ABC's of Socialism
Presenter: Nicole Aschoff, Editor of Jacobin Magazine
Jacobin magazine, in a few short years, has become a leading voice of the American left, offering socialist perspectives on politics, economics and culture. Dozens of Jacobin reading groups have sprung up, from Boston to Vienna and Manila. The journal is especially interested in the interests and needs of youth with a surging and renewed interest in socialism, an education hard to come by in a capitalist country.
Nicole Aschoff will present some basic ideas of socialism for the 21st century. Her presentation is based on her work at Jacobin and her recent book "New Prophets of Capital" which offers a critique of popular figures, such as Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates, who present solutions that reinforce the prevailing capitalist framework. Nicole will also preview the forthcoming Jacobin pamphlet, "ABCs of Socialism," which provides a brief synopses of core socialist ideas for people newly interested in an anti-capitalist worldview.
Feminism and Socialism
Presenter: Monica Poole, Bunker Hill Community College
This workshop takes an intersectional and interactive approach to engaging with feminism. Participants will be invited to reflect on and discuss their direct experiences through the lenses of anti-capitalist feminist scholarship. This will help each participant to contextualize their experiences both in relation to theory and in relation to the experiences of other participants. In addition, participants will work together to imagine feminisms suited to their collective and personal contexts. This workshop will be inclusive and mindful of feminism's connections to other forms of oppression. The feminist bodies of knowledge and ways of knowing that will be engaged in this workshop will address resistance not only to capitalist patriarchy, but also to other related forms of oppression and domination, such as white supremacy, homophobia, transmisogyny, and ableism.
Origins of Police
Presenter: Nino Brown, Mass Action Against Police Brutality
The conversation about police brutality and state sanctioned violence exploded in 2014 after the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri by officer Darren Wilson. In various cities across the nation people are organizing in the wake of the historic Ferguson rebellion that inspired a new wave of activists of all backgrounds, primarily the victims themselves, to get involved in fighting against police terror. As a new generation of activists engage with the issue of police terror, we must learn the history of the police as an institution in the leading imperialist country in the world, the USA, in order to become more clear about what we are up against, how we fight, and what we fight for. The origins of the police are rooted in white supremacy, patriarchy, and ultimately protecting the capitalist-imperialist class and system. Join this conversation and discussion about the origins of the police and get involved in the fight.
Secrets of a Successful Organizer
Presenters: Chris Brooks and Dan DiMaggio, Labor Notes
This will be an interactive workshop based on the new Labor Notes book, Secrets of a Successful Organizer. It will focus on teaching organizing skills, including some of the following:
What is Eco-Socialism?
Presenters: Chris Williams, System Change Not Climate Change and Keely Mullen, Socialist Alternative
This workshop will engage participants in the following four issues:
U.S. Imperialism: Past and Present
Presenter: Vijay Prashad, LeftWord Books
Take a look back at classical imperialism and its relationship to a monopoly stage of capitalism, and a look to the present where global commodity chains and intellectual property rights has transformed the socio-economic basis of imperialism - not to lessen it in any way, but to alter its surface characteristics.
AFTERNOON WORKSHOPS | 1:30PM - 2:20PM
Boston Socialist School
Presenters: Juliet Ucelli, a founder of the NY Marxist School/Brecht Forum, Duncan McFarland, Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, Casey Doyle, Center for Marxist Education, Suren Moodliar, Massachusetts Global Action
This workshop will develop the plans for a new Boston Socialist School, which will provide basic education in socialism, Marxist political economy and philosophy, imperialism, and history of the communist, socialist and people's movements and revolutions, as well as other radical and anti-capitalist thought. The school will offer classes on current political movements, skills training and embrace both traditional and popular education. Uniting theory and practice, education both informs the movement for social transformation and is rooted in activism and mass struggle. Participants will discuss the mission and vision, types of classes to be offered, potential locations, publicity strategies, and much more. This is a great opportunity to be part of something BIG!
Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution: Accomplishments and Prospects
Presenter: Jorge Marin, Venezuela Solidarity Committee and Boston Bolivarian Circle
This workshop will provide information about the achievements of the Bolivarian Revolution launched by Hugo Chavez: empowering people at the grassroots, social programs to fight poverty and international solidarity initiatives with Cuba and other countries. Chavez originated the concept, "21st century socialism" which has become influential among a younger generation of socialist activists.
Today, right wing elites backed by US militarism are trying to end the social revolution in Venezuela and set up a US-friendly, neoliberal regime. The workshop will update on the current situation and what people can do.
Red, Black and Queer
Presenter: Gerry Scoppettuolo, Workers World Party
The LGBT community has always been in the leadership of all social justice movements. Our visibility and capacity to be “out” and known (up to a point) is historically determined by material conditions, as anyone “in the life” and of a certain age can best attest to. Far less visible have been LGBT leaders in the class struggle who are and have been socialists and communists, Marxist/Leninists, and party members. Perhaps our greatest legacy and historical record has been in the movement of organized labor in the U.S. Just as remarkable have been the contributions of LGBT People of Color and the overall record of solidarity of our movements.
“Red, Black and Queer” is a documentary slideshow history of the LGBT Labor Movement, with a special emphasis on the role of the Coors Boycott in building that movement. Among the 110 slides are many rare documents and photographs gathered in over 30 years of research, much of it by the author as a participant observer in these events. This history also builds upon the pioneering historical work of Jonathan Katz, Leslie Feinberg and Alan Berube. With few exceptions LGBT leaders consciously applied socialist practice and driving passions to build the foundations of today’s LGBT Labor Movement, establishing a place in the AFL-CIO as Pride at Work, an official LGBT constituency group in the federation.
Today, socialists must deepen our knowledge of labor history and draw critical lessons and make analyses for current strategies to bring socialist understanding, racial and ethnic unity and theory into today’s labor struggles. In overcoming our oppression and fighting for our rights in unions, the LGBT community rested on an unambiguous class struggle approach to find our place. So should we all.
Health Care: The Crisis That Won't Go Away!
Presenter: Sandy Eaton, Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism
Health care is one of the two leading industries in Eastern Massachusetts. Socialists must understand this to work effectively within this large, diverse sector of our working class, with the unions struggling there and with communities this industry is said to serve. The basic contradiction of capitalism is especially sharp in health care. Private ownership versus social good. With communities of color and other working-class communities being stripped of services and facilities, the promises of healthcare "reform" on the state and national levels prove false. You still can get as much care as you can afford.
Socialism and the Elections
Presenters: Rand Wilson, Labor for Bernie and Howie Hawkins, Green Party of New York
The media is saturated with stories about the presidential elections, shaping how people think about politics. Yet the majority of working and oppressed peoples feel alienated by a process that is rigged to exclude their interests. Disaffection with establishment politics has led to a polarization in both left and right, boosting insurgent candidates. How can socialists intervene in elections to shape the debate in a better direction? Can electoral work introduce people to more radical ideas about democracy and connect people to popular struggles beyond election day?
In 2016 the Sanders campaign has caught fire especially among youth, who have no hesitation supporting a self-identified socialist. Green Party candidate Jill Stein is running on an appealing left agenda. What lies ahead?
Radical Organizing and Base-Building
Presenter: Steve Meacham, City Life/Vida Urbana
City Life describes its method as "radical organizing". Others have used the phrase "transformative organizing". This workshop looks at questions like:
Socialism or Social Democracy: What's the Difference?
Presenter: Chris Morale, International Socialist Organization
This workshop will aim to look at the difference between Socialism and Social Democracy from a historical and contemporary lens. The goal is to open up a discussion about which way forward for movements for socialism.