Greens to participate in the 2019 LeftForum
The Green Party of New York recognizes the passing of comrade Bruce Dixon of the Georgia Green Party and Black Agenda Report. We ask that you keep Bruce and his family in your thoughts this weekend. Bruce passed just as this conference opened and we decided to keep his planned panels in this guide as a way to express how his contributions will be missed.
Bruce Dixon, Presente!
The 2019 LeftForum will take place this coming weekend, June 28 – 30 at Long Island University in Brooklyn. The forum will take place at One University Plaza, Brooklyn, NY. The full program can be viewed here. This year's theme is "What Is Left To Be Done?"
Once again, many of the workshops will feature Green Party members. Below is list of workshops featuring Green activists and candidates, past and present, with their names in bold.
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.
with Glen Ford, Nellie Hester Bailey, Raymond Nat Turner, Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, Danny Haiphong, Bruce Dixon and Margaret Kimberley
The Green New Deal resolution proposed in Congress is in the national spotlight but it is a list of aspirations, not a real plan. This panel will look at what a real plan should entail. What will it cost, and where will the funds come from, for a Green New Deal that enacts an Economic Bill of Rights to jobs, income, housing, health care, and education and a Green Economy Reconstruction Program that converts all sectors of production, not just electric power production, to 100% clean energy and sustainability over the next decade or two? The speakers will present the budget for a Green New Deal of this scale. They will also make the case that this program will require substantial demilitarization of the economy, social ownership of key industries, and a democratic economic planning structure to coordinate the ecological conversion of all sectors of production.
With Howie Hawkins, Gloria Mattera, Pramilla Malick, Jonathan Runn and Brian D'Agostino
How the US tried to undermine the Soviet Union when it existed and how it is trying to undermine the Russian Federation today. The panelists will discuss and critique political and ideological falsehoods and fabrications in the continuing Cold War waged by the U.S. and NATO against Russia--both historical anti-communism and the more intense lies in the current antagonism in the US drive for global hegemony.
with Maria Zakharova, Martin J Sawma, Angelo D'Angelo, Prof. Grover Furr and Joe Lombardo
This panel will review and discuss the economics and political background leading to the decline and fall of the US empire.
with David W Schwartzman, Bahram Zandi and Alexander Buzgalin
Exploration and Exposure of the various way in which Black and Indigenous Women and Girl are targeted by political, social, health, education, economic, judicial and cultural sector of society in ways deigned to oppress, isolate and destroy.
with Katie Stoqua, Sandra Rivers, Anilimars Martian, Betty Davis, Lyn Spivey, Cyndi Ashley, Gloria Ellis and Colia L Clark
In the United States and elsewhere, socialist candidates have seen more electoral success when running outside of the simple plurality, winner-take-all voting system that corrals voters and movements into "lesser of two evils" thinking. Ranked Choice Voting and Proportional Representation are key election reforms that will help pry open the duopolistic control of the Democratic and Republican parties' cartel and facilitate more representation from under-represented communities. This panel will make the argument that, no matter what party socialists choose to run in now, fighting for and winning these reforms will grant The Left more room to maneuver and greater electoral success -- making it an essential project for those serious about political revolution. Recent fights and victories around RCV and voting reform will be analyzed, along with how to apply their lessons in local organizing.
with Michael O'Neil, David Cobb and Gloria Mattera
Many on the left are saying the Green Party should not run a presidential candidate in 2020 because the left should unite behind the Democratic nominee in order to beat Trump. The Green Party is saying the left can’t wait until 2020 to raise solutions the two capitalist parties ignore for the climate emergency, the new nuclear arms race, extreme inequality, and other pressing problems. The speakers will address these positions and discuss what it will take, sooner or later, to build an independent party of the left.
with Howie Hawkins, Bruce Dixon and Margaret Kimberley
Blocking U.S. imperialism’s regime change agenda focused on Venezuela and Iran should be a priority for the left. Our panel will discuss both the historical context for this threat and the critical relevancy to the global anti-imperialist/climate and energy justice movements. The debate in the left regarding Maduro and the course of the Bolivarian Revolution is secondary, on one side is Trump/Pompeo/Bolton/Elliot Abrams (the war criminal from the Reagan era) and their appointed "president" Guaido, on the other side is the right of self-determination of Venezuela free of criminal imperial aggression/economic warfare/sanctions and the continuing threat of armed intervention. We should note U.S. involvement in the 2002 failed coup. Considering Iran, the sordid history of U.S. intervention goes back to the 1953 CIA-instigated coup removing Mossadegh. Now Iran is once again a target of regime change, with the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear agreement and imposing new sanctions raising the danger of a reprise of the catastrophic Iraq war. Militarized fossil capital wants control of the world’s biggest oil reserve found in Venezuela’s Orinoco deposit and likewise the fourth largest reserve in Iran. Extracting this oil will drive us to catastrophic climate change (C3). Only by blocking the imperial agenda will the ecosocialist-inspired Bolivarian Revolution have the chance to use a small fraction of its conventional oil reserve as an energy supply for solarization of Latin America, as well as a revenue source for its social transformation, thereby creating a model for a cooperative global regime for preventing C3.
with David W Schwartzman, Bahram Zandi and Jane Zara
Reparations for the descendants of enslaved Africans is a topic on the lips of many these days, Bruce Dixon, Aasentewa Nkrumah Ture and Pascal Robert will present a set of unorthodox and challenging views of the history of reparationist discourse, and the deployment and uses of reparationist discourse at the present juncture.
with Pascal Robert, Asantewaa Nkrumah-Ture and Bruce Dixon
Referred to during the election campaign as “the shame of our state,” the non-unanimous jury scheme will no longer be used in Louisiana courts, but it was not applied retroactively. So the approximately 2,000 people serving 10-2 sentences will die in prison unless the law can “get all the way right,” as these writers advocate. The state is not cooperating and is sealing all jury polling records to hide the truth of the Black lives unjustly taken and still incarcerated by the non-unanimous jury scheme. Until Louisiana’s state Constitution was amended in the November 2018 election, Louisiana was the only state in the union where a person could be condemned to a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole by a non-unanimous jury vote of 10 out of 12 jurors voting to convict – also known as a 10-2 verdict. This practice not only undermines justice by violating the standard of proof of beyond reasonable doubt, which accounts for Louisiana being a leading state in exonerations, but its origin is a direct iolation of our guaranteed 14th Amendment right to equal protection of law under the United States Constitution. The purpose of the “non-unanimous jury scheme” was for white Louisianians to silence and render African Americans powerless in the judicial process. The basis of their ideology was that African Americans were an ignorant people who should be subservient to whites. nitially, the law allowed for two Blacks to sit on a jury, but to ensure their vote would not count, it required only nine of 12 jurors to convict. At the 1972 Constitutional Convention, to resolve some disagreements about the old law, a compromise was reached that 10 out of 12 jurors could still find guilt. Since slavery was abolished and only two African Americans were allowed on juries, the non-unanimous jury scheme would legally allow for the reintroduction of slavery by assuring convictions for Blacks, while guaranteeing no convictions for whites. Initially, the law allowed for two Blacks to sit on a jury, but to ensure their vote ...the “mission” had been to “establish the supremacy of the white race in this state.” Louisiana’s long standing practice of judicial racial discrimination is a statement that Black lives don’t matter in the State of Louisiana. When the issue of the non-unanimous jury scheme was brought before the legislative committee in early 2018, one of the white members of the District Attorney’s Association stated, “It is what it is!” That statement angered some Black representatives; however, in the same fashion, this is exactly what those representatives said to the many people still incarcerated by the non-unanimous jury scheme, when they rewrote the law. In other words, slavery is no longer legal in the state of Louisiana but you can still keep the slaves that you already have. So the new law won’t apply to those already incarcerated whose appeal processes have been finalized. The illusion of white supremacy is rooted so deep in the state of Louisiana that even today’s Black reformers – advocates and lawmakers – would rather tap dance around an issue before they can summon the courage to stand firm and uphold the truth about African American struggles. The 10-2 issue is about more than just the non-unanimous jury scheme. It also encompasses a wide range of racially discriminatory practices that target African Americans in the state. Rather than talk reparations, by changing the law, state officials are acting as if no harm was done. To further add insult to injury, the courts are now sealing all jury polling records to hide the truth of all the Black lives unjustly taken and still incarcerated by the non-unanimous jury scheme. Now, representing the lead case in a class action civil rights violation against the state of Louisiana is Rev. Errol Victor Sr. A recent press release by the “Burning Bush” editorial reads as follows: “One thousand African American prisoners of Louisiana State Penitentiary are expected to join together in the removal and habeas in the United States Eastern District Federal Court in New Orleans, Case No. 18-10537, Rev. Errol Victor Sr., L.S., v. State of Louisiana. Rev. Victor avers that these prisoners are African American descendants who have been denied rights that arise under federal law providing for specific civil rights stated in terms of racial equality. ...“This is the last stance and second civil rights movement,” declares Rev. Victor. “The criminal justice system and law enforcement – the prison system – is the last racial stronghold in America that African Americans and people of color have to break the yoke and overcome before truly abolishing slavery and finally accomplishing the goal of complete human dignity, independence and equality.” UPDATE: Another 230 African American Louisiana state prisoners have joined, bringing the bringing the total to date to 461 and counting.
with Mimi Rosenberg, Lloyd Kelly, Belinda P Brown and Betty Davis
After the success of the No Trump Military Parade coalition our collective of anti-war/peace activists decided to continue to work together under the auspices of the Peace Congress, (whose unifying principles are: 1. End U.S. Wars at Home and Abroad 2. Create a peace economy that meets the necessities of people and protects the planet 3. Respect the self-determination of all people and nations 4. Create transformative change by building a movement of movements.) with a focus on current political environments, changes in power around the world, and identifying obstacles & opportunities, with the consented objective of building an inclusive Peace Movement, with the understanding to be successful we must work in concert to End the U.S. Wars at Home and Abroad.
with Kevin Zeese, Diane Moxley, Joe Lombardo, Margaret Flowers and Jan R Weinberg
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.
with Jill Stein, Henry Williams, David Oks, Alan Collinge, Eli J Campbell and Daniella Medina
A spectre is haunting the USA: the first strike wave in over four neoliberal decades. West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, Los Angeles, and Oakland teachers have walked off their jobs and shut down schools to demand better pay, more funding for students, a reversal of privatization, and an end to years of austerity. More recently, slowdowns and a threatened strike by flight attendants and airport screeners ended the government shutdown. Join us for a conversation about the lessons and prospects of this historic upsurge for educators, unionists, and radicals.
with Ryan Bruckenthal, Eric Blanc and Jia Lee
The New York left took two roads on 2018. One road inside the Democratic Party focused on Cynthia Nixon’s primary against Governor Cuomo and primary challenges to the Independent Democratic Conference. Nixon lost but most of the IDC primary challengers won. The other road was the independent left campaigns of the Green Party. None of the Greens won their elections. What happened during the elections? What objectives set by each road were achieved and not achieved? How did the media cover and frame the election, particularly candidates on the left? What impact did these elections have on the 2019 state budget and legislative session? What lessons can be learned for next steps by the New York left?
The legendary Black Panther & National Welfare Rights Activist Rev Annie (Rogers) Chambers sits down with Diane Pagen of Basic Income Action and Basic Income NYC to discuss how a Universal Basic Income Guarantee would affect the Welfare Recipient Community and change the broader landscape of what it means to have welfare in the USA. Now 77 years old and a Public Housing HUD RAB Delegate, Annie Chambers is working to revitalize National Welfare Rights across the country as it seeks to empower the poor & working class while working with organizations such as the Poor People's Campaign. Diane Pagen is nationally known for her research into waste and abuse in the welfare system as well as being a practicing social worker. Ian Schlakman, a co-founder of Basic Income Action and organizer with the newly revived National Welfare Rights will moderate the conversation as we identify the historic conflicts between the Basic Income community and the Welfare Advocates and how the two communities can move forward to advance the agenda of the poor and working class. Topics will include historical accounts about the organizing style of National Welfare Rights including protests in welfare offices and direct confrontation with anti-poor elitist politicians, the Johnnie Tillmon Method of Organizing and then move to the modern struggle of National Welfare Rights advocating for a Basic Income within their important role in the Poor People's march on Washington last year. Visuals of historic National Welfare Rights moments will be presented along with infographics about our current welfare programs. Q&A with the audience will follow the main discussion.
with Diane Pagen, Reverend Annie Chambers and Ian Schlakman
The panel will be made up of members of the peace and solidarity delegation that recently returned from Venezuela. The will speak on the Bolivarian Revolution, the US attempts to overturn it and the mobilization of the population to defend their process
with Willam Camacaro, Kevin Zeese, Sara Flounders, Bahman Azad and Joe Lombardo
Twenty years after the so-called “Battle in Seattle” and the millennial turn, we examine 1990s-2010s and current periods of struggle in the United States. We will provide accounts and analyses of the popular movements of this period and the different frameworks informing these mobilizations. Our interest is fueled by a need to understand the continuities and discontinuities between those movements and contemporary ones, especially those confronting our readily discernable existential threats and extreme social inequality.
with Victor Wallis, Suren Moodliar, Ben Manski and Hillary Lazar
The NEED Act (the National Emergency Employment Defense Act, 2011) is a bill proposing to replace the current Federal Reserve system and its bank-created money. This new U.S. Money will be authorized by the people's representatives in Congress, as our Constitution directs. This U.S. Money will be issued exclusively by the U.S. Treasury. This fundamental, TOTAL change can take power away from multinational banks and corporations, and deliver it to the people. Instead of serving a tiny, privileged minority, the NEED Act can empower our democracy to create full employment, universal health insurance, solid infrastructure, tuition-free college education, and all the basic needs of our nation.
with Barbara Simpson, Jerry Kann and Sue Peters
This workshop will be a robust and engaging discussion, an anti-capitalist approach to poverty and related issues such as: * the status of poverty in the U.S. today; money for war, but not human needs, * the lack of affordable housing, gentrification, homeless shelters and the role of public housing authorities in the spread of gentrification, * health care, health insurance, the opioid drug crisis, etc. * the role of the nonprofit industrial complex, foundations and official corruption in the worsening of poverty; public policies that cause more harm, * actions steps; building a mass movement to organize and fight back and the vital necessity of a Poor People's Army and its training institute, The Boot Camp. The chair will open the workshop with greetings and will explain the purpose of the a workshop. Each of the five panelists will speak for 8 minutes, allowing plenty of quality time to have a great discussion with the audience. There will be three different kinds of hand outs and a sign in sheet to stay in contact with members of the audience after the conference is over.
with Nick Carmack, Tanya Curry, Asantewaa Nkrumah-Ture, Alison Hawver McDowell, Alison Hawver McDowell, Alison Hawver McDowell and Cheri Honkala