Fresh, often controversial ideas on Middle East, anti-labor moves, health care, to be aired at Pace University this weekend
Cornel West, Malalai Joya, Barbara Ehrenreich to keynote largest US conference of left and progressive scholars and activists
Left Forum convenes at Pace University downtown Manhattan campus March 18-20
NEW YORK, NY, March 18, 2011– “Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and the Middle East uprising” is one of the current topics up for discussion starting tonight when the Left Forum—the largest annual conference in the US of left and progressive intellectuals, activists, academics, and the interested public —convenes in New York City at Pace University. The conference runs through Sunday, March 20.
Other topical “tracks” of linked presentations include “Public sector labor mobilizes nationwide”and“Transforming healthcare.”
Plenary speakers opening the forum tonight at 6:30 are:
- Cornel West, Culture critic and d distinguished professor, Princeton University
- Barbara Ehrenreich, author of “Nickel and Dimed”
- Laura Flanders, best-selling author and; host of GRITtv
- Paul Mason, BBC Newsnight economics editor.
Other plenary speakers include
- Malalai Joya, former member of Afghan parliament
- John Nichols: author of ”The ‘S’ Word,” correspondent for The Nation
- Carlos M. Vilas, Universidad Nacional Lanus, Argentina, Editor, Latin American Perspectives.
All events take place at Pace University’s downtown Manhattan campus, One Pace Plaza (Spruce St, just east of City Hall, between Park Row and Gold St). Media admission by press pass.
Portions of the event are being streamed and broadcast during the weekend, by freespeechtv.com.
The three-day conference will bring together 700 speakers, 200 panels, and over 3,000 participants. The theme is “Toward a Politics of Solidarity.” Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy, and Jesse Jackson were last year’s keynoters.
Rollback of social democracy achievements?
This year’s forum is taking place “as the people of Egypt and Tunisia overthrow their dictators, and students and workers from Greece to France and England challenge the rollback of social democracy’s greatest achievements,” a statement from the organizers points out.
The diversity of topics ranges from local environmental struggles to analysis and reports from around the world on new forms of solidarity, labor militancy, and transformative democratic uprisings.
In the history of the forum, the statement adds, “never before have so many people organized so many panels, debates, round tables, themed panel tracks, and activist workshops.”
Speakers from Canada to India
Other speakers come from a broad, non-sectarian left of scholars, labor activists, anarchists, students, and movement organizers from around the world, including Greg Albo (York University, Canada), Luciana Castellina (Il Manifesto, Italy), Andrea Cely (Universidad de los Andes, Colombia), Bogdan Denitch (Brac, Croatia), Carlos Esquer (Sindicato Mineros, Mexico), Raquel Garrido (Party of the Left, France), Timothy Hall (UK), Zhidong Hao (University of Macau), and Sang-Hwan Jang (Gyeongsang National University, South Korea).
Also Ian Camilo Cintrón Moya (Union de Juventud Socialista-Puerto Rico), Gautam Navlakha (Economic and Political Weekly, India), Sowore Omoyele (Sahara Reporters, Nigeria), Victor Alverez Rodriquez (Centro Internacional Miranda, Venezuela), Ariel Salleh (University of Sidney, Australia), and Albert Scharenberg (Freie Universitaet, Berlin).
The speakers and panels are listed on www.leftforum.org, a site that also has registration information. The conference fee ranges from $20 to $60 for from one to three days.
“Violence and social misery”
Cornell West, in a statement, noted a “right that is on the march—for free market fundamentalism, an aggressive militarism, and escalating authoritarianism. It is a triumphant Right that attacks the social democratic policies that are the achievements of the Left.”
The Left is broad, he says, including people concerned about “structural violence… exploitation at the work place, institutionalized contempt against gay brothers and lesbian sisters, hatred against peoples of color, and the subordination of women.”
Identifying with the Left “means that you are willing to fight against, and to try to understand the sources of social misery at the structural and institutional levels, as well as at the existential and personal levels,” and to “defend people against the brutality of a globally expansive and predatory capitalism.”
About Pace University
For 105 years, Pace University has produced thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, College of Health Professions, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. www.pace.edu
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