U.S. Politics

Location: 
NYC
Description/Abstract of your Event: 
Has America always been capitalist? Today, the US sees itself as the heartland of the international capitalist system, its society and politics intertwined deeply with its economic system. This book panel and discussion looks at the history of North America from the founding of the colonies to debunk the myth that America is 'naturally' capitalist. From the first white-settler colonies, capitalist economic elements were apparent, but far from dominant, and did not drive the early colonial advance into the West. Society, too, was far from homogeneous - as the role of the state fluctuated. Racial identities took time to imprint, and slavery, whilst at the heart of American imperialism, took both capitalist and less-capitalist forms. Additionally, gender categories and relations were highly complex, as standards of ‘manhood’ and ‘womanhood’ shifted over time to accommodate capitalism, and as there were always some people challenging this binary. In this context, this panel will discuss these themes in the context of the publication of the recent book: How America Became Capitalist: Imperial Expansion and the Conquest of the West.
Location: 
NYC
Description/Abstract of your Event: 
The Black Agenda Report team will discuss "late stage" capitalism, the shrinking U.S. empire, and the dangers of a desperate ruling class on the wane.
Description/Abstract of your Event: 
How has President Trump been so successful for so long at maintaining extensive ultraright grassroots support? Speakers will examine the recently deceased neo-Nazi figure Lyndon LaRouche and how his legacy was adopted by the Trump movement, the ways in which a Red-Brown convergence strengthens Trump and how Polish nationalist anti-Semites have been challenged on the streets of New York City.
Description/Abstract of your Event: 
With the objective of sparking public debate before the 2020 presidential election, this panel will consider a direct action solution to the student debt crisis: Activists from four generations will discuss and envision the strategy of an organized student debt boycott, using our collective burden as leverage against the American ruling class, and global capitalism itself. Every day that we continue to perform the status quo is time that cannot be recovered; the struggle for human survival past this century demands that we act now, and when all else has failed, we must consider revolutionary action. Throughout history, there have been countless movements of working class people demanding the cancellation of usurious, unpayable debts to the ruling class, often accompanied by general strikes that disrupt everyday life. A movement of American students, graduates, and teachers, engaging in civil disobedience and honoring the ancient tactic of an organized debt strike, could change the power dynamics in the fights for student debt cancellation and universal free higher education, at the national and state levels. A student debt boycott could also help unite the multitude of intersecting movements for social justice in an intergenerational coalition that is not dependent on electoral politics to build power. For this strategy to be fairly considered, the American public must be made aware of what has been hidden in plain sight: For many years, the largest student loan servicing companies (Navient, Nelnet/Great Lakes, PHEAA) have been legally gambling with federal student loan debt, despite being under contract with the Department of Education. Just in the decade since 2009, a trillion dollars worth of federal student debt has accumulated; in the same time, the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rose from roughly 390 to 410 ppm (parts per million), a trend that will define the remainder of our lives. All the while, this immoral and unregulated loan servicing industry has issued billions of dollars in Student Loan Asset-Backed Securities (SLABS) every year, which are sold to investors and traded in speculative financial markets. Generations of Americans are being stifled by permanent indebtedness and a declining standard of living, but a small number of corporations and their CEOs are making extraordinary profits capitalizing on the high interest rates paid by student borrowers. Obscured by fake economics and bipartisan political corruption, a student loan default crisis looms in the near future, which will inevitably cause the collapse of the SLABS market, decades before these assets will reach their final maturity. In the pursuit of infinite wealth regardless of the human cost, capitalism has burdened students with unpayable debt, but also provided them the means to crash the system and disrupt business as usual. This panel will consider the notion that accelerating the default crisis to put direct financial pressure on the student loan industry may be both justified and necessary in order to force Congress to solve this crisis, liberate 44 million Americans from debt and empower them to transform society, and provide for the future security of American students.
Description/Abstract of your Event: 
The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) Legal Observer program was established 50 years ago in response to anti-war protests during the Vietnam era in defense of people swept up in mass arrests. The program is designed to enable people to express their political views as fully as possible without unconstitutional disruption or interference by the police and with the fewest possible consequences from the criminal justice system. In this training you’ll be guided through the Legal Observer Manual by an experienced Legal Observer instructor and Guild member. Please note: reading the manual alone does not constitute an official training. You will also learn how to become an official NLG Legal Observer.
Location: 
LA
Description/Abstract of your Event: 
First Daughter and the Black Snake” follows the efforts by Winona LaDuke, famed Native American environmentalist and executive director of Honor the Earth, in her battle—successful to this point—to stop development of several pipelines that would cut across Indian reservations in northern Minnesota, jeopardizing food and water sources for the Ojibwe tribes, while trampling treaties now a century and a half old. “First Daughter” was produced by award-winning photographer and filmmaker Keri Pickett, an award-winning American photographer, author and filmmaker whose work explores love, family and community. Keri will discuss the film after the showing.
Description/Abstract of your Event: 
2018 is the 50th Anniversary of 1968–the most decisive revolutionary year in during the Great Revolution of the Two Decades of the Sixties—1955-1975. In that year the Vietnamese National Liberation Front carried out a decisive political victory in its war against the U.S., Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated, urban rebellions rocked the U.S., president Lyndon Johnson refused to run for re-election under great national protests, students at Columbia University and the Paris student/worker rebellions shaped history. The Movement agreed the problem was “The System”, the Answer was “The Revolution” and the vehicle was “The Movement.” Today, U.S. society is disintegrating morally, economically, politically, ecologically, and spiritually. Black Lives Matter, The Dreamers, the Bernie/Warren Democrats, the Labor/Community Strategy Center and many other organizations are doing important work to fight the system but there is a need for more discussion about what is our strategy. Eric Mann will discuss “A Black/Latino/Third World United Front against the U.S. Imperialist White Settler State” as the strategy the Strategy Center is trying to carry out in its work in South L.A., Los Angeles, and the U.S. to shape grassroots organizing and movement building.
Description/Abstract of your Event: 
It has recently been observed that by 2040, 70 percent of Americans will live in 15 states and thus 30 percent of Americans will choose 70 senators. That 30 percent will be older, whiter, more male and more rural. We currently live in a situation where in recent US Senate elections, 15 million more voters cast ballots for Democrats, and yet the Republicans control the Senate, White House, and the power to place justices on the Supreme Court and fill the federal courts. The panel will discuss the ways in which the conservatives have maintained power despite their minority status. We will discuss how voting power is apportioned in the Senate, and how the right has been able to better maintain message discipline and focus on a few key issues to keep their base active and engaged, and whether there is any lessons progressives can learn from them. Reviewing the immigration policies also lays bare the fact that since it is a function of the executive branch, there has been little difference in many of the deportation policies of Obama and Trump. However, the latest moves by the Trump administration have the most impact in California, which has the highest number of undocumented residents, including dreamers. A review of immigration laws demonstrates that laws passed in the Clinton administration expanded the policies for deportation, including the purported crimes for which legal immigrants could be deported. The current group of Democrats in Washington show little desire to engage in political action with respect to immigration which is regarded of little value to the large swath of independent voters whose support Democrats need to increase their representation in Congress. As a result, the Democrats become complicit in minority rule policies. Thus the question arises as to how Californians, or other states, can assert their majority political rule in light of a dysfunctional federal electoral system. The federal system seems doomed to fail as the minority rule increases its grip over the majority, and one of the solutions may be for the citizens of California to reject the politics of both parties, and seek a way forward in ways that will seek to embrace and represent all of its residents, citizen and noncitizen alike, by refusing to accept minority rule and beginning to forge a path forward to its own independence.
Description/Abstract of your Event: 
The movement for true election integrity continues. This panel will discuss the efficacy of paper ballots and electronic voting machines, as well as voter registration problems and what can be done to protect our elections and end voter suppression. There will also be discussion related to the more than 100,000 voters removed from voter registration rolls in the primary election and what can be done to improve our elections. Additionally, panel members will discuss their respective campaigns and/or activism efforts to improve our Democracy as well as the importance of insuring true election integrity in order for the Progressive movement to succeed.
Description/Abstract of your Event: 
What is the relationship between spirituality and activism? What is the role of faith in politics? From abolition and the civil rights movement to anti-war activism and the Poor People’s Campaign, people of faith and their institutions have been at the forefront of social change. Concern for the earth and the welfare of humanity is at the heart of an aware and mature spirituality. Even Christians are discovering God’s cry for justice in the Bible. This panel will discuss the legal, ideological, ethical, and practical implications of spiritual and religious activism.