Speak Out Now at “The Left Forum” in New York City (May 20 – May 22, John Jay University)
Session: Saturday, May 21: 10:00am to11:50am
The Proletariat is Still the Revolutionary Class
The exploitation and austerity imposed by capitalism is grinding people down all around the world. At the same time, struggles and protests triggered by a wide range of injustices have erupted in the streets and public squares from Egypt and Spain to Ferguson, Baltimore, and elsewhere in the U.S. However, these struggles quickly met their limits and dissipated or were channeled back into the system. A worldwide environmental activism in response to the threats posed by global warming is, in most cases, disconnected from the working class or even hostile to it. Nowhere has the working class provided an independent, let alone revolutionary, perspective to today’s struggles. As a consequence, many of those have seeking revolutionary change have turned to the direct democracy of the squares as the revolutionary model of the 21st century. The claim is that the proletariat, its workers’ councils, the revolutionary party, and the socialist program have been relegated to the dustbin of history, and we need a new political approach. We disagree with this perspective. Recent mobilizations in France hint at the potential of the working class to once again provide a leadership to struggles that challenge the status quo. And because of their class position, the workers have the potential to take these struggles much further. Come to a presentation and discussion of our efforts and perspectives in both France and the U.S. for building a revolutionary organization in the working class today.
Session: Sunday, May 22: 3:40pm to 5:40pm
Building Independent Organizations in the Working Class Today
Is it still possible to carry out independent activity in the working class today without waiting for periods of mass upheaval? Is it possible to have a regular day-to-day activity in workplaces and build networks that link workers together to engage in struggles in the workplaces and in their communities? Representatives from three different groups – Speak Out Now, Workers Struggle and the Laundry Workers Center (Hot and Crusty strike) we will discuss our work, our approaches and experiences organizing in different parts of the country.