Political Economy

Description: 
From Eco villages and community land trusts to worm farms and worker co-ops, people all over LA, the country, and the world are coming together to reimagine economy from the ground up - from the dominant extractive, exploitative system currently in place to a regenerative system that values people and the planet. We are hoping to explore connections and make visible local initiatives. We invite you to bring your own passions, questions, talents and resources to explore ways we can come together to co-create the beautiful world we know is possible.
Description: 
In light of the fate of the Syrian Revolution, which has been crushed by the genocide carried out by Bashar al-Assad together with his Russian, Iranian, and Lebanese allies, there has debate in the global left about the meanings of imperialism and anti-imperialism, and the political implications these carry. Many authoritarians claiming leftism cross-over with the white-supremacist right's open support for the Assad Regime by denying its crimes and overlooking the imperialist role played by Russia and Iran in Syria, focusing exclusively on the U.S.'s supposed opposition to Assad's rule. This tendency is a worrisome development, suggestive as it is of a red-brown alliance (or axis) that is not consistently anti-imperialist but rather, only opposed to U.S. Imperialism. It also fails analytically to see how the U.S. has increasingly accommodated Assad's counter-revolution. In contrast to such approaches, participants on this panel will present anti-authoritarian class analyses of militarism and imperialism. Panelists will discuss the red-brown alliance (or axis) as recalling the “Holy Alliance” and fascism; the concept and reality of imperialism in the Middle East; the current wave of popular protests in Iran; left and right interpretations of geopolitics and political geography both historically and today; the lessons of the Bosnian genocide; and the tragedy of the Syrian Revolution.
Description: 
This panel will outline concrete steps to strengthen cohesion on the left. The presentation is based on a survey that gathered the ideas of experienced activists and organizational leaders about how progressives in Los Angeles could work together more effectively—toward social justice goals Activists and leaders in 43 wide-ranging progressive organizations voiced their views. The research indicated a critical need for a stronger ties to increase coalescence and success. Survey participants proposed a set of concrete programs to accomplish these aims: a newsletter for inter-organizational communication; more training opportunities for grassroots groups; a rapid response system for mobilizing for demonstrations and fast breaking events; a directory of progressive organizations; a common facility for meetings, events, and planning; and a mutual aid help line. These programs together would create a new infrastructure for a resilient left. Respondents felt that this initiative should not distract them from their current projects. They also thought that these programs should operate in a supportive rather than a directing way. The programs should enable participating organizations by boosting their capacity to carry out social action.
Location: 
LA
Description: 
Even in periods when the political forces necessary to begin building socialist societies do not yet exist, the careful envisioning of socialism -- methods of coordination, principles of decision making, exact plans to raise solidarian consciousness, increase meaningful participation and overcome long-existing divisions -- is hugely important. Thinking grandly, but also rigorously, about alternatives to capitalist polarization and crisis helps the 99% do what needs doing in the present. It is time we begin comparing, critiquing and aligning our visions of what a post-capitalist society can and should be. This panel is presented in conjunction with the appearance of a Special Issue of Science & Society: "Designing Socialism: Visions, Projections, Models," Vol. 76, No. 2, April 2012.
Location: 
LA
Description: 
The continuing capitalist crisis is stretching every thinner at the seams, providing the basis for simmering discontent, shifting political alignments. and popular upheavals. Amidst these processes, old alliances are broken, new bonds of solidarity form, and the matrix of possibilities for social change (both progressive and reactionary) have continued to multiply. This panel explores significant developments from a global perspective, focusing on cases in North America (Quebec), the Caribbean, Central America (Guatemala) and South America (Chile), each analyzing important interconnections that highlight different aspects of the current crisis.
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Location: 
LA
Description: 
This panel is inspired by the bicentennial of Karl Marx’s birth on May 5, 1818. On June 30, 2018, the NY Times published a column headlined: “The Millennial Socialists Are Coming.” Is “the spectre of communism [still] haunting” America and the world 200 years after Marx was born? Panelists representing different leftist parties and perspectives will tackle these questions and more. Speakers will explain their conceptions of what Marxism is and explore whether Marxism is still relevant 170 years after Marx and Engels wrote The Communist Manifesto. Is Marxism a Stalinist police state with a command economy and gulags? Or is Marxism a utopian pie-in-the-sky fantasy of a classless society? Is this just an outdated philosophy from 1848 that is no longer relevant in the 21st century? Or is Marxism a participatory, direct democracy of the workers, by the workers and for the workers? Is Marxism applicable in 2018? Come the revolution, how will Marxism impact on economics? Race? Gender? Class? Militarism? Endless war? Can Marxism solve inequality across the board and create an egalitarian social system? Is Marxism a workers’ paradise, “an association in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all,” where the golden rule is “from each according to their abilities to each according to their needs”?