Reposting here the original open call issued by Insurgent Notes back in January, along with the updated agenda schedule they just released. I’m planning to attend, along with a bunch of other people from all around the country. Would be great to see anyone there; Insurgent Notes is one of the few present political projects that seems to me worthwhile.
We’re writing to ask you to join us at a public meeting to discuss the broad topic of “Building a Radical Left in the Age of Trump.” The meeting will be held at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City on Sunday, February 5, 2017. We’ll confirm a date as soon as our inquiries regarding a possible site are answered.
We are calling this meeting because, along with many others, we realize that we are entering a time of great uncertainties and great dangers — dangers that result from what the government does here and abroad and dangers that result from the emergence of a variety of new right-wing populist and nationalist forces that can only be understood as prefascist or fascist. At the same time, we insist that the great majority of Trump supporters cannot and should not be tarred with such a brush. Indeed, as we wrote in our most recent editorial, “There are people in the Hillary camp who are our enemies, and there are people in the Trump camp who are our potential allies.” Many people attracted to the Trump campaign, alternatively, could be attracted to a consistent vision of an alternative to capitalist society, which up till now has not existed. They will not, however, be attracted to a defense of the existing state of affairs — no matter how dressed up in notions of understanding, tolerance and opportunity.
We are convinced that the only way out of the terrible mess that this country and the world are in is the development of a mass radical movement — a movement that will challenge the fundamental bases and characteristics of capitalist society with a program for the radical reconstruction of this society under the direct democratic control of the immense majority of the people. Such a movement cannot restrict itself to participation in electoral campaigns of any kind. We need to be clear — we do not believe that such a movement can be built upon the legacies and traditions of liberalism, progressivism, social democracy, or Stalinism-Trotskyism-Maoism.
Over the course of the last six years, Insurgent Notes has published fourteen issues of its online journal. For the most part, we attracted modest levels of attention and support. Recently, we believe in response to articles and editorials focused on the election and its outcome, we have seen a dramatic upswing in the number of visits to our website, the number of comments posted and the number of new subscribers.
We feel compelled to seize upon that momentum to find out how we might contribute to the development of the movement that we so desperately need. We recognize that such a movement will be the result of the coming together of individuals with different experiences and political convictions. Towards that end, we also believe that we need to come up with new forms of political organization that can allow for the definition of fundamental agreements, provide space for ongoing productive conversations and enable us to act in concert as events unfold.
Let’s briefly describe what our preliminary ideas are for the meeting:
- The meeting would take up the better part of a day — perhaps from 11 am to 5 pm.
- We hope to include panel discussions on at least the following major topics:
- The world’s crises and the election
- Class and race: is there anything new to say?
- An anticapitalist vision
- Creating a new language of hope and revolt
- Naming and fighting male supremacy
- Imagining new forms of political organization.
- We also hope to include opportunities for people to get to know each other and to actively engage in conversations about the most pressing of the issues.
- We’re going to work hard before and during the meeting to insure that presentations and comments go far beyond the mere restatement of prior convictions or the re-arguing of old debates.
- We’d like to entertain suggestions for next steps after the meeting.
- We’re hoping to sponsor an informal social event at the end of the day.
Please feel free to circulate this message to people who you think might be interested. We’ll be posting details about the meeting on this website.
If you have any questions, please write to us.
In hopeful solidarity,
This coming Sunday join Insurgent Notes for a day-long series of discussions around the Trump presidency and the way forward for the revolutionary left. Here is the day’s program:
Agenda for Insurgent Notes public meeting
Sunday, February 5, 2017
CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue/Room 5409
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Coffee/registration/introductions
11:00 AM – 11:30 AM Getting started — Welcome and review of agenda
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM Making sense of the electoral campaigns and their results: A conversation between Claire Cahen, Loren Goldner, and Arya Zahedi
12:30 PM – 1:15 PM Anti-fascism and the alt-Right: A presentation by Matthew Lyons of Three-Way Fight
1:15 PM – 1:45 PM Lunch & informal conversations
1:45 PM – 2:30 PM For women’s liberation in an age of reaction: A conversation Zhana Kurti and Wilson Sherwin
2:30 PM – 3:15 PM Against whiteness again: A conversation between Amiri Barksdale, Shemon Salam, and Jarrod Shanahan
3:15 PM – 3:45 PM Brief reports on organizing projects
3:45 PM – 4:30 PM Open discussion — Reactions to the meeting/unanswered questions
4:30 PM – 5:00 PM Wrapping up — Possible next steps
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM Social gathering
- At least half of the time in all sessions will be reserved for participant discussion.
- Lunch will be catered; we’d like to ask participants not to leave the building during lunch.
- The Graduate Center is wheelchair accessible.
- We will have a video connection — via Google Hangout — to enable remote participation. There will be an easy sign-in by way of a web link. Interested individuals should send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 31, 2017 to request the link.
- Contributions will be solicited to cover meeting costs.
- A picture ID is required for admission to the Graduate Center.
- Preregistration — we strongly encourage preregistration. Send an email message with name, best email address and cell phone number to email@example.com. Preferably by January 31, 2017.
- We hope to have audio, and possibly video, recordings of the presentations and discussions.
- If you have any difficulties getting to the meeting, please send an email to the editors’ address on February 7th to obtain assistance.