hegemony How-To: Breaking Out of the Lefty Clubhouse to Contest for Popular Power

Host/Sponsor: 
Beyond the Choir, Democratic Socialists of America, Leftroots
Room: 
1.91
Timeslot: 
SATURDAY June 3rd Session 2: 12:00pm - 1:50pm
Abstract: 
What is the purpose of having a political Left? Marx suggested that "the point is to change the world." But too often leftist spaces and organizations become self-referential subcultural enclaves — little clubhouses with their own unique jargon, constantly signaling distinction from the larger society. In the new book Hegemony How-To, Jonathan Smucker discusses how this tendency toward insularity has worsened over the past four decades, following the contours of the dominant neoliberal culture. Smucker will discuss with Maria Poblet (Causa Justa and Leftroots) and Vicente Rubio (Podemos participant) the opportunities that today's crises offer us to break out of this holding pattern. From the movement of 'the 99%' to the massive resistance against the Trump Administration, we are starting to see a vibrant contest over popular cultural meanings. And from the Sanders campaign to Podemos in Spain, we are seeing impressive experiments in contesting state and institutional power. These developments present us with many questions about the roles and relationships between a "left pole," grassroots social movements, and political parties, factions, candidates, and officeholders; how do we utilize these different vehicles to navigate political terrain toward a liberatory horizon? We'll discuss all of this, and how Gramsci's conception of hegemony might help.
Reading List: 
Hegemony How-To: A Roadmap for Radicals (2017 AK Press)
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker First Name: 
Jonathan
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker Last Name: 
Smucker
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker Affiliation: 
Beyond the Choir (director); Lancaster Stands Up (leadership team); Hegemony How-To (author)
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker Biography: 
Jonathan Smucker is the co-founder and director of Beyond the Choir. He has worked for more than two decades in grassroots movements for social, economic and ecological justice, as a grassroots organizer, campaigner, and strategist. He has trained thousands of change agents in campaign strategy, framing and messaging, direct action, and organizing skills. He also researches collective action, identity, and politicization processes as the focus of his doctoral work in the sociology department at UC Berkeley. He is author of the new book Hegemony How-To: A Roadmap for Radicals, and his writing has appeared in The Nation, The Guardian, New Internationalist, The Huffington Post, Alternet, Yes Magazine, The Sociological Quarterly, Berkeley Journal of Sociology, and elsewhere.
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator First Name: 
Maria
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator Last Name: 
Poblet
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator Affiliation: 
Leftroots; Causa Justa (former Excecutive Director)
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator Biography: 
Maria Poblet has spent eighteen years organizing in the Bay Area with community group Causa Justa Just Cause. She is a member of Leftroots.
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator First Name: 
Vicente
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator Last Name: 
Rubio-Pueyo
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator Affiliation: 
Fordham University, Podemos participant
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator Biography: 
PhD in Spanish Cultural Studies by Stony Brook University. Teaches at Fordham University. Currently working on a book on political cultures, State and movements in Contemporary Spain, from the 70's Transition to the present. He has written extensively, both in academic contexts and in press, on the current social and political conjuncture opened in Spain since the beginning of the crisis and the emergence of the Indignados movement, and political forces like Podemos and the "municipal confluences". A Spaniard living in the US for more than 10 years now, Vicente has been active in building connections and mutual understanding between these movements and forces and their US counterparts. He is a participant in Podemos. He has been a collaborator with Left Forum and the Global Platform on Participation and Protest, among other academic and political programs and organizations. He has published articles on Spanish and US social and political news in InTheseTimes (US), Diagonal (Spain), and Lobo Suelto! (Argentina) among others.
Panel/Workshop Organizer First Name: 
Jonathan
Panel/Workshop Organizer Last Name: 
Smucker
Panel/Workshop Organizer Affiliation: 
Beyond the Choir (director); Lancaster Stands Up (leadership team); Hegemony How-To

Left Forum and LA Progressive
present: