Saturday, March 19, 2011

Left Forum 2011 - Creating Leverage: Non-Electoral Strategies for Change in the Obama Era

Left Forum 2011
Pace University, NYC
March 18-20, 2011


* Kevin Young - SUNY Stony Brook
* Michael Schwartz - SUNY Stony Brook
* Michael Zweig - Center for Study of Working Class Life - SUNY Stony Brook
* Tod Ensign - Citizen Soldier
* Steve Early - Former Communications Workers of America organizer, Author, Embedded With Organized Labor

Panel Abstract from the Left Forum 2011 Website:

This panel suggests ways in which movements can create political leverage. Schwartz and Young advance three arguments of theoretical relevance: 1) that the primary targets of protest should be corporate and institutional power-holders rather than their representatives in the main branches of government; 2) that movements should focus less energy on lobbying and more on creating “structural leverage”; and 3) that the progressive values of the US working class mean that attempts to build structural leverage potentially have strong allies in workers, including white workers. Ensign analyzes the GI resistance movement in the United States, discussing the challenges and successes his organization has experienced in its effort to organize soldiers. Zweig and Early reflect on recent challenges and opportunities in the union movement, exploring the various fault lines that have divided US labor, efforts to democratize unions, and the pitfalls of subservience to the Democratic Party.