Education

Description/Abstract of your Event: 
My Mis-Education in 3 Graphics documents the filmmaker’s darkly humorous journey through the mind-boggling constructs of mainstream economics. Critics offer some clear-sighted alternatives to the dominating economists' beliefs and models. The film is a visually fun satire deconstructing the current orthodox version of "the dismal science". Filmed introductory economics course lectures and interviews with economists reveal the enormous rift between the economic textbook models and the filmmaker’s and other critics’ understandings of economic reality. The first part of the film explores how mainstream economics (mis)represents markets, the next is a presentation of their befuddling model of the firm, and the final section, on macroeconomics, points to some of the major issues hidden by the models: financial debt’s contribution to inequality, and the unaccounted for destruction of the natural world. Mainstream economists such as N.Gregory Mankiw, George Borts, Timothy Taylor, and Lawrence Summers are critiqued by Herman Daly, Michael Hudson, Randall Wray, Richard McIntyre, Richard and Max Wolff, Robert Pollin, Nancy Holmstrom, Richard Smith, Costas Panayotakis, Doug Henwood, John Foster, Susan Feiner, and Stephen Marglin.
Description/Abstract of your Event: 
Theater of the Oppressed (TO) is a methodology and set of techniques that has its origins in the political and cultural liberation struggles that developed in Brazil during the 1950s and 1960s. It was founded by the late Augusto Boal (1931-2009) in the early 1970s, and since then has been used around the world by activists and organizers fighting against oppression in all its forms as a tool to help mobilize communities in struggle. Conceived and practiced as a martial art, TO is rooted in a popular education model of theater; its original objective is to transfer the “means of production of the theater” to people fighting to change power relations at all levels of society. In the United States context, TO has been successfully applied in immigrant rights organizing, in anti-racism education, in community leadership training, and in many other projects and endeavors that are striving for social justice and radical anti-capitalist change. Founded in 1990 with the support of the Brecht Forum/New York Marxist School, the Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB) is the oldest group in the US offering TO facilitation training. In this workshop, the presenters—all long-time TO practitioners—will teach some of the basic TO games and exercises, in which participants will explore how they and the communities and constituencies with whom they work can apply TO techniques to build solidarity, a sense of community, and a greater level of engagement with people who are actively working for social transformation. TOPLAB has offered annual workshops at the Socialist Scholars Conference and the Left Forum since the early 1990s. Request: Two 110-minute back-to-back sessions. This has been TOPLAB's workshop format for many years. The same workshop will be offered twice.
Description/Abstract of your Event: 
Our vision of Freedom Dreaming: A Call to Imagine envisions a world without racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, classism, etc. We recognize the impact that these multiple and intersecting structures of oppression can negatively have on individuals lives. We believe in elevating the voices of those from marginalized communities who experience oppression in order to call attention these inequalities. Inspired by Robin Kelley's "Freedom Dreams" we have created a platform, teaching materials, and structured workshops aimed at producing a communal vision for freedom through the radical imaginary. We aim to build empowerment through fostering safe spaces online, and networking like-minded marginalized folks together. If given the opportunity, Left Forum is an incredible platform to extend our reach in extending our mission and inspiring youth to express their thoughts without the fear of being silenced. Furthermore, we hope to inspire individuals to take action against these injustices by recognizing them to move towards a more just and free society. As the dreams of freedom continue this digital campaign builds on the community program that came before. Visitors to the workshop are encouraged to create, reflect, and engage with fellow dreamers in a supportive and creative environment both physically and digitally. This workshop will engage with the concept of Freedom Dreaming from multiple angles, including visual art, sound, and personal reflection to demonstrate the numerous ways in which one can Freedom Dream and what that might look like in a classroom setting and beyond. Our goal is for all participants to leave with at least one personal and communal Freedom Dream as well as connections, resources, and action steps to move their dreams forward.
Location: 
NYC
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Description/Abstract of your Event: 
In this session, we will examine race and racism in education in three related contexts. The first presentation will focus on lessons that have helped middle-school students recognize and move beyond racist stereotypes. The second presentation will highlight work that helps students in Master’s programs connect their ideas about race and social justice to their understanding of language and literacy pedagogy. The third presentation will examine the ways in which the structure of higher education itself is racist, seen here in its erasing of people of color and the privileging of whiteness. A key goal of this session is to move beyond isolated critiques of racist educational practices towards a more holistic view of the systemic nature of racism in education. In turn, this will allow for more cross-level alliance building.
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Location: 
NYC
Description/Abstract of your Event: 
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.
Description/Abstract of your Event: 
Despite moments of strong and broad solidarity since the 2008 crisis -- including the Occupy movement and the 2016 Sanders campaign that demonstrate wide-spread public support for leftist goals -- the Left has been increasingly portrayed in popular podcasts as a hypocritical, remote, humorless, arrogant mire of divisions. Generation Z, distrustful both of mainstream media propaganda and of political correctness and the call-out culture, looks to the Intellectual Dark Web for unfiltered political discussion, where the Left is scarcely represented and where the extreme right has full play along with distractive conspiracy theories. How should the Left educate the public in its goals and ideas, appeal to the college-age generation in the face of the seductions of IDW anti-Left web media, and organize that broad public into a strong, lasting and successful movement?
Location: 
NYC
Description/Abstract of your Event: 
Race, Class, Gender, and the University: Struggles within and beyond the Campus Walls The university under capitalism is a site of political unevenness and contradiction. While academia promotes an image of impartiality and liberality in terms of viewpoints, scholarship, and diversity, those who don’t adhere to the restricted parameters of institutionalized “neutrality” are often marginalized, slandered, and sometimes dismissed. Indeed, as Steven Salaita argues, “disinterest and objectivity” are more often aligned with ruling powers both within and outside the walls of the academy. While identitarian positioning is often encouraged, solidarity that challenges systems of racial and gendered oppression or that exposes the symbiotic relationships between academic knowledge-production and imperialism are systematically repressed. At this same time, the university--perhaps especially our austerity-prone public universities, which often serve 'majority minority' and working-class students-- still can provide fertile ground for radical thinking and new social connections with the potential to resist hegemonic capitalist regimes of 'divide and rule.' Accordingly, this panel seeks to discuss the intersections of race, class, and gender struggles that challenge the status-quo politics within the university, or that use the base of the university to challenge capitalism and imperialism beyond the campus walls. While we intend to address some of the limits of critique offered by institutionalized identity politics, primarily this panel will offer first-hand accounts and theorization of alternative models for radical social justice organizing within the university space, with a view towards building resistance beyond the confines of campus-oriented politics.
Description/Abstract of your Event: 
Jazz and Self Determination 4 is the continuation of discussions focused on the socio-political components within the Jazz idiom. The free jazz movement of the 1960's and 70's are the primary focus with the primaries of this activity providing the narrative. The first installment premiered at Left Forum 2018 and the second took place at The People's Forum, March 10, 2019. The topics include: formations of collectives, independent record labels, underground festivals, gender, working conditions for musicians and the black arts movement. Althea SullyCole is the co host as occurred on Left Forum 2018. The panelists include: Greg Tate, Basir Mchawi, Ahmed Abdullah, Ted Daniel, Jeremiah Hosea and William Parker.
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.
Location: 
NYC
Description/Abstract of your Event: 
This year, in contrast to the 2018 “red state” teacher revolt, strikes in Los Angeles and Oakland confronted Democratic Party bosses and rulers at every level. The strikes were militant and massive, with broad working-class community support. But the union bureaucracies, chained to the Democrats, rammed through settlements that betrayed the struggle to stop the spread of charter schools, the drive to privatize and sharply reduce class size. Class Struggle Education Workers campaigned to mobilize workers’ power – shut down the ports! – to win the strikes. In New York, an ongoing fight against adjunct poverty at CUNY poses broader issues of linking the fight to defend public education to class struggle in the center of finance capital. The key: ousting the pro-capitalist bureaucrats, breaking with the Democrats and forging a class struggle leadership. As Leon Trotsky wrote, “The independence of trade unions in the class sense, in their relations to the bourgeois state, can, in the present conditions, be assured only by a completely revolutionary leadership.”