Building Independent Power and Organizations Room 36-153
Moderated by Mary Jo Connelley and Freedom Road Socialist Organization/Organicion Socialista del Camino para la Libertad.
Mary Jo is a member of the FRSO national executive committee.
We will engage in dialogue with BSUP participants about revolutionary strategies to beat the rising right wing. We will share FRSO's analysis of the New Confederacy as the main enemy; do some mapping of the US left; and consider the possibilities in Massachusetts for Independent Political Organizations to unite our movements and build power to defeat the right.
This workshop will share Freedom Road's perspective on the centrality of the New Confederacy, which, like the first confederacy, is rooted in the most reactionary, racist, imperialist and anti-democratic forces in the country. We will talk about the New Confederacy’s state-based strategy, and the potential for state-focused independent political organizations (IPOs) to unite the left in building political power and a strategy for socialism. This is a strategy that FRSO/OSCL is developing on the ground in the US South and which we are excited about learning from and working with others to work out in the Massachusetts ‘blue state’ context.
We will draw out some strategic questions:
• "inside/outside" strategies for political power: strategies that can operate both inside and outside the political arena, as strategies that can operate both inside and outside the Democratic party;
• united front strategies that can develop the strategic alliance of the working class and the national liberation movements, and which can uphold the political leadership of working class people of color and women
• progressive and tactical alliances
Finally, workshop participants will do some mapping of the social movement and party left as we consider the reality and potential for IPOs to be a useful vehicle and strategy in Massachusetts.
Cultivating True Warriors Room 36-156
Presenter: Sherri Mitchell, Indigenous and Human Rights Activist
The workshop will explore in depth the themes presented in Sherri Mitchell's plenary speech.
Sherri Mitchell is a member of the Penobscot Indian Nation. She received her Juris Doctorate and a certificate in Indigenous People’s Law and Policy from the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law.
Sherri was a longtime advisor to the American Indian Institute’s Healing the Future Program and currently serves as an advisor to the Indigenous Elders and Medicine People’s Council of North and South America.
She is the Director of the Land Peace Foundation and the co-host of "Love (and revolution) Radio". Her new book Sacred Instructions; The Heart of Spirit Based Change will be in print in September of 2017.
Capitalism in Education: Why It's Wrong & How to Fix It Room 36-155
Presenter: Aubrey Adrianson, member of Socialist Party, Boston
The presentation will cover three major areas:
1) The damage caused by capitalism to education,
2) What socialist education system could look like, and
3) How to change our education system now.
This workshop will start with
- why we should care about education,
- the dangers of privatized education and the House Bill 610, and
- why capitalist ideas regarding how schools should be run are damaging to the overall goal of education.
Next, the presentation would cover a possible model for education using socialist principals. Last, we will cover how to make changes in the education system now. If time permits, we will have a focused discussion about resistance and agitation and its role in changing education.
Creating An Ecosocialist Society: learning from nature
Edgerton Hall (Room 34-101)
Presenter: Fred Magdoff, Emeritus Professor of Plant and Soil Science at the University of Vermont. His interests range from soil science to agriculture and food to the environment to the US economy. His research at UVM was on ecologically sound ways to improve soil fertility, especially focusing on the critical role of soil organic matter.
The workshop will explore in depth the themes presented in Prof. Magdoff's plenary speech.
Fred Magdoff's forthcoming book to be published in 2017 is entitled, Creating an Ecological Society: Toward a Revolutionary Transformation. Previous works include What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know about Capitalism (2011), and with John Bellamy Foster, The Great Financial Crisis: Causes and Consequences (2009). His interests range from soil science to agriculture and food to the environment to the US economy. His research at UVM was on ecologically sound ways to improve soil fertility, especially focusing on the critical role of soil organic matter. He is the co-author of the third edition of Building Crops For Better Soil: Sustainable Soil Management (2010) as well as a number of other books on agriculture and on the US economy. He has also written numerous articles on environmental issues, including on ecological agriculture, production and use of biofuels, ecological civilization, population and global resource depletion, and the environmental and social problems of capitalist agriculture.
The 2006 May Day General Strike & the Migrant Solidarity Movement Today Room 36-144
Presenters: Sergio Reyes and John Harris
Lessons will be drawn from the 2006 May Day General Strike in the effort to build a mass social movement in solidarity with migrant workers today. The workshop will be hosted by active organizers in the May Day General Strike. They will describe the mass mobilizations of 2006 against the criminalization of migrant workers, culminating in the general strike and its aftermath. The workshop will take up developments since the strike and discuss a strategic and tactical orientation that can advance the movement today
Sergio Reyes came to the U.S. as an exile in 1976, after 3 years in Pinochet's prisons. Since then he has worked to oust the civilian-military in Chile, Latinos for Social Change, solidarity with struggles in Puerto Rico, and the Americas. He has worked for migrants right, and currently for the US Venezuela Solidarity Committee and the Sacco and Vanzetti Commemoration Society.
John Harris is an organizer with the Boston May Day Coalition. He was a co-founder of the Greater Boston Stop the Wars Coalition and was the coordinator of the Iraq War Veterans Tour.
AFTERNOON WORKSHOPS | 2:30PM - 3:50PM
Media Relations for Left Activists Room 36-153
Moderated by Jason Pramas, and sponsored by the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism
Goal: Through an open discussion with an experienced socialist journalist, attendees will get a better idea of how to attract more press coverage to their political events and actions.
This practical workshop will take the form of an open discussion around one common problem often faced by political activists on the broad oppositional left. Let's say you're running an event or action, and you want the broadest possible coverage in the news media - in hopes of attracting the general public to attend. How would you go about doing that? Let's talk!
The Explosion of Deferred Dreams: Musical Renaissance and Social Revolution in San Francisco, 1965-1975 Room 36-112
Presenter: Mat Callahan - Author, activist and musician
As the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love floods the media with debates and celebrations of music, political movements, 'flower power', 'acid rock' and 'hippies,' The Explosion of Deferred Dreams offers a critical re-examination of the interwoven political and musical happenings in San Francisco in the '60s. Author, musician and native San Franciscan Mat Callahan explores the dynamic links between the Black Panthers and Sly and the Family Stone, the United Farm Workers and Santana, the Indian Occupation of Alcatraz and the San Francisco Mime Troupe, and the New Left and the counterculture.
Student Organizing: A Socialist Perspective Room 36-144
Presenters: Husayn Karimi & Lev Kendrick (MIT Student Activist Coalition) and Rachel Silang & Sapphira Lurie (Fordham University)
Learn about the struggles about forming left student groups and the tasks of socialist youth. The workshop is focused on student organizing; it will present a scientific socialist perspective on the current student movement both nationally and locally. Historically, students have been among the most active participants in mass movements of the Left, the Vietnam-era peace movement being the most prominent in recent memory. Such enthusiasm can only be improved by acute, disciplined socialist practice. With spontaneous protests erupting on campuses across the country in response to the Trump administration’s reactionary politics, the workshop will focus on key areas of student organizing work: campus labor solidarity, anti-gentrification work, and anti-imperialist agitation. Students are strategically well-placed for struggle in these areas, using tactics suited to the particularities of student organizing. Throughout, we will emphasize the need for student movements to be in dialogue and solidarity with the broader people’s movement, a necessity ultimately rooted in a Marxist conception of student organizing struggles. We will lean towards focusing on Boston student organizing, but may draw examples from a national scale, and may convey our argument by means of historical examples.
Organizing for the Millions for Prisoners Room 36-156
Presenter: Eugene Puryear
Eugene Puryear is a founding member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation and an organizer with the ANSWER coalition
The Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March was called out of the necessity to unite the various resurgent movements against police terror, mass incarceration, and white supremacy. The main aim for the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March is to demand an end to legalized slavery and abolish the clause in the 13th amendment that upholds legalized slavery among many other social ills. We seek to unite the formerly incarcerated, their family members, victims of police terror, and anti-racists to take aim at one of the last vestiges of Jim Crow. The march takes place on Saturday, Aug. 19 in Washington DC.
Repeal, Replace, Revolt: Socialists on Single Payer Room 36-155
Presenter: Sandy Eaton
Goal: To expand the fight to create a just healthcare system embedded in a just society, building on the four pillars of such a system: access, affordability, quality and equality.
Sandy Eaton, a member of CCDS (Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism) and a lifelong hospital worker, is currently active with Mass-Care and represents the Massachusetts Nurses Association on the Labor Campaign for Single Payer steering committee. He co-edits the Health Justice for Boston/Salud con Justicia para Boston newsletter.
At this moment, everyone’s access to affordable, high-quality health care is at risk. Threats from the Congressional majority and the new president to repeal the Affordable Care Act lead to the question: What comes next? Even with the ACA marketplace approach, twenty million lack insurance coverage, medical debt remains the leading cause of bankruptcy, and whole communities are losing needed services and facilities. This is especially true in working-class communities, particularly communities of color, and among women, immigrants and the LGBT community. The resistance to cutbacks has ballooned, and the fight for a single-payer replacement has never been deeper. How did we get this way? What forces are at play locally, nationally and globally to beat back the neoliberal assault on the working class and to create healthcare justice? January’s National Single Payer Strategy Conference convened under the theme: Going on offense while playing defense. What special insights and responsibilities do socialists have within this burgeoning movement?
Dogs of War: Syria, Korea and US Imperialism,
Edgerton Hall (Room 34-101)
Presenter: Vijay Prashad
Current burning issues of war and peace will be discussed.
Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian, journalist, commentator and a Marxist intellectual. He is the George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian History and Professor of International Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. In 2013–2014, he was the Edward Said Chair at the American University of Beirut.
Prashad is the author of The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution (2016). In 2012, he published five books, including Arab Spring, Libyan Winter (AK Press) and Uncle Swami: South Asians in America Today (The New Press). His book The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World (2007) was chosen as the Best Nonfiction book by the Asian American Writers' Workshop in 2008 and it won the Muzaffar Ahmed Book Award in 2009. In 2013, Verso published his The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South. He is author of No Free Left: The Futures of Indian Communism (LeftWord Books, 2015) and the editor of Letters to Palestine (Verso Books, 2015), a book that includes the writings of Teju Cole, Sinan Antoon, Noura Erakat, and Junot Diaz.
Prashad is also a journalist. He writes regularly for Frontline, The Hindu, Alternet and BirGun, and is a contributing editor for Himal Southasian. He usually writes on the Middle Eastern politics, development economics, North-South relations and current events.
In 2015, Prashad joined as the Chief Editor of the New Delhi-based publisher LeftWord Books. He is also an advisory board member of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, part of the global BDS movement.