Friday, May 29, 2015

Left Forum 2015 - Opening Plenary: Syriza, Podemos, Left Bloc & the Left: A European Revolutionary Politics?


This is the Opening Plenary from the 2015 Left Forum, held May 29 - 31 at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. The conference theme was "No Justice, No Peace: Confronting the Crises of Capitalism & Democracy."

From the Organizers:

The opening plenary will focus on anti-austerity politics, alliances, and national and international political potentials and challenges emerging in Europe and impacting the world. Speakers will question and address the revolutionary dimensions of these developments - in the context of a mass-based political, economic, cultural, ecological, race, gender, and class struggle-illuminating politics - of electoral, left, and social movement organizing.

Eduardo Maura teaches Philosophy and History of Aesthetic Ideas at Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Elected member of the Citizen Council of Podemos, he is co-responsible for the area of Culture and works in the Political Secretariat.

Leo Panitch is a Distinguished Research Professor of Political Science and Canada Research Chair in Comparative Political Economy at York University. He has been the editor of The Socialist Register since 1985 and is a regular contributor to publications such as the Guardian and Jacobin. He has spoken extensively on air on the current crises and mobilizations in Europe, and he is currently engaged with Syriza members inside and outside of the government. He is the author of many books including Working Class Politics in CrisisAmerican Empire and the Political Economy of Global FinanceIn and Out of Crisis: The Global Financial Meltdown, and co-authored with Sam Gindin The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of the American Empire.

Caterina Principe is a Portuguese activist living in Berlin, Germany and studying her Masters in Gender Studies. She has been a key activist in the anti-precarity movement in Portugal as well as part of the Blockupy Platform in Germany. She is both a member of Bloco de Esquerda and Die Linke and has inside knowledge about different left organizations in southern Europe. She is currently a consulting editor for Jacobin Magazine, and has been spending the last months in Greece reporting on and analyzing the political developments.

Konstantino Tsoukalas is Doctor of Literature and Humanities at the University of Paris. He has served as Professor of Sociology at the universities of Paris, Thessaloniki and Athens, Scientific Director and later Chairman of the Board of the National Centre for Social Research, President of the Union of Greek Sociologists, President of the Hellenic Association of Political Science and visiting scholar at the Universities of Princeton, New York University, Columbia, Iztapalapa Mexico City, Istanbul, Paris and the Department of Economics of University of Athens. He has published multiple articles and books, his most recent publication being The Naked Queen: The Works and Times of Economic Discourse. He is a member of the Greek parliament since the January 2015 elections.

Laura Flanders (Moderator/Interlocutor) is Executive Producer and host of The Laura Flanders Show. She was the founder and host of GRITtv with Laura Flanders on Free Speech TV and The Laura Flanders Show on Air America Radio. She is currently a contributing writer to The Nation and a regular contributor to MSNBC. Her books include BUSHWOMEN: Tales of a Cynical Species, Blue GRIT: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians.

Kristin Lawler (Member, Left Forum Board of Directors and Host for the Evening and Interlocutor) is associate Professor and Chair of the Sociology Department at College of Mount Saint Vincent in the Bronx. Her first book, The American Surfer: Radical Culture and Capitalism, was published by Routledge in 2011 and examined the politics of American surf culture during the twentieth century. She is a member of the editorial collective of the journal Situations: Project of the Radical Imagination; her work has been published there as well as in several edited collections, Z Magazine, and the digital forum of the Social Science Research Council. Dr. Lawler received her Ph.D. from the CUNY Graduate Center and worked as a staff organizer for the PSC, the CUNY faculty union. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and she is currently at work on a book on slacker culture and the labor movement.

Download the audio at the a-Infos Radio Project.