Each spring the Left Forum convenes the largest progressive gathering in North America in a rambling, lively confab unseen anywhere else in the US. Established in 1981 as the Socialist Scholar’s Conference, the event was renamed the Left Forum in 2005 after a split in the ranks forced a year’s hiatus.
Continuing a tradition begun in the 1960s, intellectuals and organizers meet to share notes, perspectives, strategies, experience, vision and drinks. Last year’s conference, led by the LF’s energetic director, Seth Adler, saw a record 3,400 attending more than 200 panels and workshops. This weekend’s proceedings could upend these numbers!
This year’s Left Forum will focus on the age-old theme of solidarity: How can comparatively well-off progressives best defend the interests of those living in poverty? How can American leftists best support revolutionary struggles abroad? The idea is that the potential for transformative struggles in the twenty-first century depend on new chains of solidarity—between workers in the West and their counterparts in the global South, affluent consumers and indigenous peasants, students and pensioners, rioters in Greece and public-sector unionists in the US. So, how to start the organizing necessary for these new linkages to bloom?
Join an illustrious group of writers, thinkers and activists in this immensely important collective conversation about the fate of the earth. Speakers include Frances Fox Piven, Barbara Ehrenreich, Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Cornel West and Nation editors and writers John Nichols, Richard Kim, Laura Flanders, Robert Pollin, Christian Parenti and Doug Henwood.
Panel topics are, to say the least, wide-ranging: Afghanistan, Africa’s recolonization, Europe’s waning power, an ethnography of the US Congress, the assault on organized labor, can feminism and capitalism coexist, the causes and cures for unemployment, Islamophobia, revolution in the Middle East, the riddle of China and the best activist strategy for achieving a fair food system are just a few of the many themes that will be taken up.
This video gives a good sense of the breadth and depth of the conversations.
Taking place at Pace University in Manhattan, the Left Forum is place to be for progressives this weekend. Check out the full, very extensive schedule, read up on the speakers and register your spot in the conversation.