Third Thursday’s with the Center for Political Education

Follow up discussion about the current economic situation, implications, challenges and opportunities

Thursday, October 16th, 6:30 PM

Following last week’s class on Economic Crisis, Failing Banks and Bailouts, CPE’s Third Thursday series will provide a space (with activities and facilitated, small group discussion) to engage with others about the implications, challenges, and opportunities that the current situation presents for social movements and the left in the U.S. today.

Here are some questions that we drew from the previous class that we will structure the discussion around on Thursday.  If you have further questions, please e-mail them to us at center@politicaleducation.org and we will do our best to build them into the facilitated discussion.

• How can we take advantage of the openings created by what is likely to be a very prolonged crisis?

• Where should we be building alliances to help build a broader people power movement to challenge the problem we are in?

• Is there still a possibility of bailing out individuals (homeowners) instead of Wall Street?

• What might be the long-term impacts of the “land grab” being implemented through foreclosures?

• How can we play a role in helping a militant national anti-eviction movement develop like we’ve seen in decades past?

• How could a progressive administration take advantage of the nationalization of the Wall Street that is already underway?

• How is organized labor responding to the crisis in pension funds and retirement accounts, and is there a possibility for saving those within the various “bailout” proposals?

• If the crisis continues to deepen beyond the finance sector, how might an Obama administration be moved to more progressive New Deal solutions, and how would it be financed?

• If the credit crisis is not resolved, what will this mean for future unemployment, and how should we be preparing?

• If the economy does come to a grinding halt, what lessons can we learn from examples like Argentina in 2001?

What’s Going On: Roundtable Discussion on Prop. 8, Thursday, Nov. 20th

November 4th’s election was a historic event: not only for the record turnout of voters to elect the first Black president of the United States, but also for the contradictory passage of Proposition 8 in California, overturning the California supreme court’s decision legalizing marriage for all.  This Third Thursday discussion will look at the passage of Prop. 8 and in particular:

• how the loss highlights our lack of a comprehensive, inclusive agenda, that emphasizes the intersections of race, class, gender and sexuality, and the interdependence of our struggles

• how to link the broader struggles of LGBTQ people with the struggles of African-Americans, Latinos, and immigrants

• how the fight for same-sex marriage fits into a long-term agenda for LGBTQ people in the fight against homophobia and a heteronormative society

• how we can counter the Right’s exploitation of wedge issues such as gay marriage (and its underlying homophobia) to mobilize its base and divide working class constituencies

• what comes next, given the long-term nature of the fight against homophobia, immediate next steps in challenging Prop. 8, and how the broader Left can support the ongoing work

Roundtable, participatory discussion with opening comments by activists and organizers, including:

Malachi Larrabee-Garza, Community Justice Network for Youth
Betty Jeanne Reuters-Ward, Interfaith Organizer for the No on 8 and the Catalyst Project
Eric See, No on 8 volunteer and Freedom Road Socialist Organization
Ayoka Turner, Khalil’s full-time mom who works to support the movement on the side!


A sampling of resources on the current economic crisis:

Bill Tabb writing on the Four Crises of the Capitalist System, grounding the current situation in a Marxist understanding of capitalism…

Story of the Cook County Sheriff refusing to obey orders to evict renters from foreclosed homes…

Naomi Klein on why the U.S. financial crisis should be for neoliberalism what the fall of the Berlin was for Communism…

Wall Street in Black and White: Why are Poor Blacks Being Blamed for Mortgage Meltdown by Professor Emma Coleman Jordan

Homeowners come up empty in Bailout, a very good article for those particularly interested or engaged in housing struggles and impacts of this crisis on the fight against displacement, and for affordable, dignified housing.

A very sobering article, The Rising Body Count on Mainstreet: The Human Fallout from the Financial Crisis by Nick Turse, about the increase in suicides and homicides due to the impacts of economic stress on individuals and families fighting to make it.  Also with some critical stories of resistance and organizing in the face of such hardship and despair.

The downturn in facts and figures thanks to the BBC.  Scroll down to check out the interactive map of subprime lending, foreclosures, and properties owned by Deutsche Bank, in Cleveland, Ohio, demonstrating the massive impact of the subprime crisis on Black communities in that city

Berkeley Prof. Dick Walker on the geography of the bubble, with a Marxist analysis of how, why and where this whole mess has unfolded…

The Subprime Primer: A 45 slide stick figure cartoon breaking down the mechanics of subprime mortgages being sold on international markets…

Radio show with two Canadian Marxists, Sam Gindin and Leo Panitch, discussing the financial crisis, neoliberalism and the U.S. empire–the end of what, if anything exactly?  Very provocative listening for any of us interested in fighting for an alternative to neoliberal globalization and capitalism…

Go to the Resources/Links page on the CPE website for eight different power point presentations and outlines from our 2007 Introduction to Political Economy and Radical Economics classes and the June 2008 classes on Recession and the Housing Crisis, chock-full of economic concepts, explanations and analysis of how we got to where we are with the current economic crisis…

Tons of pooled resources for activists, organizers and leftists, thanks to our sister organization, the Brecht Forum.  Including video from many forums they’ve held in NY, on the new page of their website: Brecht Forum Economy Watch

This American Life radio program on the Global Pool of Money and the US Subprime Housing Crisis, which you can either read as a transcript or listen to the full show.  Gives you a new understanding of the chain of players involved in finance, housing finance and predatory lending…

A fourty-seven minute cartoon video on the origins of money, banks, debt and monetary policy.

And lastly a ten-minute video that explains some of the mechanics of the crisis, as described by British comedians (with Spanish subtitles)…

Some general online resources:
Monthly Review and Monthly Review Zine
Z Magazine and ZNet
Center for Popular Economics
Dollars and Sense
New Left Review
Rebelión (in Spanish)