For people around the world–both activists and previously apolitical people–the explosion of revolt in 2011 from Tunisia, to Cairo, to Wisconsin, to Greece, Europe, Occupy Wall Street and beyond was a long time coming.
The Left Forum creates a space for the broad left to analyze and debate the political questions of our times. This year’s Forum, with over 60 scheduled panels and workshops per session, will likely be the largest ever.
Registration is available through the beginning of the conference here.
I will be speaking on two panels.
The first is “Reclaiming our Comrades: The Omaha Two.” Here, I and other activists, scholars, and journalists will discuss building movements to free political prisoners using our own experience fighting for freedom with Mondo we Langa and Ed Poindexter, known as the Omaha Two, who have been in prison now for nearly 41 years. The second is “Occupy Greensboro: Report from a Southern City” where I will be discussing the relevance of Southern Occupy to the national movement.
Reclaiming Our Comrades: The Omaha Two (Panel Information)
A local Chapter of the Black Panther Party formed in Omaha, Nebraska in 1967. By 1968 the Party’s left wing leadership, Ed Poindexter and David Rice (AKA Mondo we Langa) of the National Committee to Combat Fascism, marked out a zone of defense for the African American Community from the oppressive habits of the local police force and larger white community. The NCCF and Black Panther Party asserted their political presence in the segregated community of North Omaha and boldly condemned the racism and the corruption of the local and national government, issuing a call to arms to the proletariat. All but decimated three years later, scholars and activists offer a critical analysis of the conspiracy by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Intelligence Unit of the Omaha Police Department to repress and in prison the local Party’s leadership. Today, more than forty years later, Mondo and Ed are two of the longest held political prisoners in the United States.
Speakers: Dr. Tekla Ali Johnson (Salem College), Michael Richardson (Journalist), Trish Kahle (International Socialist Organization), Tariq al-Amin (Nebraskans for Justice), Reynaldo Anderson (Harris-Stowe State University)
Occupy Greensboro: Report from a Southern City (Panel Information)
Occupy Greensboro began last October, like so many other occupations around the country. Using innovative tactics combined with regular long term strategizing, Occupy GSO has sustained itself and grown, securing an indoor meeting space and vastly expanding the number of working groups. While our success is not unparalleled around the country, Greensboro, with a population of around 250,000, has been incredibly successful in avoiding sectarianism and in sustaining a high pace of activity without burning out activists.In addition, it is critical to integrate the narrative of Southern occupations with the overall narrative of Occupy. Despite the long radical traditions of many Southern cities, activists in other areas of the country often look to the South as a backwards and reactionary region. The success of the Occupy movement is contingent of the deconstruction of such notions. The South, which because of low levels of unionization, right to work laws, and the persistence of racism, has the lowest wages in the country and is industrializing. Already it is showing signs of dramatically increased struggle—from fighting racist immigration laws, to labor and student struggles, to the upcoming party conventions—with Occupy being the link that holds all together. A South that propels the movement forward drastically changes the national narrative about what is possible which makes a panel discussing the roots, reality, strategy, and politics of Occupy GSO so pressing.
Speakers: Trish Kahle (International Socialist Organization), Michael Roberto (North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University), Cynthia Maddox (Occupy Greensboro)
In addition, there are many other excellent panels I would recommend attending if you’ll be at the forum, including: The Communist Manifesto Today, Pinkwashing: Israel’s Propaganda War, Education and Capitalism, Slavery and the Origins of American Capitalism, Can the Labor Movement and Occupy Wall Street March Down the Same Road? A Roundtable Discussion, Racism, Real Estate and Rebellion: Black Struggles for Housing Justice, Attica is All of Us, Roundtable: Occupy Wall Street: Where Did It Come From? Where Can It Go?, North Africa: Social Systems, Political Histories, Current Struggles and Prospects, Egypt’s Unfinished Revolution, Obama’s New Imperial Strategy, NATO and the G8: Architects of War and Austerity, Islamophobia, the NDAA, and the Attack on Civil Liberties, State and Revolution in the 21st Century: Is Lenin Still Relevant?, Labor, Occupy and social movements: The decline of labor and the potential for a revival
In addition, be sure to visit the International Socialist Organization’s table in the exhibition hall and check out the titles Haymarket Books have to offer!
Hopefully I’ll see you there!