Starting Date: 04-03-2004
Ending Date: 04-04-2004
750 S. Halsted
Chicago, Illinois 60640
312-348-9380Saturday, April 3…
***2004 Midwest Socialist Conference***
RESISTING U.S. EMPIRE**fighting for a better world
Join hundreds of socialists, activists, students and trade unionists to discuss the pivotal debates in the reviving opposition and how the capitalist system itself can be challenged to create a society based on human need, real democracy and equality.
2004 MIDWEST SOCIALIST CONFERENCE SESSION INFORMATION
OPENING SESSION (10:30)
Is a revolution possible in the U.S.?
War, poverty and racism dominate the political landscape, and many people who want real change aren’t sure if it is possible. SHARON SMITH will make the case that a revolution is possible and necessary to win a fundamentally different and better society.
WORKSHOPS SESSION 1 (1:00)
Separate is not equal—the fight for gay marriage
Since the Massachusetts court decision on gay marriage and weddings in San Francisco, the right has swung into action. But gay rights activists have also organized—from Iowa to Oregon, New York and Chicago—even though some in the gay and lesbian community question whether or not the right to marry is important. Others see the Democrats and the courts as the solution. KEEANGA-YAMAHTTA TAYLOR argues that gays and lesbians should have the right to marry and that we need to organize to fight for this right nationwide.
In Defense of Leninism
From day one of the 1917 Russian Revolution, the right wing has attacked Lenin and his ideas for building a political party to lead a working class revolution. With the rise and fall of Stalinism, much of the left abandoned Lenin’s ideas and even joined the right in attacking his theories, strategies, and actions. KIRSTIN ROBERTS offers a defense of Lenin and argues that Leninism is the way forward in building a new left today.
How can we rebuild the labor movement?
During the current recovery, corporations have escalated their assault on unionized and non-unionized workers. To boost profits, they are closing plants, laying off workers, busting unions, and demanding concessionary contracts that cut wages and benefits to the bone. This workshop will assess the state of the labor movement and argue for long-term strategies to turn back the bosses offensive.
From Vietnam to Iraq: U.S. soldiers against war
Thousands of U.S. soldiers are now being told to put their lives on the line for a colonial occupation of Iraq for US control over middle-eastern oil. As in Vietnam, the U.S. government is only too happy to use immigrants, minorities and workers as cannon fodder. JOE ALLEN describes the roots and impact of the Vietnam soldiers’ rebellion, and how working class troops and families in today’s military are beginning to speak out against a war for empire.
From Civil Rights to Black Power: Lessons for Fighting Racism
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee chair Stokely Carmichael coined the phrase "Black Power" in 1966, after being arrested 27 times for civil disobedience. SAM JORDAN will discuss what Black Power meant to the civil rights movement, the radical transformation of the 1960s struggle, and the lessons we can learn for the fight against racism today.
Socialists in movements—building a United Front
Building mass movements requires unity in action. But as the struggle develops it confronts questions and debates about ideas, demands, strategies and tactics. During the fight against fascism in the 1930s, Leon Trotsky developed the idea of the United Front as a way for socialists to build independent organization, intervene in movements to influence the outcome of debates and at the same time fight for unity in action. DENNIS KOSUTH will look at this approach as a guide for socialists today.
WORKSHOPS SESSION 2 (3:00)
Fighting the racist criminal injustice system
One in every 8 Black men between the ages of 20 and 34 is currently behind bars—seven times the rate for white men the same age. More than 2 million people are either in jail or prison in the United States. But people are beginning to fight back against the racist criminal injustice system—from protests in California to stop the execution of Kevin Cooper, to people standing up to police torture and brutality on the South Side of Chicago. Come hear about the fight against the racist criminal injustice system from activists working on the front lines of the struggle.
No restrictions! How can we defend abortion rights?
With a "pro-choice " president in office in the 1990s, abortion actually became less affordable and more restricted. Today, outraged by the increasing attacks on a woman’s right to control her own body, activists are planning a mass pro-choice rally in April. ELIZABETH LALASZ talks about what’s behind the attacks, how we can we keep abortion legal and make it accessible for all women.
Anybody but Bush?—The politics of lesser evilism
Most people, including those on the left, believe that our top priority should be to get rid of Bush in the 2004 election. They’re advocating a vote for any Democrat, no matter how bad their politics, as a lesser evil. This approach has moved politics further and further to the right. ADAM TURL will argue that the strategy of voting for the Democrats may get Bush out of office, but that it will fundamentally weaken the fight against war, poverty and racism.
Occupation & Resistance from Iraq to Palestine
In the wake of its conquest of Iraq, the US plans in conjunction with its regional sheriff, Israel, to attack and bully more countries and install client states so it can control the world ’s energy supplies. And Iraqis, as in Palestine, far from welcoming their would-be colonial masters, have fought the U.S. occupation from its inception. Socialist Worker reporters NICOLE COLSON and ERIC RUDER will argue that the occupations of Palestine and Iraq are part of U.S. imperialism’s plans to dominate the Middle East—and that antiwar activists in the U.S. should support self-determination and the right of Iraqis and Palestinians to resist.
Recovery for whom? The Wal-Martization of America
Bush claims his $1 trillion tax cut for the rich pulled the U.S. out of recession and toward a strong economy. But the price of the recovery has been high—mounting job losses, slashed wages and benefits. MATT NICHTER looks at the basis of the new boom, explains why it cannot overcome the problems in the world economy, and the impact on class struggle in America.
U.S. Coup in Haiti—regime change by another name
The U.S. has ousted Haiti’s President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, adding another victim to the long list of democratically elected foreign leaders overthrown by the U.S. Hours after Aristide left the capital, U.S. Marines poured into Port-au-Prince, becoming effective occupiers of yet another country. But the mainstream media has painted this new occupation as "humanitarian" and coup leaders as rag-tag democratic rebels. KATHERINE DWYER takes on the lies about the U.S. coup, the real history of U.S. bullying and regime change in Haiti and how activists should respond.
CLOSING SESSION (6:30)
The struggle for socialism: A world to win
Another world is not only possible, but necessary. What kind of world are we fighting for and how should we organize ourselves to win it? AHMED SHAWKI will discuss the tasks facing our movement, and why a socialist society based on human need is the best alternative to the horror and destruction of a world driven by profit.
Saturday, April 3
Univ. of Illinois—Chicago
Chicago Circle Center, 750 S. Halsted
For more information please call 312-458-9380 or
Child care available on request.
INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST ORGANIZATION
publisher of Socialist Worker newspaper
Geographical Scope: Regional