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The New Crisis of Democracy
V ictor Tan Chen, editor of the online magazine INTHEFRAY.com, met with Professor Chom- sky for an hour-long conversation on the state of today’s social movements.
TAN CHEN: What do you think the state of social movements around the globe is right now?
CHOMSKY: It’s hard to think of a time when there has been anything approaching this level of activism, participation, and, in particular, interaction. That’s something quite new. The kinds of interaction that are reflected at the World Social Forum, for example, or at the international demonstrations at Cancún. There had never been anything like that in the past. The popular movements in the West—the labor movement, the left movements from the 19th century—were always talking about internationalism. That’s why every union is called an international. But they were never anything remotely like internationals.
In Brazil, what happened recently was historically pretty amazing. It’s the first time that popular movements reached this scale. A number of them—the Workers Party, the unions, the Landless Workers Movement, which played the most interesting role in many ways. They reached a sufficient scale so they could take political power over enormous odds—the centralization of capital and rich-poor gap and so on. What they can do about it is another question. There were efforts in this direction in the past. Forty years ago they did elect a mildly populist president—nothing remotely like Lula and nothing like the populist Workers Party. But then it was just overthrown quickly by a military coup, organized from Washington and celebrated by American liberals as the greatest thing that ever happened.
So there’s these external dangers that social movements face.
That’s changed. There’s not going to be any military coup to overthrow Lula. For one thing, because the population no longer would accept it, either there or here. There’s been enough changes in popular consciousness, both in the South and, by now, in the rich countries, in the North. You couldn’t get away with a military coup now the way you could 40 years ago when nobody paid attention.
The other, negative side is that they don’t need it now, because the neoliberal mechanisms of the past 30 years have created conditions which severely undermine the threat that democracy could actually function. So international financial markets have a stranglehold over Brazil and other Third World countries thanks to these measures. It’s almost unnecessary to think in terms of military coups. In fact, Lula is being compelled to follow policies more reactionary than the preceding government, the Cardoso government. It’s unpleasant to watch. Unless they want to pull out of the international financial system—create an independent new bloc of countries that just don’t want to accept these rules—as long as they decide to play by the rules, they have to maintain what’s called their “credibility” with banks and foreign investors and the IMF and so on. And they have to work harder to do that than a reactionary government does, because the investors are always waiting to pounce on them if there’s any minor move towards social reform in health services or wherever.
The conditions are such that they ought to be able to achieve a lot. The United States is a complicated country. There’s little in the way of political parties, the political system is almost unrelated to popular movements. On the other hand, there’s a tremendous amount of energy and activism, just very disorganized.
One of the main reasons I go to give lots of talks is that it brings together people from that town or city or region who are working along pretty similar lines, or at least parallel lines, and don’t have much to do with each other. If you just take Boston, there are lots and lots of groups. But they barely know about each other. The total level of participation is probably quite substantial. On the other hand, the degree of integration is slight and the degree of involvement varies. That means there’s not much in the way of long-term thinking or planning or strategy.
Why do you think there is such fragmentation within social movements in the United States?
In other industrial countries, these movements have tended to coalesce around the labor movement or social-democratic political parties or some kinds of ongoing institutions that maintain themselves. The United States does not have those institutions. So if I give a talk in some other industrial country, it’ll often be in a union hall. I almost never give a talk in a union hall in the U.S.
That has both a positive side and a negative side. The positive side is that the movements here are not under the control of petty autocratic, bureaucratized institutions. On the other hand, it means there’s no center you can keep coming back to, there are no learning experiences. What was done ten years ago is forgotten because the people who did it are now somewhere else and you have to start over again and learn the same techniques—there are things you have to know: how do you distribute leaflets, how do you get people organized, how do you talk to people.
In the United States, the one continuing institution is the church. So as a result, a lot of the organizing and activism is around churches. Where do some groups have their offices? Usually in one or another church.
It’s also a big country, a very insular country, that doesn’t pay attention to the outside. There’s a tremendous amount of mobility as compared to other industrial countries—people don’t live where they grew up, others come from outside the country and it means there’s a lack of ties. Also, this is an unusually business-run society. Other industrial countries are also largely business-run, but here it’s extraordinary. It shows up through the whole history. The U.S. has a very violent labor history. The major business-run propaganda institutions, the public relations industry, are in the U.S. or, secondarily, Britain, which is also where they had their major origins as part of the effort to control attitudes and beliefs.
There are enormous efforts going into trying to undermine popular organizations. They are very centralized and they are continuing, and they have an institutional base and they have learning experiences—they pick up from last time and so on and so forth. So in terms of institutional structures, it’s an extremely unequal battle. On the other hand, it’s a pretty dissident population. So if you look at people’s attitudes, it looks like it ought to be an organizer’s paradise.
In what sense?
Take the Vietnam War. There was a huge amount of activism on the war and there’s been a lot of studies of people’s attitudes on it. The Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, for example, does regular polls on people’s attitudes towards international affairs every four years. There’s an open question, “What do you think of the Vietnam War?” And there’s maybe ten choices. And the one that’s had an overwhelming majority since 1969 is, “Fundamentally wrong and immoral, not a mistake.”
If you did a poll in the Harvard Faculty Club or editorial offices or something, nobody would say that. Everybody says, “It was a mistake. It was right, but it was a mistake. It was wrong because it cost us too much, but it was a mistake, it was a disaster, it got too costly, we got into a quagmire”—and that sort of thing. Well, apparently, that’s not the popular attitude. Now, what do people mean when they say, “Fundamentally wrong and immoral, not a mistake”? Well, in order to find that out, you have to ask further questions. But those questions don’t come to the minds of investigators—academic investigators.
In fact, if you look at their interpretation of it, what they say is, well, this must mean that people didn’t like the casualties. Well, maybe. But that’s not the obvious interpretation. “Fundamentally wrong and immoral” might mean something beyond just too many U.S. casualties. But it’s been built up in the doctrinal system to be something called the “Vietnam Syndrome,” meaning you don’t want to take casualties. Actually, the polls that have been done show that’s not true. Recently, the main academic polling institution in the country—the Program on International Policy Attitudes in Maryland—investigated this and they consistently show that people don’t think that casualties are a cost they’re unwilling to accept if the cause is just.
And it extends well beyond.
Seventy-five percent of the population before the last election—there was a Harvard project on this—they found that before the last presidential elections, 75 percent of the population regarded it as a farce. That’s before Florida, before the Supreme Court. If you look at this whole stolen election business, it’s of great concern among intellectuals, but there’s almost no popular resonance. They don’t care.
If you look at the Vanishing Voter Project you can see the reasons. Before the election people weren’t taking it seriously, because it’s just rich people and public relations operations. If you ask people, “Is the economic system fair?” Overwhelmingly, it’s unfair. Ask people about national health insurance. There’s been very consistent support for it, some of the latest figures are about 75 percent. If it’s being discussed, it’s called “politically impossible”—meaning, the insurance companies won’t accept it.
Why aren’t they organizing? If there’s such a degree of grievances about health care, about the minimum wage, about the lack of a UN role in foreign policy, why aren’t people agitating?
Take the UN role in foreign policy. In April, before the whole thing in Iraq started becoming a catastrophe, there was about two-thirds in favor of the UN taking over reconstruction and taking the lead in international conflicts. They ask the questions in skewed ways, but what basically it comes down to is that people are also largely opposed to the international economic agreements.
In the 2000 elections, for example, the issue that ought to have been at the core was the Free Trade Area of the Americas, which was just coming along. But nobody even mentioned it. The reasons are simple: the population is opposed, the elites favor it. So it isn’t part of the political system.
Can you talk a little about your background in social movements and what lessons could apply today?
I was very active and political as a teenager, but then it was mostly Palestine-related. I was involved in what was then called Zionist movements—they’d now be called anti-Zionist. Then in the 1960s I joined in with what was going on. The civil rights movement, the anti-war movement. I became active in organizing resistance against the war, also talks, writing, demonstrations. Then on from there.
In the 1980s, I was heavily involved in the solidarity movements in regard to Central America. Which were a real breakthrough. They were what people would call conservative in many respects—the church, the Midwest. But it was the first time in the history of Europe or the United States, as far as I know, that large numbers of people from the imperial society went to live with the victims. Very courageously. To help them, to offer some protection because there’s a white face around. A lot of them stayed. It’s part of the mood that led to the current international solidarity movement.
Do you see some continuity with the global justice movement?
The global justice movements sort of grew out of this, in a kind of unplanned fashion, they just developed into these further interactions and developments. People think of the global justice movements as originating in Seattle. But that’s very misleading. They were much more powerful in the South. But they were kind of disregarded. When it hit a Northern city, you couldn’t disregard it any longer. If it’s peasants storming the Indian parliament and getting them to vote down the Uruguay Round—it might make a small note on the back page, even though it’s a much more powerful movement.
Take the probably millions of people who have been killed in the Congo in the last two years. Nobody knows. Nobody cares. You can say, well, we’re sending troops to Iraq for humanitarian reasons. Whatever you think of that argument, a fraction of those forces in Eastern Congo would have deterred and maybe stopped huge massacres, way beyond anything there [in Iraq]. Of course, they don’t have oil wealth and are too unimportant to control, so it doesn’t come up.
Probably the biggest international issue in the 1980s, the one that dominated the press more than anything else, was Nicaragua. A large part of the country didn’t know which side we were on. Many people thought the U.S. was supporting the government.
What kind of contribution do you think social movements can give to this distressing picture globally?
The bounds are endless. Pick what you like. People are in favor of democratic control, they don’t want to work in corporate tyrannies, they don’t like aggression and massacre, they’d like to have social services.
Every one of those things is a possibility for organizing. These are very fragile systems of control and domination. The people in them know that—they’re always deeply concerned about any manifestation of popular activism and react very powerfully to try to crush it. One of the results of the anti-fascist war was a growth of strong, kind of radical, democratic sentiment—including in the United States. You were hearing calls for worker takeover of industry and things that went pretty far-reaching. And it struck a real panic in elite centers. They organized huge campaigns to try to crush it. I thought I knew something about it until some of the scholarly work started to come out and it’s shocking to see the extent and coordination and the concentration on trying to overcome what they called, “the hazard facing industrialists in the rising political power of the masses.”
Through the 1950s it kind of calmed things down. Then the 1960s came along and everything just blew up, it had the same reaction. We’re right in the middle of that right now. There’s tremendous fear of a “crisis of democracy”—too much democratization. The right-wing think tanks got organized to try to shift the political spectrum. The spectrum of discussion and debate changed. The educational system changed.
In fact, a lot of the neoliberal programs which come from the early 1970s—you can debate what their economic impact is. It’s pretty negative, in my opinion. But it’s debatable at least. However, what’s not debatable is their effect in undermining democracy. Almost every element of them is designed to reduce the arena of popular participation and decision-making. And that runs from free financial flows—as [economist John Maynard] Keynes knew all along—to privatization. Reducing the arena of popular choice.
Do you think that people will, if given a chance, actually organize to change some of these things? On February 15, you had millions of people around the world and hundreds of thousands in the United States protesting the war in Iraq. And yet some people came out of that saying, “Well, I protested and nothing changed. The foreign policy didn’t change.”
That’s not the way any social movements ever worked—abolitionism, women’s rights, labor rights, anything, you have to expect to keep at it day after day. You have partial successes, failures—you pick up and go on.
But the idea that you’re going to have some kind of instant gratification, or else it was worthless, is a very typically American idea. It’s in the nature of the way the country works. There’s a ton of propaganda about it. You’re supposed to look for instant gratification. If it didn’t work, well, it’s useless. Quit. I remember, for example, at the time of the Columbia strike in 1968, the students were very excited. I had discussions with them, trying to dampen the enthusiasm. Same with France in 1968. The young people involved were very dedicated, very brave, and they really believed that if they sat in for a couple of weeks or did their thing on the streets of Paris, the whole system was going to collapse. That’s not going to happen, you know? You may make a dent. But you’re not going to achieve long-term institutional changes by sitting in a Columbia University president’s office.
When people failed to achieve the long-term goals, they regarded it as a failure. Right at that point, the massive popular movements here—the young ones—a lot of them went off into very self-destructive directions—the Maoist groups, Progressive Labor, the Weathermen. “We’ve shown that reform doesn’t work.” You haven’t shown anything. You’ve shown that one demonstration didn’t work—but when did it ever?
The same is true in February. These were unprecedented protests. Of course, they’re not going to stop power systems and anyone who participated should have understood that. But they might be a barrier to the next step, if you persist with them. But you have to have a realistic understanding of where power lies, how it can adapt to large-scale protests, and where they must go if they want to really change things. This should have been used for ongoing organizing efforts. To say, yeah sure, we didn’t stop the war, we didn’t really expect to, but we want to make it harder for those guys to run the next war. We want to make sure that we’re going to work to change the system of power, which allows them to make such decisions.
Do you think that movements today are getting better at building bridges across lines of race, class, gender, religion, other lines of identity?
There are some that are pretty successful at it. How much that generalizes is really hard to say. Because it’s also quite easy for systems of power and domination to separate people on these issues. Take the Immigrant [Workers Freedom] Ride. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out how to get immigrants and workers to be on opposite sides. Same on international trade issues. There are real issues involved. If jobs are lost here, they’re going somewhere else. How do you deal with that? The people and peasants in China have to eat too, so you can’t just disregard that question.
NAFTA was narrow enough so that you could actually face the questions concretely. It was quite interesting to see the debate about NAFTA. It’s virtually unknown that the labor movement had a position on it. That was suppressed. There is a Labor Advisory Council, which is the labor union groups, basically. According to the congressional trade laws, they’re supposed to be consulted on any trade-related issue. But they weren’t even advised that NAFTA was being discussed until about a day before the congressional vote. I think they were given 24 hours notice.
Well, they did meet, nevertheless, and put together a pretty interesting proposal for a North American Free Trade Agreement—but not this one. They pointed out that this one was going to be an investor rights agreement, it was going to harm working people. But it could be done differently, with compensatory funding and other devices, a partially European union model where they brought in Spain and Portugal and Greece in such a way that it wouldn’t undermine Northern workers’ rights. A lot of ideas were spelled out. It was distributed. Never reported. The only mention of it I’ve ever seen is in stuff I wrote in Z Magazine at the time, and a later book including it.
Their proposal happened to be almost the same as one done by the OTA, the Office of Technology Assessment, which has since been disbanded, but at that time was the congressional research organization. They did a detailed analysis of NAFTA—which reached pretty much the same conclusions—namely, a NAFTA could be good here, but not this one, because this one was aimed at low-wage, low-growth, high-profit outcomes. It could be done in a way that would lead to higher growth, higher wages, maybe lower profits, and that’s the way it ought to be done. Well, these are not radicals; this is OTA. I don’t think their report was ever mentioned.
You know, if there were activist popular movements, they could have broken through on that. You could have had a very different kind of NAFTA, which maybe would have benefited people instead of harming them.
The same thing happened at the Quebec summit in April 2001, where the top issue was the FTAA, which was going be modeled on NAFTA, and the declarations of the trade ministers and the headlines in the press hailed the great successes of NAFTA. The summit never came up in the presidential campaign or election, which was interesting because the issues in it are of major importance to people. They are high priority issues in polls. It never came up. Along comes the Quebec summit. You couldn’t suppress it, because there were massive protests, people breaking down the barricades, and there was press commentary. But the commentary was almost entirely, “The model for the FTAA is NAFTA, which was a great success and now we have to bring it to the hemisphere. And these crazy protesters are trying to undermine the poor, and so on.”
There were two major studies of NAFTA that were timed for release at the summit. They were on every editor’s desk in the country. One was Human Rights Watch, which is hard to ignore. The other was the Economic Policy Institute, which they all know. The Human Rights Watch report was on the effect of NAFTA on labor rights in the three countries. It was negative in all three countries. The EPI report was an interesting and detailed study by specialists on the three countries about the effects of NAFTA on working people. The conclusions were it was harmful in all three countries and very harmful in Mexico—and not just on working people, but on businesspeople and everyone else.
Here are major studies by well-known organizations, timed for release at the summit, where the issue was the great success of NAFTA and can we extend it to the hemisphere. I had a friend do a database search afterwards. There was one mention of it in a column in a small newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin. The level of internalized discipline is so enormous that you don’t mention what was obviously very important, but the wrong conclusion.
So bringing people on the streets can actually insert those issues onto the radar screen?
It didn’t. The only thing it did was allow the picture to be created of crazed protesters and odd hippies and people with funny hats who were trying to harm the poor because they’re trying to prevent the benefits of NAFTA. But a different kind of organizing could have forced this onto the agenda. Sometimes it works. Like on the Multilateral Agreement on Investments, it did, in fact, work.
What kind of organizing would be more effective?
It’s got to be something that’s not just directed to a demonstration in Quebec and then when you fail, you say, “Okay, we give up.” It has to be day-to-day, ongoing organization. Delegations going to the Boston Globe editorial office and saying we want you to report the result of these reports, and if you don’t, we’re going to leaflet the whole city and say you’re a bunch of this, that, and the other thing. You know, that kind of pressure could work and could break through. Alternative journalists could have done it. Very few did. Very few even knew about it.
If you go to an older period—take, say, the period when the Communist Party was alive. And there’s lots and lots of things wrong with the Communist Party, Stalinism, and everything else. But it was a very important organization because it existed and it was continuing. You had the same people coming around to grind the mimeograph machines week after week, even if you lost the last battle. I remember from my childhood—my family was mostly unemployed Jewish working class. They were mostly in and around the Communist Party. They didn’t give a damn about the Stalinist purge or anything else—if they had to nod at the right point, they’d nod at the right point. But they cared about those issues that were being struggled about. My aunts were seamstresses working in what amounted to sweatshops, but they got a couple of weeks in the summer at the union summer camp and they got some protection at work and some health care. They had workers’ education.
You don’t want to reconstitute the old Stalinist Party, obviously. But you want to know what was right about it, as well as what was wrong about it. What was right about it was things like this.
What role does democracy play in social movements today?
Unless they are really participatory, they’re not going to have staying power, and shouldn’t. And these are not easy things to develop. Anybody who’s been in any popular movement, whether it’s a group of 20 people or something larger, knows that there are internal tendencies that lead to hierarchy. People’s boredom level varies. There are some who are going to stick it out for hour after hour in meetings and others who say, “I can’t take this anymore,” and who will end up with the former types being the decision-makers. It goes from interpersonal things like that to the tendency to delegate authority and go do something else and let them run it. Then it’s just going to become hierarchical and bureaucratized and dominated and you’ll end up being a servant again. That’s true in any kind of organization. It has to be struggled with all the time. It has to be internalized, it’s part of the understanding of participation in a movement, that this is what it’s going to take.
The New York Times is talking about the emergence of the “other superpower” to contest American power.
They are worried about it. Just like they are worried about the crisis of democracy. That one sentence in the New York Times represented real fear that the world may be getting out of control. It shows up in other respects, too. Take this whole Old Europe, New Europe business. What was that all about? In part, it was just the expression of the absolute, passionate hatred of democracy among U.S. elites, which is really remarkable. The fact that Old Europe is denounced because the governments took the same position as the majority of the population and New Europe is praised because the governments overrode an even bigger majority of the population.
But there’s much deeper issues than that. Old Europe is France and Germany. That’s the industrial and commercial and financial heartland of Europe. The concern over that reflects an old concern—going back to the Second World War—that Europe was going to strike an independent course. If it does, it’ll be led by its heartland, France and Germany. So when they get out of line, it’s really dangerous. Because they might take Europe along with them into an independent course in world affairs. A lot of the concern about China and Japan is the same. Northeast Asia is the most dynamic economic region in the world. Its GDP is much bigger than that of the United States. It’s potentially integrated. It could go in an independent direction.
So it’s not just the second superpower—you know, popular opinion. It’s also the fact that the world has conflicting centers of power. The U.S. happens to dominate militarily, but not in other dimensions. This is a longstanding concern. Mostly with Europe, throughout the second half of the last century, but you will remember the concerns about Japan in the 1980s.
International policies are very heavily geared toward this. Say, taking control of Iraqi oil or making sure that Caspian Sea pipelines go to the West. A lot of this is based on the concern that Northeast Asia might seek energy independence. Which would mean the loss of a very powerful lever of control. On the other hand, if the U.S. has control over the levers of energy and makes sure they basically decide what happens to it—that’s a way of blocking more independent development in economic and political and social centers that are on par with, or even greater than, the United States. So all this is being thought about all the time.
When some Americans see the protests around the world against, for instance, the Iraq War, they see that as anti-Americanism.
The notion is interesting. Concepts like anti-Americanism only exist in totalitarian states. Suppose people in Italy protest against Berlusconi. Is that called anti-Italianism? In Russia, it was called anti- Sovietism. In Brazil, under the generals, if you protested you were anti-Brazilian. But the only way that concept can exist is if you identify the leadership with the society, the culture, the people, their aspirations, and so on. If you do that, if you accept that deeply totalitarian doctrine, you can have notions like anti-Sovietism, anti-Brazilianism, anti-Americanism, and so on.
The very existence of the concept reflects a deeply totalitarian streak in U.S. elite thought. Italians would laugh about it if you had a book in Italy called Anti-Italianism , referring to people who protest Berlusconi’s policies. When you have a book in the United States called Anti-Americanism by Paul Hollander, referring to people who criticize U.S. policies or something, people don’t laugh, it gets a favorable review in the New York Times .
The concept reflects the deep-seated conception that you must subordinate yourself to the leadership. If you’re critical of the leadership, even if you think this is the greatest country in the world, you’re anti-American.
What do you think the future of social movements will be, and are you optimistic or pessimistic?
I think the tendencies over the last 30 or 40 years are pretty hopeful. But it’s really a question of trajectory; there are very competing trajectories in the world. There’s one towards centralization and militarization and domination. And disaster, because it is facing disaster. There’s another towards increasing concern over human rights, over issues of peace, over, “Is this going to be an environment for our grandchildren to live in?”—and so on. The question is which of these trajectories dominates.
Victor Tan Chen is editor of the online magazine INTHEFRAY.COM and a doctoral candidate in social policy at Harvard University. A full transcript of this interview is available at www.inthefray.com.
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
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LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
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MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
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LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
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BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
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LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
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VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; firstname.lastname@example.org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: email@example.com; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; email@example.com.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; email@example.com; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: email@example.com; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.