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S14Schedule

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Socialism 2014 is pleased to host sessions on a wide range of topics, designed to offer both ideas about strategies in our movements as well as theory to guide the fight for a better future.

 

ART AND CULTURE 

Art and class

Sarah Jaffe and Ben Davis

There is an array of debates in the contemporary art scene: How does creative labor fit into the economy? Is art merging with fashion and entertainment? What can we expect from political art? Art critic Ben Davis and journalist Sarah Jaffe, who writes on labor and social movements, argue that returning class to the center of discussion can play a vital role in tackling the challenges that visual art faces today, including the biggest challenge of all—how to maintain faith in art itself in a dysfunctional world. (Friday, 9:30 am, Love B)

 

Brazil’s dance with the devil: The World Cup, the Olympics, and the fight for democracy

Dave Zirin

Brazil is experiencing its largest protests in decades. These protests are strongly interwoven with anger toward the 2014 The World Cup and 2016 Rio Olympics. Hear acclaimed sports writer Dave Zirin at the Chicago book launch of his new book Brazil’s Dance with the Devil explain why you have to know Brazil’s past to understand its present. (Friday 11:30 am, O’Hare IV)

 

People’s art and political struggles

Alexander Billet and Remy Kanazi

This talk will examine the social function in art historically, and why it has been and is a site for radical struggle both as a product of, and as a component of, struggle. From there it will look at times that art has successfully been integrated into such struggles, from the Arab Spring to Occupy.  (Friday, 2 pm, Ideation)

 

Which way barbarism? Young adult dysto­pian fiction

Dana Blanchard and Elizabeth Terzakis

In the words of Keith M. Booker, dystopian literature is used to “provide fresh perspectives on problematic social and political practices that might otherwise be taken for granted or considered natural and inevitable.” What does the rise in popularity of dystopian young adult literature say about the political and social problems facing youth today and their vision of the future? From Hunger Games to the Uglies, this session will examine the role that dystopian fiction plays in highlighting the barbarism in our society, commenting on its inevitability, and suggesting what might be done to resist it. (Friday, 2 pm, Heathrow)

 

The monsters under the bed: Capitalism and horror

Nicole Colson

John Carpenter, the director of the classic horror film The Thing, once said, “Monsters in movies are us, always us, one way or the other. They’re us with hats on.” Taking that as a starting point, this talk will look at the horror genre—frequently scorned as inherently “unserious,” sexist or reactionary—and how it relates to some of capitalism’s defining features, including work, gender and the nuclear family. (Friday, 4 pm, Haneda A&B)

 

Photography and Marxism

Grant Mandarino

Photography and Marxism will provide an introductory overview of critical approaches to the subject of photography over the course of the 20th century, with particular attention paid to the question: How do photographs shape our experience of the world? The presentation will focus on how Marxists have dealt with this medium and its ability to harness or subvert ideological positions both in practice and theory. (Saturday, 2 pm, Midway)

 

ECOLOGY AND SOCIALISM

 Marxism and ecosocialism

Hadas Thier

The capitalist system is experiencing a dual, interrelated crisis: a crisis of overproduction and a crisis of ecological destruction. Both of them are a result of capitalism’s rampant drive to accumulate. Its relentless drive for growth and profit lies behind everything from mountain top removal to global warming. Workers, people of color, and indigenous populations bear the principal burden of these disasters, but also have the capacity to envision, struggle for, and create a new society that is socially just and ecologically sane—one that redirects our productive processes toward environmentally sustainable ways to provide a fulfilling life for all. (Friday, 9:30 am, Balmoral)

 

Fighting the Keystone pipeline

Suzanne Weiss and Brian Ward

The Keystone XL—a 2000-mile stretch of pipeline that will carry oil from the tar sands of Alberta Canada through various parts of the US—will daily carry almost a million gallons of one of the world’s dirtiest fuels: tar sands oil. Tar sands extraction pollutes waterways, destroys forests, and threatens the health of the Native peoples from whose land the oil is extracted. The pipeline’s operation will also threaten public health, water systems, and, by drastically increasing climate-damaging emissions, our entire ecosystem. When it comes to reducing the greenhouse gasses that threaten to overwhelm our planet, corporations and the politicians in their pockets seem ready to override commonsense in favor of the short-term profit fix. That’s why it will take struggle to stop Keystone. Find out more about those struggles in the US and Canada, and what more will be needed to prevent Obama from going ahead with the pipeline. (Friday, 4 pm, O’Hare IV)

 

Building a movement for social and ecolog­ical justice

Jill Stein, Sean Sweeney, Erica Violet Lee, Olga Bautista

We live in a system where ecological devastation intersects with economic and social injustice. The system whose relentless drive for profits run roughshod over our ecosystem is the same system that depends upon the exploitation of the many by the few, and on various forms of oppression for its survival. Struggles for social justice can, and often are, closely linked to environmental struggles, and vice-versa. How can these links be strengthened, both within countries and across borders? (Friday,7:30 pm, O’Hare IV)

 

Fixing the ecological crisis: Why market solutions fail

Fred Magdoff

There are many different explanations for the environmental crises facing the world and its inhabitants. One prominent explanation maintains that the problems are a result of the “externalities” of the economic system and that the way to deal with them is to use market-based approaches, from buying green products to carbon offsets and cap and trade schemes. However, the root cause of the current wave of environmental destruction is the very way that capitalism functions. (Saturday, 11:30 am, Balmoral)

 

The political economy of energy

Chris Williams

“Money makes the world go round,” it is said. But in the history of capitalism a case could be made that energy, such as coal, oil, and nuclear, is at least as important. This historical analysis, from colonial times to the world of today, will trace the changing power relations and global importance of energy: its changing form, accessibility, and control. (Saturday, 2 pm, Love A)

 

EDUCATION, TEACHERS, AND STUDENTS

Teacher struggles in the age of austerity

Adam Sanchez, Peter Lamphere, Becca Bor

All across the country, teachers have responded to the attacks on public education by organizing and fighting back. There are innovative organizing against the devastating effects of high stakes testing, creative tactics in contract struggles that involve communities and students, and grassroots efforts to take back their unions. Hear from three activists from very different struggles in Portland, Chicago and New York City about what the fight for educational justice looks like in localities. (Friday, 2 pm, Balmoral)

 

More than a score: Stopping the testing obsession

Jesse Hagopian, Dao Tran, Jia Lee

Education policy in the United States is being dictated by a “Testocracy” that is attempting to reduce the intellectual process of teaching and learning to a single score that they can then use to close schools, fire teachers, deny students graduation, and bust teachers’ unions. However, a new movement has emerged, known as the “Education Spring,” and thousands of parents, students, teachers, and administrators around the country are opting out, walking out, and boycotting high-stakes testing. This session features teacher/parent leaders of testing boycotts to help us better understand the role of testing in maintaining inequality, but also give insights into how to burst the bubble test. (Saturday, 9:30 am, O’Hare IV)

 

The fall of the faculty: Neoliberalism and the future of higher education

Nancy Welch

This talk review the devastating effects of neoliberal privatization and corporatization on public higher education in particular and then turn to consider what socialist feminist social reproduction theory in particular can contribute to our understanding of, and fight against, “Austerity U.” (Saturday, 2 pm, Sydney)

 

Special education and disability rights

Bridget Broderick and Stephanie Schwartz

More than 8 percent of students in US schools receive special education services. While special education is an educational right that parents and disability activists have fought to instate and preserve, the problems of racism and language chauvinism continue to plague its implementation in over-referrals and segregation. Stephanie Schwartz and Bridget Broderick discuss how disability intersects with race, class and gender in the educational system, and how socialists can understand what is at stake for special and general education rights today. (Saturday, 4 pm, Ideation)

 

GENDER AND SEXUALITY

 Marxism and indigenous feminism

Abbie Bakan

Indigenous feminism is a significant current of anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist politics, one from which Marxists have much to learn. In fact, indigenous women have inspired Marxist ideas about women’s liberation for decades, but we often fail to recognize the contribution. Historically, these women and their families were the objects of study of Lewis Henry Morgan, the American colonialist who provoked Marx’s commentary, and who would in turn serve as the experiential basis for Frederick Engels’ Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State. Challenging extreme racism, sexism and violence, indigenous women of North America continue to lead movements from Idle No More to the justice for the Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women in Canada. (Thursday, 3 pm, Love B)

 

Women, race, and class: A history of Black feminism

Nikeeta Slade and Akunna Eneh

The widely accepted narrative of the modern feminist movement is that it initially involved white women beginning in the late 1960s and early 1970s, who were later joined by women of color following in their footsteps. But decades before the rise of the modern women’s liberation movement, Black women were organizing against their systematic rape at the hands of white racist men. And in the 1960s, Black women and other women of color began organizing against their oppression as early as white women, forming a multitude of organizations. This session will review the history and politics of Black Feminism in the United States. (Friday, 9:30 am, O’Hare IV)

 

Capitalism and the making of gay identity

Anne Coleman

Contemporary LGBT and queer identities are relatively new human phenomena shaped particularly by the development and expansion of capitalism—on the one hand creating the conditions for identities and communities based on individual desire, and on the other creating new forms of repression and restrictions upon society as a whole through the discrimination of LGBTQ people. By exploring how capitalism created and shaped gay identity, this discussion aims to take on such question as: What effect has gay identity had on our organizing efforts against exploitation and oppression? What openings exist today to lay the basis for sexual and gender liberation for all? (Friday 11:30 am, Ideation)

 

Who needs gender? A Marxist analysis

Sherry Wolf

What is the difference between biological sex (male, female, intersex), and gender— the range of physical, biological, mental and behavioral characteristics alleged to pertain to, and differentiate between, masculine and feminine? If gender is a social construction, that is to say, something constituted by a social world we do not choose, then is gender necessary? How and why does gender form and change in different societies, and what are the implications for those who are transgender and everyone else? We’ll explore the persistence of gender and its complex relation to our bodies to advance a Marxist understanding of human liberation. (Friday, 7:30 pm, Midway)

 

Capital’s missing book: Social reproduction theory and the global working class today

Tithi Bhattacharya

Marx criticized bourgeois economics for not considering the worker as a “human being” but only as a “factor of production.” He showed how Neoclassical economics systematically ruled out social relations that constitute and produce the working class: such as race, gender, sexuality, historical culture, etc. Marx’s own work, Capital, however, can be said to fall short of Marx’s own guidelines. This talk is about how Social Reproduction Theory can enrich Marx’s own understanding of capitalism and thus help restore to our theory the historical potential of the global working class. (Saturday, 9:30 am, Love B)

 

Who cares: Work, gender, and the repro­duction of labor power

Jesse Muldoon

Caring labor is performed disproportionally by women, and is often low paid and undervalued. To what extent is caring labor shaped by the idea that it is an extension of the domestic labor performed, usually for free, and in the home, by families? What role does caring labor, both paid and unpaid, have in what Marx calls the reproduction of labor power, and the economy as a whole? (Saturday, 11:30 am, Kennedy)

 

From criminalization to “rape culture”: Re­thinking the politics of sexual violence

Jennifer Roesch

More than 40 years ago, the women’s liberation movement changed the way US society talked about sexual violence—challenging the idea that rape was something perpetrated by strangers in dark alleys and revealing the extent of violence against women. But today, many of the old rape myths have been recycled and sexual assault survivors are routinely victim-blamed. This talk will critically examine the process by which this backlash unfolded. It will also argue the need for a political framework beyond those currently on offer for understanding sexual violence and how to fight it. (Saturday, 2 pm, O’Hare IV)

 

From restrictions to criminalization: The fight for reproductive rights today

Michelle Farber, Mattie Williams, Dina Ortiz

Abortion and other reproductive rights have been under systematic attack for some time now in the United States. This panel discussion will detail the current state of reproductive rights, the movement for reproductive justice, where we are, and what kind of fighting movement is needed to ensure equal access to abortion, contraception, reproductive health care, and autonomy in labor and birth. (Saturday, 4 pm, LaGuardia)

 

The struggle for trans liberation: A conver­sation with CeCe McDonald

Chaired by Keegan O’Brien

While we’ve witnessed tremendous gains for gay, lesbian, and bisexual rights in recent years, transgender people continue to suffer the highest rates of poverty, unemployment, incarceration, and hate motivated violence in the LGBTQ community. But thanks to grassroots activism, trans issues are finally beginning to make their way from the margins into the center of the political arena. Come participate in a conversation with former political prisoner and activist CeCe McDonald about the struggle for trans liberation, the movement’s connection to racial and economic justice, and why mass incarceration and the prison industrial complex are LGBTQ issues. (Sunday, 11:30 am, O’Hare II)

 

Women’s liberation and the socialist movement

Sharon Smith

The classical Marxists of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries developed a theoretical framework tying the fight for women’s liberation to the struggle for socialism—yet their enormous contributions are too often dismissed or ignored. Likewise, the history of U.S. socialists who further developed a theory and practice for women’s liberation—integrating an analysis of gender, race and class—during the mid-twentieth century has frequently been rendered invisible. This talk will uncover this history and show how women of the so-called “old left” contributed to the rise of the women’s liberation movement before it emerged in the 1960s. (Friday 11:30 am, O’Hare II)

 

BLACK HISTORY AND POLITICS

 

The changing political economy of South­ern racism

Jack Bloom

Why were African Americans were able to change the country for themselves and for all of us in the mid-twentieth century?  What had changed to make that possible involved a new class structure of the South.  The Civil War, by ending slavery, not only disrupted the racial system of the South, but the class system as well.  Out of a long struggle, a new class structure was created, based on white supremacy.  That class structure was, in turn, undermined by the Depression and World War II, making black intervention possible as it had never been before.  This talk will explain what happened. (Friday, 7:30 pm, Love B)

 

The future of Black politics after Obama

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

What has been impact of the Obama presidency on Black politics and the movement against racial inequality in the United States? This talk will explore how Obama and the more general rise of Black elected officials have consolidated around the politics of the Democratic Party, including greater privatization of public services, exhortation of “culture of poverty” politics, and a general embrace of the status quo in American society. This political shift highlights the growing economic divide in Black America as well as demonstrating the need for an independent political agenda. This talk will evaluate the prospects of such a project. (Saturday, 11:30 am, O’Hare II)

 

The social construction of race

Brian Jones

There is no biological foundation to the idea that humans can be divided into different “races.” And yet, ideas about race are extremely important to understanding American society. Undeniable patterns of health, wealth, life, and death are all powerfully correlated to “race.” If “race” has no biological basis, then what basis does it have? Why is it so important in American society generation after generation? (Sunday, 9:30 am, O’Hare IV)

 

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, PSYCHOLOGY, AND SOCIETY

 

Race and class in the U.S. child welfare system

Don Lash

Foster care has always been a means of regulating poor and working class families, and has increasingly become a way to police Black families specifically. The talk will explore the basis for foster care in social reproduction, and struggles to change the relationship of the system to children and families subject to its control. (Sunday, 9:30 am, Heathrow)

 

Capitalism, socialism, and mental illness

Dana Cloud

This talk explores how the conditions of life under capitalism both produce some instances of mental illness while profoundly failing to meet the health care needs of the mentally ill. In order to discredit and pathologize protest, capitalism often attributes illness to people resisting racism, sexism, and exploitation. Capitalism blames and stigmatizes individuals for their illnesses, offers expensive medication as pharmaceutical shortcuts, and renders meaningful care inaccessible. It cannot support the utopian “neurodiversity” that some critics of our system advocate. We can only know what it means to be mentally and emotionally well in a different kind of society, a socialist society, designed to meet human needs. Until then, engaging in the struggle toward such a society can be a source of hope. (Sunday, 11:30 am, Kennedy)

 

Marxism and children: the historical con­struction of childhood

Kirstin Roberts

This talk explores the contradiction between the political rhetoric and the lived reality of children’s lives under capitalism and asks the questions: how did it get this way? What would it take to change it? Through an examination of how different human societies have cared for and thought about their children it becomes clear that when it comes to social reproduction, nothing is eternal. How we raise our kids is conditioned by, but also helps to shape, the society in which we live and struggle. Issues of children’s rights, children’s labor, and children in struggle will be considered. (Saturday, 2 pm, Haneda A&B)

 

IMPERIALISM AND NATIONALISM

 

How can the U.S. Empire be defeated?

Khury Petersen-Smith

The United States today stands as the world’s biggest superpower, combining economic and military strength in such a way as to make its dominance seem to be impregnable. But if the Vietnam debacle taught us anything, it was that empires can be brought low. What are the social and political forces today that can challenge and defeat the US Empire today? There are different perspectives on the left about how US Empire can be defeated. This talk will take stock of the different approaches and put forward a socialist vision for the end of US imperialism. (Thursday, 1 pm, Ideation)

 

The forging of the American empire

Alpana Mehta and Alessandro Tinonga

There is a widespread myth that the United States is a unique world power that reluctantly uses military force to benevolently spread democratic ideals and to fight for the rights of others. But as historian Sidney Lens writes, “American the benevolent…does note exist and never has existed.” From the dispossession of Native peoples to the conquest of Mexican land and the seizure of the Philippines, Cuba, and Puerto Rico in late 19th century, the US has since its beginnings been a violent and rapacious power. In the 20th Century, it used its vast military and industrial might to catapult itself into being the world’s leading superpower—a power that arrogates to itself the right to impose its military might and its political and economic priorities all over the globe like no other state. In its bid for world dominance, and in its struggle to maintain it, the US has used every available means—political, economic, and military—to dominate other peoples. The speakers will take an unflinching look at this history.  (Friday, 9:30 am, Dulles)

 

Crisis in Iraq: The Bitter Fruit of Occupation

Ashley Smith

Iraq teeters on the brink of yet another sectarian civil war that threatens to engulf the entire region. The U.S., whose 2003 invasion and occupation triggered the sectarian conflict to begin with, has sent troops and naval vessels to bolster Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Shia regime. Anti-imperialists must oppose U.S., Iranian, Saudi or any other intervention into the crisis because such actions will only make things worse; the hope amidst the horror is the rebuilding of the left regionally and renewing the struggle that united students, workers and peasants in class struggle against the regimes in the region. (Thursday, 1 pm, Love A)

 

The Marxist theory of imperialism

Jessica Hanson-Weaver

Marxist theories of imperialism are rooted in the interconnected relationship between international capitalist development and competition between nation-states. For over a century, Marxists have produced a variety of theories and political programs aimed at understanding and resisting imperialism in all its barbaric forms. This talk will provide a theoretical and historical foundation to better understand contemporary debates about the nature of 21st century imperialism. (Thursday, 3 pm, Ideation)

 

Racism, Surveillance and Empire

Deepa Kumar and Arun Kudnani

Surveillance in the United States grows out the needs of empire. This panel takes a historic look at the origins of surveillance in the early 20th century, and the part played by racism in its legitimation and targeting. (Friday, 9:30 am, O’Hare II)

 

Lenin and the right of nations to self-deter­mination

Jonah Birch

One of Lenin’s most important contributions to Marxist theory are his writings on the right of nations to self-determination. Drawing on Marx’s dictum that a nation which oppresses another cannot be free, Lenin argued that working-class unity could not be built without workers in the oppressor nation recognizing, and fighting for, the national rights of oppressed nations. Lenin’s views have implications for not only understanding national oppression and its relationship to the fight for socialism, but for approaching other forms of oppression under capitalism. (Friday, 4 pm, LaGuardia)

 

Russia, Ukraine, and the U.S.: “Campism” or internationalism?

Katie Feyh

In this talk we will discuss the complex relationship of nationalisms (Ukrainian, Russian) and internationalisms (capitalist, socialist) in the conflicts in today’s Ukraine. We will draw attention to the dilemmas facing socialists internationally in relating to Ukrainian and Russian workers as well as the dilemmas facing the Ukrainian, Russian, and international left emerging from Maidan. (Sunday, 11:30 am, Sydney)

 

“No good men among the living”: America, the Taliban, and the war through Afghan eyes

Anand Gopal

Intrepid journalist Anand Gopal takes a look into the causes and future of the war in Afghanistan, the longest in American history, based on his recently released book. The talk will describe how the war looked from the perspective of ordinary Afghans, and explain how this is the first truly neoliberal war in history. (Saturday, 2 pm, Love B)

 

INTRODUCTION TO MARXISM

 

Marx and the working class

Shaun Harkin

At the core of Karl Marx’s revolutionary ideas is his conception of the working class as the “gravedigger” of capitalism. Driven to collective resistance by exploitation and oppression, working class struggle holds the potential to challenge and overcome instilled divisions and develop a universal outlook directed towards human need, not profit for the few. The Communist Manifesto concludes with a momentous call for workers of all countries to unite! Today, the global working class is larger and more powerful than ever before, with nothing to lose but its chains and a world to win. (Friday 11:30 am, Dulles)

 

Marx’s historical materialism

Brian Erway

Historical materialism is the convenient descriptive label used by Marx and Engels to describe their theory of historical development and change. At its heart is the idea that people “make their own history, but not in conditions of their own choosing.” Material conditions shape human social relations, but those social relations are themselves transformed by human action. Historical materialism describes our philosophy in understanding human society and the material world on which it is based, and the historical possibilities for changing both. It is foundational to our theory that the working class can (and must) win its emancipation by its own conscious struggle and organization. (Friday 11:30 am, Heathrow)

 

Marxism and the State

Randy Childs

Most of our political leaders say that they hate “big government” and equate socialism with an oppressive, all-powerful state ruling over our lives. So why do they support endless wars, mass incarceration, and the NSA surveillance state? Marx called the state “the executive committee for managing the common affairs of the ruling class,” a product of irreconcilable class divisions in society. An introduction to Marxist thinking on what governments are and why we have them can help you see through these contradictions. (Sunday, 9:30 am, LaGuardia)

 

Will socialism be boring?

Danny Katch

Capitalism is increasingly unpopular but for many people socialism conjures up images – based on everything from dystopian fiction to the real history of Stalinism – of societies that are dull and rigid in the name of a gray “equality.” The charge of being boring may seem minor compared with capitalism’s crimes, but there is an underlying assumption about the limitations of human potential are important that is important to take on for anyone serious about the idea that the world can do better than its current system. (Friday, 2 pm, Midway)

 

Marxism and the dialectic

Lucy Herschel

Marx and Engels, like many of the radicals of their time, were strongly influenced by the German philosopher Hegel and his theory of the dialectical development of human society over time. Though in many ways their materialist approach was the opposite of Hegel’s, Hegel’s writing played a profound role in the development of Marx and Engels’ historical materialism. This talk will introduce the concept of Hegel’s dialectical approach, it’s impact on Marx and Engels, and it’s usefulness today. (Friday, 4 pm, Heathrow)

 

Marxism and Oppression: The Tribune of the Oppressed

Emily Giles

Marxism is a theory of the liberation of the working class. That does not mean that Marxists consider issues of oppression to be  “secondary.” On the contrary, real class unity cannot be built without fighting racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression. Moreover, it is only from the vantage point of the most oppressed class in society that the most thorough challenge to these forms of oppression can be waged. Therefore Marxism puts the struggle against various forms of oppression front and center. As Lenin writes in his book What is to Be Done, “Working-class consciousness cannot be genuine political consciousness unless the workers are trained to respond to all cases of tyranny, oppression, violence, and abuse, no matter what class is affected.” Capitalism depends on different forms of oppression in order to buttress its exploitive social relations. Hence there can be no working-class liberation without combatting all forms of oppression, and there can be no end to all forms of oppression without putting an end to capitalism. (Friday, 9:30 am, Kennedy)

 

Is the working class oppressed?

Amy Muldoon

Workers are exploited, alienated, and suffer innumerable oppressions of gender, language, sexuality, national origin; but oppressed as a class? Are even white, straight, educated men oppressed as workers? This talk will explore the mutually reinforcing forces of oppression and exploitation, and will argue that neoliberalism has intensified both fronts through political dispossession and dispersal. (Saturday, 9:30 am, Heathrow)

 

Marx and human nature

Bill Keach

This will be a close look at what Marx actually says about “human nature” in response to common objections that the goals of revolutionary socialism are in various ways contrary to “human nature.” The presentation will emphasize the ways in which ideas about “human nature” have changed in the course of history, and defend Marx’s ideas in opposition to currently fashionable alternatives deriving from postmodernism and from biological determinism. (Saturday, 11:30 am, Love B)

 

ISRAEL AND PALESTINE

 A love story: The U.S. and Israeli apartheid

Jason Farbman and Eric Ruder

Millions of Palestinians live under Israeli apartheid, a situation made possible by billions of dollars given to Israel by the U.S. government each and every year. This session will explore the origins of Israeli apartheid, the strategic interests that cement the U.S.-Israel “special relationship,” and what can be done to end this historic injustice. (Thursday, 3 pm, Balmoral)

 

Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel

Max Blumenthal

In his 2013 work by the same title, Blumenthal delves deep into Israel’s heart of darkness, revealing a society increasingly authoritarian, ideologically straight-jacketed, and obsessed with blotting out the rights of Palestinians. Akiva Eldar—a former chief political columnist for Haaretz—writes of Blumenthal’s work: “Unlike most Jews—American or Israeli—Blumenthal chose to leave his comfort zone, go into disputed territory and examine the burning questions for himself. In fact, Blumenthal’s greatest strength and interest is in events on the ground and the people who live there, far from the ‘peace process’ and diplomatic salons.” (Friday, 2 pm, O’Hare II)

 

Palestine and academic freedom

Rima Kapitan, Lymen Chehade, and Bill Mullen

On campuses across the country, campus administrators and pro-Israel advocacy groups are carrying out an attack on academic freedom in order to police pro-Palestinian voices. This panel will feature speakers from the front lines of struggles to defend the political and legal right of professors and teachers to speak openly about the Palestinian cause. (Saturday, 9:30 am, O’Hare II)

 

The battle for justice in Palestine

Ali Abunimah

Columbia professor Joseph Massad has called Ali Abunimah’s book The Battle for Justice in Palestine “the best book on Palestine in the last decade.” Efforts to achieve a “two-state solution” have finally collapsed; the struggle for justice in Palestine is at a crossroads. As Israel and its advocates lurch toward greater extremism, many ask where the struggle is headed. This presentation by the founder of Electronic Intifada will offer a clear analysis of this crossroads moment and looks forward with urgency down the path to a more hopeful future. (Saturday, 11:30 am, O’Hare IV)

 

The Arab working class and Palestinian liberation

Wael Elasady

This talk will briefly survey the historical relationship between the Palestinian struggle for liberation and the struggle of the regions masses. It will explore how Palestine was integrated into the regions neoliberal order in the past 30 years and assess the way in which the question of Palestine played out during the recent Arab Uprisings. Finally, it will explore the question of whether Palestinian liberation can be won without making common cause with Arab workers to transform the region. (Saturday, 2 pm, LaGuardia)

 

Against apartheid: The boycott, divest­ment, and sanctions movement today

Nashiha Alam, Tareq Radi, Ryan Branagan, Ali Abunimah, and Steven Salaita

The global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights is putting enormous pressure—political, diplomatic and economic—on the state of Israel. This panel features leading activists and advocates for BDS in the U.S. (Saturday, 4 pm, Balmoral)

 

Building international solidarity with the Palestinian freedom struggle

Bill Mullen

Since the end of the Second Intifada in 2005, the Boycott, Divest, Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel has become the most important international Palestinian solidarity campaign. This talk will show how these goals are also crucial to the fight against capitalism in the Middle East more generally, and how international labor solidarity among Arab workers especially is critical for ending Israel apartheid. (Sunday, 11:30 am, Love A)

 

LATIN AMERICAN TODAY

The legacy of Hugo Chávez and the strug­gle for Venezuela’s future

Eva Maria and Tom Lewis

Hugo Chávez coined the term “Socialism for the 21st Century” to describe the goal of Venezuela’s “Bolivarian Revolution.” What did Chávez mean by this term in theory, and how did he seek to put his ideas into practice? Now that Chávez is dead, what is his legacy? What are possible futures for the Bolivarian Revolution under current president Nicolás Maduro and in the face of angry, organized middle-class opposition? (Thursday, 1 pm, Love B)

 

Twenty years after NAFTA: Neoliberalism and resistance in Mexico

Héctor Agredano Rivera, Miguel Angel Castañeda

NAFTA’s restructuring of Mexico’s economy has had a disastrous effect on poor and working-class Mexicans, destroying subsistence farming, creating a massive “reserve army” of cheap labor, and devastating the environment. In this session we take a look at the effects of neoliberal reforms introduced in Mexico over the last twenty years; from NAFTA to the recent reforms of the Peña Nieto administration. We will also explore the social movements that have sought to oppose these reforms such as the Zapatistas, the UNAM student strike, the teacher’s movement and the growing self-defense movement.  (Sunday, 9:30 am, Dulles)

 

LATIN AMERICAN REVOLUTIONS AND REVOLUTIONARIES

Another look at Che Guevara: a progress report

Samuel Farber

Che Guevara has become an appealing symbol to legions of young rebels and revolutionaries throughout the world. Most of these young rebels, however, know little about Che’s specific political ideas and practical political record. The purpose of this talk is to present a brief political portrait focusing on his six years as a leading government figure in Cuba, his political perspectives on revolutionary agency and attempts to implement them in Cuba, Africa and Bolivia, and his views on socialism and democracy.  (Friday 11:30 am, Kennedy)

 

From Allende to Pinochet: The Battle for Chile

Maria Pizarro and Orlando Sepulveda

In the early 1970’s, a process of rising political activity of the working class and the poor in Chile leads to the electoral victory of a socialist, Salvador Allende, with the explicit goal of building a socialist society through parliamentary means. The end result was a bloody coup that submerged Chile in a 17-year long reactionary military dictatorship, and the implementation of the most savage neoliberal politics, today championed by ruling classes everywhere. Was this fate unavoidable? How could another history have been written? (Friday, 4 pm, Dulles)

 

The radical left in the Mexican Revolution

Jorge Torres

Over 100 years later, the Mexican Revolution is still fresh in the minds of its country’s citizens, many of whom consider it to be “unfinished.” What role did the radical left play in the revolution? What can revolutionaries in the U.S. today learn from this complex ten-year process where many of its participants struggled against the foundations of capitalism itself? (Friday, 4 pm, Sydney)

 

Mariátegui and Marxism in Latin America

Lance Selfa

Many consider José Carlos Mariátegui (1894-1930) to be the founder of Marxism in Latin America. His Seven Interpretive Essays on Peruvian Reality (1928) stands as a model of the Marxist method. Mariátegui played a central role in establishing Peru’s labor unions and its first communist party. Yet his legacy is much debated, and claimed by many political forces that have little in common with each other. This talk aims to reclaim the real Mariátegui for socialists today. (Sunday, 11:30 am, Heathrow)

 

MARXIST CLASSICS

Rosa Luxemburg’s Reform or Revolution

Paul LeBlanc

This richly illustrated power-point presentation on Rosa Luxemburg explores the ideas and historical context of a great revolutionary thinker and activist of the revolutionary Marxist tradition—whose insights have relevance for our own time. (Friday, 9:30 am, Midway)

 

 

Understanding Marx’s Capital

Leia Petty

Capital was Marx’s seminal work outlining his “critique of political economy.” It is indispensable reading for radicals and revolutionaries who want to understand the system under which we live and struggle. But at 940 pages, it can seem daunting. Though tackling its first chapters isn’t easy, the clarity, breadth, vigor, and humor of Marx’s text quickly become clear, as anyone who has read it can attest. This talk will offer a basic introduction to Marx’s Capital, making it accessible for the beginner, and make a case for why all radicals, progressives, and union activists should pick it up and give it a read. (Friday, 9:30 am, Heathrow)

 

Socialists, struggle, and the united front

Alan Maass

How should revolutionaries be active in non-revolutionary movements? The Russian revolutionaries, led by Leon Trotsky, developed the strategy of the united front for the specific circumstances of the period following the Russian Revolution, but the lessons of the united front method are invaluable for socialists in today’s different circumstances. (Saturday, 9:30 am, Balmoral)

 

Trotsky’s Permanent Revolution

Lee Wengraf

Trotsky’s theory of Permanent Revolution, first developed after the 1905 Russian revolution, was a crucial contribution to Marxist theory. It addressed the question of strategies for revolution in colonial nations and the less developed world, and the central importance of the working class in the struggle for socialism internationally. A backward country, he argued, does not need to pass through the same sequence of stages already achieved by advanced countries. It can combine elements of both backward and advanced countries, leading to a situation where workers can come to power in the former before the latter. As Trotsky wrote: “The permanent revolution…means a revolution which makes no compromise with any single form of class rule, which does not stop at the democratic stage, which goes over to socialist measures…; that is, a revolution whose every successive stage is rooted in the preceding one and which can end only in complete liquidation.” (Sunday, 9:30 am, Midway)

 

Lenin’s What Is to Be Done?

Geoff Bailey

Lenin’s What Is To Be Done? is both a classic of Marxist political writing and one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented books in our tradition. Denounced by those in the West who see Lenin as a tyrannical dictator and lionized by those in the former Communist Bloc as gospel, both ignore the vital questions Lenin was attempting to address: the relationship between struggle at the point of production and wider struggles for democracy and equality, and most importantly, how should revolutionaries organize to affect the world around them. (Sunday, 11:30 am, Love B)

 

MARXIST THEORY

 

The changing contours of corporate capi­talism, 1980-2013

Paul Kellog

Is U.S. hegemony waxing or waning? In the 1980s, it was axiomatic to talk about the decline of the U.S. imperialism. This century, many theorists (Sam Gindin and Leo Panitch most prominently) have made the opposite case, arguing that political economists have been misled by the “deterritorialization” of many economic indicators. The fact of production moving offshore from the U.S., for instance, might not be an indicator of the decline of the U.S., but rather an indicator of the deepening of U.S. overseas influence ­ if the new offshore production centers are under U.S. corporate control. This talk will examine one key indicator which remains territorially bound ­ the country location of the largest of the world’s corporations.
In a very real sense, the capitalist world economy expresses itself as a constellation of corporations, and tracking over time the regions where these corporations are headquartered, clearly reveals the steady, long-term decline of U.S. hegemony and the emergence of a multi-polar world economy. (Friday, 2 pm, Kennedy)

 

Who produces the wealth in society: Marx’s labor theory of value

Glenn Dunne and Ryan Nanni

The labor theory of value is at the heart of Marx’s analysis of capitalism. Yet there are many—even some who claim to be Marxists—who reject it. This talk will explain Marx’s labor theory of value and present a political defense of the theory in the context of controversies and common objections by other economists. This talk will be aimed at people who are unfamiliar with Marxist economics. (Saturday, 4 pm, Heathrow)

 

Marx’s theory of crisis: The basics

Sid Patel and Natalia Tylim

Capitalism is an economic system that is inherently crisis-prone, with alternating periods of frenetic economic expansion and decline, driven by forces that cause it to be unstable, anarchic, and self-destructive. This is as true today as it was over 150 years ago, when Karl Marx and his collaborator Frederick Engels described capitalism in the Communist Manifesto as “a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, [that it] is like the sorcerer, who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells.” Indeed, today’s world of financial panics, stagnation, and long-term unemployment, seems to fit their description better than ever before. This talk will provide an introduction to Marx’s theory of capitalist economic crisis, focusing on two basic concepts of Marxism: the “crises of overproduction” and the “tendency of the rate of profit to fall.” (Sunday, 11:30 am, LaGuardia)

 

Law and the rise of capitalism

David Whitehouse

Laws are often presented as eternally valid rules for human behavior. In reality, laws are a product of historical development. Though their form may vary considerably, they are at bottom a reflection of the economic relations of any given society—codifications of the interests of dominant classes. Capitalism couldn’t function without the law. This talk will sketch some key points about the changing role of bourgeois law from the time of its origins—among a small group of medieval merchants and moneylenders—to the period of large-scale slavery, up to today’s era of the mass working class. (Friday, 9:30 am, Haneda A&B)

 

Ideology and class consciousness

Rachel Cohen

Backward ideologies prop up the power of the wealthy few. These ideas tend to crumble when the oppressed and exploited move into action. But if, as Marx and Engels wrote, “the ruling ideas are the ideas of the ruling class,” where do people get the idea to challenge the way our society is organized? How can a majority of working people become conscious of the ability of our class to build a world based in genuine equality?  (Friday 11:30 am, Haneda A&B)

 

REVOLUTIONARY TRADITIONS

 

Holding fast to an image of the past: Marx­ism and tradition

Neil Davidson

Neil Davidson discusses Marxism both as part of pre-existing traditions like the Enlightenment as as a tradition in its own right. In particular, Davidson will address whether Trotskyism—including its unorthodox variants—have treated the latter too narrowly. (Friday, 4 pm, Love A)

 

Why we are Trotskyists

Joe Allen

In the mid 1920s, after Lenin’s death, the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky took up the difficult task of defending the politics of socialism from below against the bureaucratic distortions perpetrated by Stalin’s rising bureaucracy. From then on until his assassination at the hands of a Stalinist agent in 1940, Trotsky devoted his life to rebuilding an international Marxist movement committed to reestablishing, and the onslaught of Stalinism, an authentically internationalist socialist current. And though there were difficulties and problems from which we can learn today—and which in particular led to problems in the Trotskyist movement after his death—his efforts were indispensible in keeping alive the traditions to which we continue to adhere. (Thursday, 1 pm, Kennedy)

 

War and revolutionary socialism: The Second World War and the origins of International Socialism

Joel Geier

War and revolution are acid tests for all politics, and the events of World War II were no different. The rethinking and renewal of Marxist theory arising from the war produced the core ideas of the international socialist tendency: Neither Washington nor Moscow, socialism from below, workers power not state nationalization defines a workers state, the class nature of Stalinism, opposition to all forms of imperialism, support for the European Resistance movement, as well as others. (Sunday, 9:30 am, Balmoral)

 

The legacy of the International Socialist tradition

Ahmed Shawki

A hallmark of the International Socialist Tradition, whose leading organization was the Socialist Workers’ Party in Britain, was its commitment to socialism from below and to the centrality of working-class self-emancipation at a time when Stalinism, Maoism, and even some variants of Trotskyism, had veered from this commitment. Yet today, that tradition is considerably weakened internationally. Ahmed Shawki will examine the contributions of this tradition to the socialist movement, both in the US and abroad, evaluating both its strengths and weaknesses. (Friday 11:30 am, Love A)

 

Socialist response to the First World War: Lessons for today

John Riddell

In 1914, only a handful of socialist leaders stood firm against the onset of world war and colonial oppression. Yet within a few years, they led tens of millions in a world movement for socialism. A century later, their experience has lessons for us in confronting capitalist crisis. (Saturday, 11:30 am, Dulles)

 

REVOLUTION AND REACTION IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Revolution and counter-revolution in Egypt

Leading socialists from Egypt

Egypt has gone through a whirlwind of transformations, from the popular political revolution that swept Mubarak from power—but kept the military and bureaucracy intact—to the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi to power, and finally to the counterrevolutionary coup that has placed the Egyptian military in power. The current regime faces many contradictions, not least of which that Egypt’s masses have tasted the meaning of mass struggle and freedom and may not long suffer a return to military rule. As General Sisi’s legitimacy wanes as he introduces unpopular repressive and neoliberal measures, can Egypt’s left, and its working masses, revive the struggle for a new Egypt? (Friday 11:30 am, Balmoral)

 

Workers and the Egyptian Revolution

Leading socialists from Egypt

Prior to Egypt’s 2011 Revolution that brought down Mubarak, workers had been at the forefront of a reviving struggle, particularly textile workers in Mahalla. This talk will explore the development of Egypt’s labor movement, its role in the revolution, and prospects for the workers’ movement since the military coup. (Sunday, 11:30 am, O’Hare IV)

 

Revolution and counter-revolution in Syria

Yusef Khalil

Beseiged between the dictatorship’s military machine and the attacks of counter-revolutionary extremists, the Syrian uprising continues. How do we understand the Syrian Revolution? What are the root causes of the Syrian revolt, and what position should anti-imperialists have? (Friday, 2 pm, O’Hare IV)

 

NATIVE AMERICAN HISTORY AND POLITICS

From fish-ins to sit-ins: Native resistance in the ‘50s and ‘60s

Ragina Johnson

Following the Post World War II boom, the US government and corporations set out to steal more land and resources belonging to Native peoples and tribes, in order to foster capitalist industrial growth and an expanding urban population. For the US to plunder more Tribal land and resources protected by time-honored treaties, the US government passed “termination policies” under the racist guise of “assimilating Indians” into broader society. Native resistance in the 50’s and 60’s fought these attacks on sovereignty, land, water rights, and ecological destruction by organizing mass fish-ins, protests against hydroelectric dams and mining, as more natives moved into urban centers linking up their struggles with others fighting for civil rights and economic equality. (Saturday, 11:30 am, Love A)

 

Idle No More and the new politics of native resistance in North America

Erica Lee

Idle No More is a social and environmental justice movement, started in Canada but resonating internationally, sparking necessary conversations and actions led by Indigenous women. Idle No More activist Erica Lee will explore the dimensions of this new resurgence of Indigenous activism. (Sunday, 11:30 am, Balmoral)

 

SOCIALIST ORGANIZING TODAY

Introduction to the International Socialist Organization (ISO)

Aaron Petcoff

Perhaps the most critical lesson of the history of all past revolutionary efforts—successful and unsuccessful—is that the working class and oppressed need their own organization, politically independent from the organizations of the ruling class, to fight for its own aims and interests. This task has taken on even more urgency in the light of the radical upsurges since 2011—in Egypt, Greece, and elsewhere around the world. In this workshop, we will examine the question of building such an organization in the United States and how the International Socialist Organization, one of the sponsors of Socialism 2014, sees itself contributing to that effort. (Saturday, 2 pm, Dulles)

 

How to build an ISO branch

Andrea Hektor and Mario Ovalle

This session will serve as a workshop for members of the ISO—as well as those interested in starting an ISO branch—who would like to sharpen their understanding of the political tools necessary for growing and sustaining an ISO branch. The session will make the connection between how the goal of building a revolutionary socialist party guides the practice of being active in and building a socialist organization at the basic unit of local organization: the branch. (Saturday, 6:00 pm, Ideation)

 

OTHER RADICALISM

 Revolution without a revolution: A Marxist critique of anarchism and prefigurative politics

Brian Kelly and Brian Bean

In the wake of surges of class struggles and uprisings around the world many radicals and revolutionaries think through what ideas and strategies are needed to realize a world without exploitation and oppression. Anarchism, the close cousin to revolutionary Marxism, has both broad appeal and many divergent political tendencies. This talk will critically engage with some of the most popular and advanced of those tendencies—prefigurative politics and insurrectionary syndicalism—and offer a Marxist assessment of the similarities and concrete limits of these politics. The attempt to remake the world will always put us into contest with the state and erect unavoidable barriers we cannot simply “prefigure away.” We argue that the revolutionary Marxist conception of the state and how to destroy it is the strategy workers must take up to win their liberation. (Thursday, 3 pm, Kennedy)

 

Reform or revolution? The rise and fall of social democracy

Phil Gasper

The debate between reformists and revolutionaries is about how socialism can be achieved and what sort of socialism we want to build. Social democratic political parties like Germany’s SDP and Britain’s Labour Party once maintained that socialism could be brought about by gradually reforming the existing system, but today they offer little more than neoliberalism with a human face. What lessons can socialists draw from the history of social democracy? (Friday, 2 pm, Dulles)

 

Maoism in the United States from SDS to Jesse Jackson

Bill Roberts

This talk will look at the rise of the New Communist Movement (Maoism) from its beginnings in the early 1970s to its collapse in the early 1980s. This current of revolutionary thought and its organizational expressions captured the largest numbers—mostly students—out of the radicalized movements of the 1960s. We will look at some of the reasons for its appeal, what the successes and limits of its practice were, and why it was unable to sustain its appeal in the period of reaction beginning in the 1980s. (Saturday, 9:30 am, Dulles)

 

PRISON AND JUSTICE ISSUES

What is the New Jim Crow?

Haley Pessin

The United States is notoriously known as the “incarceration nation.” Michelle Alexander’s 2010 bombshell, The New Jim Crow, examined the explosive growth of America’s prison population in the past three decades—and how this growth relates to the racial disparity in imprisonment. There are now 2.3 million people behind bars, including one in nine young African American men. Although most drug users are white, three-quarters of those imprisoned on drug charges are Black or Latino. Rather than unintentional side effects, these racial disparities provide the key to understanding the prison boom. This talk will explore the contradiction of an allegedly “color-blind” society whose justice system systematically and disproportionately targets people of color. (Thursday, 1 pm, Dulles)

 

Beyond the prison walls: Is there freedom after wrongful conviction?

Liliana Segura

There have been 316 post-conviction DNA exonerations in the United States since 1989, the overwhelming majority of them African-America, and 18 of who served time on death row. As the pace of DNA exonerations has grown across the country in recent years, wrongful convictions have revealed how the criminal justice system is broken. But the horror for the wrongfully convicted doesn’t end at the prison gate. The exonerated are in the majority released either without any compensation or with inadequate compensation for the time stolen from them them. Innocent ex-prisoners are released from the penal system without any provision of social services or support in which to rebuild their life after suffering years of trauma and anxiety, and rarely is there even an apology for the crime committed against them. (Saturday, 9:30 am, Midway)

 

No justice, no peace: Families of police brutality victims speak out

Jeralynn Blueford, Airickca Gordon-Taylor, Ron Davis, LaKiza Fowler, Wanda Johnson,Malcolm London, Randi Jones-Hensley

Police brutality is a growing epidemic in the United States. Every day there is a story of beatings and killings perpetrated by cops, most often, but not exclusively, perpetrated against youth of color. This meeting will look at not only some of the cases and what they tell us about the nature of policing in the US today, but will also discuss the struggles of families, friends, and activists for the real justice that is so elusive in this country. (Saturday, 4 pm, Kennedy)

 

QUESTIONS ON THE LEFT

The right to the city: Capitalism and gentrification

Jeff Boyette, Lauren Fleer

As the city transforms into a playground for the rich, the gentrified—overwhelmingly Black and Latino—become rent-burdened and forced out of their neighborhoods. From New York to San Francisco, the dispossessed are fighting back and demanding that housing be a right, not a commodity. Join us in a discussion about the Right to the City and how working people are organizing to achieve it. (Thursday, 3 pm, Love A)

 

What should socialists say about privilege checking?

Sharon Smith

For many activists today, the language of “privilege” and “privilege checking” is the default setting. We live in a highly atomized world where the default understanding of how to organize against oppression is to root out bad interpersonal practices. Yet while awareness of privilege, inequality, and intersecting oppressions is positive in that it connects with people’s lived experiences and gives them confidence to “call out” oppression and challenge it, “privilege checking” can encourage movement activist to turn inward and against each other, and to “rank” each other according to degrees of oppression. This can create a hostile environment in which it becomes difficult to build collective solidarity and struggle, which are the best means to challenge oppression both within our movements and against the system as a whole. A Marxist perspective that links different forms of oppression to the needs of capitalism provides a framework in which to build mutual solidarity based on the championing of struggles against all forms of oppression. (Friday, 4 pm, Kennedy)

 

New horizons for the left: Unions, mass parties, and socialism

Bhaskar Sunkara

What should socialist strategy look like in the twenty-first century? The party membership and unionization rates are in secular decline around the world—what relevance, if any, do these forms have to struggle today? (Friday,7:30 pm, Love A)

 

Are there too many people chasing too few resources?

Michael Ware

What is driving environmental destruction and accelerating climate change? Is it too many people on a finite planet? Or the logic of capitalism that demands endless economic growth regardless of planetary limits? (Saturday, 9:30 am, Ideation)

 

Perspectives for the revolutionary left

Ahmed Shawki

The terrain of left politics today has been totally transformed. Working-class organizations suffered a sustained decline since the 1970s. The last “New Left,” which emerged out of the wave of struggles in the 1960s and ‘70s, failed to produce viable revolutionary organizations of any size or staying power. Capitalism was permanently triumphant, so it was claimed. And yet the promise of endless growth and prosperity has given way now to the reassertion of deep economic crisis, chronic military conflict, and the threat of global climate catastrophe. New struggles and new revolutions, from the global justice movement of the early 2000s to the Arab Spring a decade later—as well as the reaction they have produced—are indicative of a new period characterized by extreme volatility. The return of deep economic instability has driven a stake through the heart of neoliberalism, at least ideologically. A new political framework for reconstituting a new Left internationally, however, has been lost and must be regained to give shape to the newly emerging radicalism.  (Saturday, 2 pm, O’Hare II)

 

Deradicalizing intellectuals and the next left: Reclaiming the “impatient lives” of Black Marxists and Jewish interna­tionalists

Alan Wald

Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, there has been a mounting succession of condemnations of the anti-imperialist Left, and especially of sharp critics of the Israeli state, authored by one-time radical intellectuals previously inspired by the 1968 “New Left.” Their manifestos, essays, books, and even petitions provocatively call for “A Decent Left” and oppose BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) as a violation of “academic freedom,” or even as “anti-Semitic.” How does this current “deradicalization” of intellectuals compare with those of the past? How might the political legacies of what Daniel Bensaïd calls the “impatient lives” of Black Marxists and Jewish internationalists provide a much-needed jolt from the Left to forge a radically original 21st century socialist culture? (Saturday, 4 pm, Dulles)

 

Capital in the Twenty-First Century: An introduction to Piketty

Sarah Knopp

Thomas Piketty’s Capitalism in the 21st Century has caused a major stir among economists of all backgrounds as well as proponents of justice for the 99 percent. It is perhaps the most important look at income inequality so far this century. This talk will discuss the book, it’s historical context, and its critics. (Sunday, 9:30 am, Haneda A&B)

 

LATINO AND IMMIGRATION POLITICS

 Reform without justice: The politics of immigration reform

Sarah Pomar and Denise Romero

The so-called debate around immigration among the two parties reveals a great deal of agreement between them. At the heart of the latest proposals around “immigration reform” are proposals that no activists can support: increased spending on the enforcement apparatus, at the border and in the interior, to control current and future migration flows; the development of a substantial non-citizen, low-wage workforce through expansion of a guest-worker program; a merit-based visa system; and a long and arduous legalization process designed to disqualify any who speak up, step out of line or stop working. This panel will discuss the politics of “reform” and outline what kind of movement is needed to win the kind of reforms that we can get behind. (Saturday, 9:30 am, Kennedy)

 

Destroying the deportation nation: How to move beyond the deadly debate in D.C.

Roberto Lovato

Join a conversation about how and why immigrant rights, climate change, and other struggles of our time demand a borderless mindset and frame, and urgently so. The presentation will analyze how politics defined by elections within the borders clouds political and moral clarity; it will also explore the possibilities to be had in smashing the limits that borders placed on our language and political imagination. (Saturday, 2 pm, Kennedy)

 

Marxist influences in the Chicano/Chicana movement

Justin Akers Chacón

This presentation explores the role that Marxist politics and organizations played in the period of the Chicana/o civil rights movement. It will examine precursory influences, some key individuals and organizations, and the impact of Marxist thought on the course and outcomes of the movement. (Friday, 9:30 am, Ideation)

 

RADICAL FILM FESTIVAL

Labor’s Turning Point: The Minneapolis Truck Strikes of 1934: A Rank and File Story

Labor’s Turning Point is John De Graaf’s 1981 documentary about the 1934 Minneapolis Teamsters Strike. The massive struggle transformed Minneapolis from a bastion of the anti-labor Citizens’ Alliance to a union town. Weaving together photos, journalist reports, newsreel footage from 1934, and interviews with veterans of the conflict and historians, the documentary reveals a crucial chapter in the labor history of Minnesota and the nation. The film is the only documentary ever produced on the history-making Minneapolis Teamster general strike. The struggle of 1934 involved three successive strikes that finally defeated the powerful Citizens’ Alliance, the employers’ organization that had fought tooth-and-nail to successfully defeat every effort at unionization in Minneapolis since 1916. The Minneapolis strikes were led by Trotskyists and were unique in their commitment to rank-and-file democracy, military tactics, and their ability to draw the Minneapolis working-class, union and non-union, employed and unemployed, into the struggle. The strike was brilliantly documented in Trotskyist strike-leader Farrell Dobbs’ book, Teamster Rebellion, and more recently by Bryan Palmers’ Revolutionary Teamsters: The Minneapolis Truckers’ Strikes of 1934. But there is nothing like viewing the actual footage of this historic struggle and hearing the words of its participants. (Thursday, 1 pm, Midway)

 

Who Is Dayani Cristal?

Who Is Dayani Cristal? tells the story of a migrant who found himself in the deadly stretch of desert known as “the corridor of death” and shows how one life becomes testimony to the tragic results of the U.S. war on immigration. As the real-life drama unfolds we see this John Doe, denied an identity at his point of death, become a living and breathing human being with an important life story. Winner of the Sundance 2013 Cinematography award and nominated in the World Documentary Competition, “Who is Dayani Cristal?” has been described by The Hollywood Reporter as “A deeply moving doc [which] finds a new way of making the immigration debate personal.” (Thursday, 3 pm, Midway)

 

Union Maids

Union Maids is a 1976 American documentary film directed by Jim Klein, Julia Reichert, and Miles Mogulescu. Although a grassroots effort, it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 1978. The film is based on interviews with three women who dedicated their lives to building unions from the bottom up in the 1930s. These three women, Kate Hyndman, Stella Nowicki, and Sylvia Woods, all featured in the film, were among those rank-and-file communists and socialists included in the classic book, Rank and File, by Alice Lynd and Staughton Lynd, which focused on the personal narratives of those involved in the working-class rebellion of the 1930s. The film also includes original footage of the strikes and struggles at these women’s workplaces—so often overlooked by labor historians, yet essential for an accurate picture of the role played by women in the labor struggles of the 1930s. Each of these women brings a unique perspective—first as young women in the Depression Era combined with their insights as lifelong activists, who suffered under the impact of the anti-communist witch hunt of the late 1940s and 1950s and later lived through the women’s and Black liberation movements of the 1960 and 1970s. While this film has receded in the mainstream, it provides enormous and inspiring insight into working-class women’s history. (Friday 11:30 am, Midway)

 

The Trials of Muhammad Ali

The Trials of Muhammad Ali explores the extraordinary and complex life of the legendary athlete outside the boxing ring. From joining the controversial Nation of Islam and changing his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali, from his refusal to serve in the Vietnam War in the name of protesting racial inequality to his global humanitarian work, Ali remains an inspiring and controversial figure.

Focusing on some of the most noteworthy and provocative aspects of the legendary athlete’s life, the film explores his lifelong journey of spiritual transformation. From his Louisville roots through his years in exile to receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Ali’s path was that of poet to pariah to global ambassador for peace.

Archival scenes highlight the forces that supported and opposed him, including his spiritual mentors, Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad, and critics of his stance, such as Jackie Robinson and Joe Louis. Most of the interviewees have never been featured in any Ali film before, yet are central to his life story and the global impact he had. (Friday, 4 pm, Midway)

 

Dirty Wars

Dirty Wars follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill, author of the international bestseller Blackwater, into the heart of America’s covert wars, from Afghanistan to Yemen, Somalia and beyond. What begins as a report into a U.S. night raid gone terribly wrong in a remote corner of Afghanistan quickly turns into a global investigation of the secretive and powerful Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).

As Scahill digs deeper into the activities of JSOC, he is pulled into a world of covert operations unknown to the public and carried out across the globe by men who do not exist on paper and will never appear before Congress. In military jargon, JSOC teams “find, fix, and finish” their targets, who are selected through a secret process. No target is off limits for the “kill list,” including U.S. citizens.

We see and hear directly from survivors of night raids and drone strikes, including the family of the first American citizen marked for death and being hunted by his own government.

Dirty Wars takes viewers to remote corners of the globe to see first-hand wars fought in their name and offers a behind-the-scenes look at a high-stakes investigation. We are left with haunting questions about freedom and democracy, war and justice. (Saturday, 11:30 am, Midway)

 

Schoolidarity

Through the eyes of public school teachers fighting for the benefit of all their students, Schoolidarity tells the interwoven story of the two most significant workers’ rights struggles of our time: the weeks-long 2011 mass occupation of the Wisconsin capitol, and the Chicago teachfers strike of 2012. Schoolidarity provides a history of the issues surrounding the privatization of urban public schools in the US. By documenting the ascent of the activist teacher caucus CORE, Chicago’s public schools crisis is analyzed through the lens of the assault on public sector unions, where defeats are just as important to study as victories in order to insure education justice for all. (Saturday, 4 pm, Midway)

 

The Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975

The Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975 mobilizes a treasure trove of 16mm material shot by Swedish journalists who came to the US drawn by stories of urban unrest and revolution. Gaining access to many of the leaders of the Black Power Movement—Stokely Carmichael, Bobby Seale, Angela Davis and Eldridge Cleaver among them—the filmmakers captured them in intimate moments and remarkably unguarded interviews. Thirty years later, this lush collection was found languishing in the basement of Swedish Television. Director Göran Olsson and co-producer Danny Glover bring this footage to light in a mosaic of images, music and narration chronicling the evolution one of our nation’s most indelible turning points, the Black Power movement. Music by Questlove and Om’Mas Keith, and commentary from prominent African- American artists and activists who were influenced by the struggle—including Erykah Badu, Harry Belafonte, Talib Kweli, and Melvin Van Peebles—give the historical footage a fresh, contemporary resonance and makes the film an exhilarating, unprecedented account of an American revolution. (Sunday, 11:30 am, Midway)

 

REVOLUTIONARY HISTORY

How the Russian Revolution was won—and lost

Rigo Gogol and Julian Guerrero

The tragedy of the Russian Revolution is that with its failure came gulags, political repression, and all the forms of oppression that were meant to be erased from society once workers came to power. The first successful workers’ revolution in history ended, tragically, through its degeneration, in the creation of a completely distorted idea of what Marxism and socialism are. So why did it fail? And why must we defend the lessons and history of the Russian Revolution against the myth that Lenin led to Stalin? (Saturday, 4 pm, Haneda A&B)

 

The 1857 Revolt: How Indian soldiers and peasants shook the British empire

Pranav Jani

In 1857, Indian soldiers in the British colonial army mutinied in cities across north India—instigating a popular rebellion against British rule and exploitation. The rebels were defeated by a ruthless counter-insurgency, but myths about imperialism’s ‘civilizing mission’ and its invincibility were shattered for good. Join us to learn about this key anti-colonial uprising from a perspective that challenges both imperialist and nationalist histories of 1857. (Saturday, 9:30 am, Sydney)

 

The Chinese Revolution of 1949

Dennis Kosuth

China today seems to be even more successful at capitalism than the United States, so its self-described socialist origins can seem confusing. What was the nature of the 1949 revolution that ended a “century of humiliation” under colonial rule? How did Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Party first come to power despite so many challenges? (Sunday, 11:30 am, Haneda A&B)

 

SCIENCE AND SOCIETY

Genes, Society, and Marx

Bekah Ward

Genetics provides a powerful tool; in the hands of the elite it entrenches oppression and endangers the environment, but in the hand of a socialist society it could be used for knowledge, healing, and sustainability. (Saturday, 2 pm, Heathrow)

 

Microbes and Marxism: Capitalism and public health

Elizabeth Wrigley-Field

“Marxism and Microbes” begins with a story—the true, important, and radically incomplete and problematic story of how human society overcame microbes. This session is about grappling with that story and its limitations. It is about how our coevolution with bacteria has shaped and been shaped by our social organization and about how capitalism is creating new infectious diseases—and ultimately, it poses questions about how science and democracy might interact in a socialist society. (Sunday, 11:30 am, Ideation)

 

FROM CIVIL RIGHTS TO BLACK POWER

Freedom Summer in Mississippi: Fifty years later

Marlene Martin

50 years ago, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee launched Freedom Summer, which brought nearly 1,000 mostly white students from the North to work in Mississippi as volunteers to assist civil rights activists In helping Blacks to register and setting up Freedom Schools. The long hot summer in Mississippi challenged the racist power structure of the Jim Crow South and changed the lives of everyone who participated in—Black Mississippians, veteran civil rights leaders and the student volunteers. (Friday, 2 pm, LaGuardia)

 

Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement of the 1960s

Gary Younge

More beloved than understood, King’s journey in the 1960s involved not only his leadership in the Civil Rights Movement, but also his own political journey as the movement educated him. This talk by journalist and author of The Speech: The Story Behind Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Dream, will take us through the Civil Rights movement to King’s tragic assassination in 1968, along the way illuminating the struggles, contradictions, and achievements of the man and the movement. (Friday, 4 pm, O’Hare II)

 

Revolutionary nationalism from Malcolm X to the Black Panthers

Ream Kidane

After the civil rights movement began to come up against serious challenges to establishing genuine equality for Blacks in the US, the cry for Black Power captured the imagination of millions. We will discuss what this revolutionary challenge meant to the movement then and what it means for us today. (Saturday, 9:30 am, Haneda A&B)

 

ELECTORAL POLITICS

Marxism and elections

Kyle Brown

What attitude do Marxists take to elections and representative government? In the history of the socialist movement there have developed or coexisted two principal and, in the end, quite different and opposing views of the question. One, reformism, argues that modern representative government affords the working class the opportunity to achieve socialism by electing a socialist majority into office. The other trend, first outlined by Marx and Engels, and then elaborated by Rosa Luxemburg and Lenin, argues for a revolutionary overthrow of the state, based upon the mass struggle of the working class, and its replacement by new organs of workers’ power. Yet prior to a revolution, socialists must try to take advantage of bourgeois elections—using them to spread propaganda, to support struggles outside government, and to promote pro-working-class legislation— in order to advance their cause in any way they can. How have Marxists related to elections and representative government throughout history? There is a rich history and many lessons to look at as we engage in discussion today about kind of electoral strategy can help us build a stronger left. (Friday, 4 pm, Ideation)

 

Rahm Emanuel, Hillary Clinton or Bill de Blasio: The Democratic Party at a crossroads?

Elizabeth Schulte

The electoral victories of Democrats like New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has some asking, can more populist candidates save the “soul” of the Democratic Party? How do you reconcile the party of Franklin Roosevelt and the party of Rahm Emanuel? (Saturday, 11:30 am, Ideation)

 

Political alternatives to the two parties of capital

Jill Stein, Howie Hawkins,Jorge Mujica, Brian Jones

The two-party system in the United States is set up to deliberately exclude all other attempts to build effective political challenges to it. As a result, we are left with a limited range of choices that always leaves the interests of big business on top. Politically independent party initiatives like the Green Party— a national political voice for a transformative national social movement, with scores of recent/current mayors, city councilors and legislators—are urgently needed. Is it time for a red-green convergence? Is it already happening—and how can we build on it? In the wake of socialist Kshama Sawant’s Seattle victory, what space is there for left candidates in the electoral process, and what role can it play in building a independent new left in the United States? (Saturday, 4 pm, O’Hare II)

 

THE LABOR MOVEMENT TODAY

Why we fight for union democracy

Shannon Ryker, Scott Houldieson, Melissa Rakestraw

Democracy is the life-blood of the labor movement. When workers are deprived of democratic control over their unions and their struggles, it weakens their efforts. It is only through the initiative of workers themselves that confidence in their own power grows and awareness of their own capacity to change their condition grows. The more top-down a union or a union fightback is organized—the less it promotes those qualities that prepare workers to transform society and themselves. The more the organization of unions and strikes are in the hands of workers themselves, the better the potential for victory, the greater the energy and self-sacrifice exhibited, and the greater likelihood that the successes of one struggle will impact other workers, both organized and unorganized. Hence union democracy is central to rebuilding their future as fighting organizations of the working class. (Friday, 9:30 am, Love A)

 

Public-sector union struggles: Last line of defense, first signs of renewal

Jesse Sharkey, Barbara Madeloni

Across the country public sector workers’ wages, conditions, pension, and their unions have been under severe bipartisan attack, from California to Wisconsin. These attacks are part of the price being imposed on the working class to be for the bailout of the system in the wake of the worst economic crisis since the 1930s. At the same time, there has been resistance, such as the successful Chicago Teachers’ Union Strike. How can public sector unions successfully resist the austerity drive, generalizing the experience of the CTU and other struggles in order to reverse the tide of attacks? (Friday 11:30 am, Love B)

 

The rank-and-file strategy: Class struggle unionism

Larry Bradshaw

Its no secret the bosses are winning. The top 1% suck up 93 percent of all income. The workers who produce and create the wealth have seen their living standards decline for nearly 4 decades. Organized labor seems incapable of reversing this trend. Despite the occasional militant rhetoric, labor leaders’ only strategy is more concessions, more retreats and ‘partnerships’. How can workers fight back, and equally important, how can they win? The ISO promotes a ‘Rank & File Strategy’ to rebuild the labor movement. What is the Rank & File strategy? Is it a useful guide to action, or is it hopelessly outdated? Are Socialists running for Union office part of the answer? (Friday, 2 pm, Love A)

 

“Obamacare” as neoliberal health care reform

Sean Petty and Elizabeth Lalasz

Some liberals are presenting the Affordable Health Care Act as a “step in the right direction.” But what one critic has dubbed the “Profit Protection and Unaffordable Care Act” will not end the crisis in the American healthcare system for one simple reason: The central role of the private, for-profit insurers­–the root cause of the crisis– hasn’t been eliminated. It has been expanded. Under Obamacare more Americans will have health insurance, but they’ll pay more money for it and receive less healthcare. And that is exactly the way the health insurance corporations like it. (Friday, 4 pm, Love B)

 

Neoliberalism and the changing working class

Lee Sustar

It can’t be denied that the period known as neoliberalism—associated in the last 30-odd years with privatization, deregulation, and cuts in the social wage—has also involved a restructuring of whole industries as well as labor relations. After years of unrelenting assault, working class organization is undoubtedly weaker. To what degree are these developments “structural,” and to what extent are they simply the result of movement defeats and failed labor strategies? The answer to these questions will determine how we perceive the prospects for rebuilding a fighting labor movement; and ultimately the central role placed by Marxists on the working class’s capacity for self-emancipation and social liberation. (Saturday, 9:30 am, Love A)

 

Showdown in the supply chain: Workers take on UPS, Amazon, and Walmart

Donny Schraffenberger and Mike Compton

The logistic giants employ hundreds of thousands of workers in enormous warehouses. These companies utilize the latest 21st century technology alongside work conditions that more closely resemble the 19th century. Yet, workers at UPS, Walmart and Amazon are starting to fight back against these seemingly unstoppable corporations. (Saturday, 11:30 am, LaGuardia)

 

The Fight for 15 and the political economy of low-wage labor

Matt Camp, Pam Davis,Rhiannon Broschat-Salguero

There has been a recent spate of struggles of low-wage workers, from McDonald’s to Wal-Mart workers, for a livable wage. This talk will explore the character of these fights and what they hold for the labor movement. It was also offer an analysis of the character of the low wage economy—from fast-food to migrant labor to manufacturing—in the US today and how it has been shaped over the past several years. (Saturday, 4 pm, Love B)

 

THE REVOLUTIONARY PARTY

Marx, Engels, and the political party

Paul D’Amato

In the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels wrote of the “organisation of the proletarians into a class, and, consequently into a political party.” From the beginning, they emphasized that the emancipation of the working class was not possible without forming its own political party in opposition to other classes. What did they mean by this? What work did they engage in, and lessons did they learn, as revolutionaries in their lifetime, in attempting to put these ideas into practice? (Saturday, 2 pm, Balmoral)

 

In defense of Lenin

Todd Chretien

We shouldn’t be surprised that pro-capitalist thinkers despise Lenin and make a caricature of his ideas. But many on the Left also hold Lenin at arm’s length, arguing that the Bolsheviks’ experience no longer applies in today’s world or that there is no such thing as a coherent body of theory and practice which we can still call “Leninism.” This session will challenge these critiques and argue that, paraphrasing Lenin, “without Bolshevik theory, there can be no revolutionary practice.” (Friday, 2 pm, Love B)

 

ABOLITIONISTS AND REVOLUTIONARIES

Slavery and Black self-emancipation across North America

Zach Aslanian-Williams

Some historians call the Civil War the “Second American Revolution” because it rooted out the system of chattel slavery in the United States. We know about the generals and the politicians who no doubt played a role in the North’s victory, but what of the slaves and free Blacks? They played a crucial role in their own emancipation, as active Black abolitionists in the North prior to the Civil War, as militants in John Brown’s Harper’s Ferry raid, as soldiers fighting Confederates in the North’s armies, and as slaves engaging in what WEB DuBois called a “general strike against slavery,” when they deserted the plantations in droves. (Saturday, 11:30 am, Heathrow)

 

The Black Jacobins and the Marxism of CLR James

Scott McLemee

C.L.R. James researched and wrote The Black Jacobins—the inspiring story of Toussaint L’ouverture and the Haitian Revolution of 1804—while also busy studying Marxist theory and building revolutionary organizations during the 1930s. How did historical materialism influence his understanding of the Haitian revolution—and vice versa? (Saturday, 2 pm, Ideation)

 

US RADICAL AND LABOR HISTORY

Eugene Debs and the 1894 Pullman strike

Alex Schmaus

The American Railway Union strike against Pullman Company in 1894 was one of the key moments in the rise of the American labor and socialist movements. The strikers confronted not only the power of their employer but, ultimately, that of the State in a widening and escalating conflict that bordered on insurrection. Eugene Debs, who would later become well known by millions of Americans as a socialist agitator, wrote that he was “baptized in socialism in the roar of conflict” as a leader of this strike. (Sunday, 9:30 am, Sydney)

 

Socialism and disability: The politics of Helen Keller

Keith Rosenthal

This talk will explore the politics of Helen Keller in a dual sense. It will examine the various views that Keller herself held about disability and capitalist society; and, in contrast, it will examine the views that capitalist society has variously produced about Keller, both the actual historical person as well as the mythological “disabled icon.” (Friday 11:30 am, LaGuardia)

 

The mass strikes of 1934 and the rise of the CIO

Joe Richard

The 1920s were years of retreat and defeat for US labor. Then, in 1933, there were 1,695 work stoppages, twice the number of the year before, involving 1,117,000 workers, nearly four times more than the previous year. In 1934, the figures rose still higher: 1,856 strikes involving 1,470,000 workers. And as the Depression decade continued, workers began to win their strikes. During 1934, three strikes, in San Francisco, Toledo and Minneapolis–all fought out almost simultaneously–turned the tide in favor of workers. Each strike showed in practice that with solidarity workers can win, no matter how well-armed and well-funded the bosses’ side is. Socialists played a key role in all three strikes. How did the mass strikes of 1934 change the landscape of the US labor movement, and pave the way for the rise of the CIO’s industrial unions? (Saturday, 9:30 am, LaGuardia)

 

A history of interracial unionism in the United States

Paul Heideman

The history of unions and race is at the same time one of the most inspiring and the most depressing chapters in American radicalism. At times, black and white workers have shown incredible solidarity in spite of employers’ efforts to divide them; at others, racism has prevailed and white workers have engaged in the most vicious sorts of persecution. This talk reviews this history and offers lessons from it for those trying to organize a united working class today. (Friday, 9:30 am, LaGuardia)

 

From sit-down strikes to concessions: What happened to Big Labor?

Megan Behrent

There is a rich history within the US labor movement of radical, militant struggle. The right to form unions was won through mass struggles such as the teamster rebellion in Minneapolis in 1934 and the sit-down strikes in Flint, Michigan in 1936. Today, however, union density is at an all time low and concession bargaining is the norm. This session will look at the history of the US labor movement in order to draw lessons for revitalizing the labor movement today. (Sunday, 9:30 am, Kennedy)

 

Working-class women’s liberation and the rank-and-file rebellion in steel

Candace Cohn

Inspiring case study of the relation of working class women’s liberation to the rank and file revolt of the 1970s. How women steelworkers who won demands against heavy odds, went on to build a rank and file caucus which then joined the national Steel Workers Fightback campaign. Lessons for today on socialist functioning in broader rank and file work and electoral reform campaigns. (Saturday, 11:30 am, Haneda A&B)

 

UPSurge and the rank-and-file rebellion of the 1970s

Anne Mackie

Anne Mackie, a former UPS driver and Editor of the 1970s rank and file newspaper UPSurge, will share experiences as a revolutionary socialist building a movement within the Teamsters Union. As a member of Teamsters Local 407 in Cleveland and a founding member of Teamsters for a Decent Contract (1974) and Teamsters for a Democratic Union (1976) Anne was a leader in the national movement that took on the biggest company in the shipping industry and laid the foundations of solidarity and militancy necessary to take on the corrupt Teamsters Union. (Sunday, 11:30 am, Dulles)

 

WORLD IN STRUGGLE

 SYRIZA’s crisis and the future of the Greek Left

Antonis Davanellos

Two years ago, SYRIZA emerged from the margins of Greek elections to place a close second in two successive elections for Greek parliament. More recently, it demonstrated its staying power by winning more than 26 percent of the Greek vote in the European elections. The electoral success of SYRIZA creates a new political environment. But the overthrow of the coalition government, the renunciation of the agreements with the troika and the EU and the reversal of austerity are tasks that far more complex than can be accomplished in a narrow electoral battle. Moreover, as it moves closer to potential power, SYRIZA’S leaders come under great pressure to compromise. What should the role of the left be in pushing this process leftward and developing a coherent political challenge from the left that can thwart the far right and offer real answers to the difficult questions facing the Greek people? (Sunday, 9:30 am, O’Hare II)

 

The Left in Europe Today and the fight against the fight

Charlotte Bence, Leandros Fischer, Penelope Duggan

The imposition of drastic austerity in Europe has eroded the legitimacy of the traditional mainstream parties. While it creates openings for the left, as shown by the recent electoral success of Podemos in Spain, it has also given rise to a resurgent far right, from Greece to Hungary, which uses populist nationalist rhetoric to gain a hearing. Join a discussion with socialists from Britain, Cyprus, and France on the challenges and opportunities facing the left in Europe today. (Saturday, 4 pm, O’Hare IV)

 

The Indian working class today

Snehal Shingavi

This talk will describe the effects of globalization and neoliberalism on the composition of the Indian working class and make the argument that the Indian working class has grown massively over the last twenty years. In opposition to certain popular theories (accumulation by dispossession, precarity) which argue that the working class is more or less irrelevant to social change and the accumulation of surplus value, this presentation will argue that the fundamental barrier to working class power in India is not the restructuring of capital but politics. (Haneda A&B)

 

South Africa’s unfinished revolution: Class struggle after Mandela

Aaron Amaral

The fall of Apartheid in 1994 was rightly hailed as a magnificent achievement of the Black struggle in South Africa. But since then, the African National Congress (ANC) has imposed neoliberal policies rather than fulfill the social policies expected by the masses of Africans that brought the ANC to power. This has created new social struggles, including the struggle of the Marikana miners, which the government drowned in blood, as workers and the poor begin to assert their independence from the ANC and embark in economic and political struggles to continue the process of liberation begun in 1994. The recent death of Nelson Mandela, the revered leader of the ANC, affords us an opportunity to assess the legacy of Mandela, the ANC today, and the prospects for class struggle in South Africa. (Saturday, 11:30 am, Sydney)

 

SPECIAL MEETINGS

 Glenn Greenwald speaks: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the U.S. surveil­lance state

In May 2013, Glenn Greenwald set out for Hong Kong to meet a source that claimed to have astonishing evidence of pervasive government spying and insisted on communicating only through heavily encrypted channels. That source turned out to be the 29-year-old NSA contractor Edward Snowden, and his revelations about the agency’s widespread, systemic overreach proved to be some of the most explosive and consequential news in recent history, triggering a fierce debate over national security and information privacy. As the arguments rage on and the government considers various proposals for reform, it is clear that we have yet to see the full impact of Snowden’s disclosures.

In April 2014, Greenwald and his colleagues at the Guardian received the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Don’t miss Greenwald speak in-person as he fits all the pieces together, recounting his high-intensity eleven-day trip to Hong Kong, examining the broader implications of the surveillance detailed in his reporting for The Guardian, and revealing fresh information on the NSA’s unprecedented abuse of power with never-before-seen documents entrusted to him by Snowden himself. (Thursday, 7:00 pm, O’Hare II,III,IV)

 

Imagine: Living in a socialist U.S.A.

Michael Smith, Bill Ayers, Debby Smith, Paul Le Blanc, Ron Reosti, Dianne Feeley, Arun Gupta, Bernadine Dohrn

The recently published book, Imagine: Living In a Socialist U.S.A., edited by Francis Goldin, Debby Smith, and Michael Steven Smith, is at once an indictment of American capitalism as the root cause of our spreading dystopia and a cri de coeur for what life could be like in the United States if we had economic as well as a real political democracy. This presentation will feature several speakers whose essays appeared in this important book. (Saturday, 4 pm, Love A)

 

The silenced majority: Stories of uprisings, occupations, resistance, and hope

Amy Goodman

With an introduction by Dave Zirin

In their 2012 book, The Silenced Majority, Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan provide a vivid record of the events, conflicts, and social movements shaping our society today. They give voice to ordinary people standing up to corporate and government power across the country and around the world. Their writing and daily work at the grassroots public TV/radio news hour Democracy Now!, carried on more than a thousand stations globally and at democracynow.org, casts in stark relief the stories of the silenced majority. These stories are set against the backdrop of the mainstream media’s abject failure, with its small circle of pundits who know so little about so much, attempting to explain the world to us and getting it so wrong. (Friday, 7:30 pm, O’Hare II)

 

A reading of a new play by Wallace Shawn

Acclaimed playwright and beloved actor Wallace Shawn has a unique ability to step back from the appearance of things to explore their deeper social meanings. With his distinctive humor and insight, Shawn invites us to look at the world with new eyes, the better to understand—and change it. Wallace Shawn is an Obie Award-winning playwright and a noted stage and screen actor (Star Trek, Gossip Girl, The Princess Bride, Toy Story). His plays The Designated Mourner and Marie and Bruce have recently been produced as films. He is co-author of the movie My Dinner with Andre and author of the plays The Fever, The Designated Mourner, Aunt Dan and Lemon, and Grasses of a Thousand Colours. We are pleased that he has decided to present a reading of one of his new plays at Socialism 2014. (Friday, 8 pm, Hyatt hotel, Heathrow A & B, 9300 Bryn Mawr Ave.)

 

A world to win: Marxism for the 21st Century

 Antonis Davanellos (Internationalist Workers’ Left—Greece), Ahmed Shawki (International Socialist Organization-US), and a leading socialist from Egypt. (Saturday, 7:30 pm, O’Hare II,III,IV)