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democratic socialism


Jobs for All - featuring Marguerite Rosenthal

Thursday, May 9, 2013, 8:00 p.m. The UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, December 10, 1948 states, in part that “Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment…, to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself [sic] and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.”

The struggle in the U.S. for a full employment economy has been a long one, hampered by policy “trade-offs” that accept high unemployment as an antidote to inflation, and that privilege the profits of the few over the well-being of the many. One of the current battlefields in the struggle center around US Representative John Conyers' office in relation to his bill, HR 1000, the Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act. (So far, Jim McGovern is the only member of the Mass. delegation to endorse the bill.)

The Other Elections - Democratic Triumph in Venezuela

Thursday, October 18, 2012, 7:00 p.m. On Sunday, October 7, 2012, months of intense campaigning throughout Venezuela culminated in a massive turnout at the polls, with more than 80% participation, and a decisive 11-point margin of victory for incumbent president, Hugo Chavez. The Boston Martin Luther King, Jr. Bolivarian Circle will host Omar Sierra, the Consul General of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Boston, and two local Venezuelan activists in a conversation about the election outcomes and what they indicate for democracy, economic development and the socialist path that voters endorsed.

The event takes place at encuentro 5 (in its new location right by the Park Street T stop and the Orpheum Theatre) at 9 Hamilton Place, Suite 2a, Boston, MA 02108 [Directions: http://binged.it/SxWgCB - note Google Maps yields an incorrect location, for now, please use this link to locate e5]

Technology & Direct Democracy

Friday, June 22nd, 2012, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.  Occupy Boston Information & Technology (OBIT) is proud to present a consensus building tool focused on accessing direct democracy and using technology to influence political outcomes at the state and federal levels.

While many carry beliefs that electoral politics are tainted by corrupt practices and big money Super PACS, there are others who still believe that it is important that voters leverage their power through actively challenging their elected officials to speak for the people

On June 22 we will look at the various ways that technology is being used to impact true democratic practices and get more people involved in the drafting and revision of proposed legislation.

Derber: Marx's Ghost - Midnight Conversations on Changing the World

Thursday, February 9, 2012, 7:00 p.m. Author, activist and BC sociologist Charlie Derber speaks to his most recent book, Marx's Chost: Midnight Conversations on Changing the World. He will be joined by Alexandra Pineros Shields, Brian Kwoba and Genevieve Butler. From the publisher: An American sociologist (Derber) travels to London's Highgate cemetery, where Karl Marx is buried. A surprise encounter with Marx's ghost, which reveals insights into the great revolutionary’s personality and biography, leads to a night-long conversation between Derber and the ghost on important issues of the day: the economic crisis, globalization; climate change, war, racism, left- and right-wing politics, the future of capitalism, new economic models emerging in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia, and revolutionary activism by citizens in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya—even Wisconsin. The ghost reconsiders his theories as he speaks eloquently about American labor, environmental, peace, social justice, civil rights, immigrant, and gender and anti-racist struggles. Their engrossing, funny, and provocative conversation, interrupted by appearances from ghosts such as John Maynard Keynes, offers a new vision of the stunning relevance and tragic flaws of the historical Marx, who now reveals a surprising Great Transition to a transformed future. Watch this space for a review coming soon!

Bernard & Ness: From Occupy to Workers Control

Friday, January 20, 2012, 6:00 p.m. Join Immanuel Ness and Elaine Bernard for a panel discussion on From Occupy to Workers Control sponsored by the Howard Zinn Memorial Lecture Series and hosted by encuentro 5.

The Occupy Movement is taking new and exciting steps as it continues to reshape political possibilities (such as reclaiming foreclosed homes).

The discussion of how to organize a society that represents the interests and aspirations of the 99% is a debate that is being held across Occupy sites. What would it mean to really take the Occupy Movement into the workplace? Into the heart of the economic system itself? And how to do it?

All of those invited to speak at this event contributed to a recent Haymarket Book "Ours to Master and to Own."

Rosen, et al: Principles for a New Economy

PRINCIPLES FOR A NEW ECONOMY

Preamble
 
The purpose of an economic system is to help organize human activities in ways that create healthy and resilient human communities and ecosystems for both present and future generations.
 
To achieve these purposes, deep system-wide change is urgently needed to reverse conditions typical of contemporary global, regional, national and local economies that exhibit one or more of the following serious flaws. They are:
 
·      Unsustainable: They over-consume and degrade the resources upon which their long-term prosperity depends.
·      Unfair: They multiply financial advantages to those already advantaged at the expense of those most in need. 
·      Unstable: They lack resilience in a time of growing volatility and rapid social, political and technological change.
·      Undemocratic: They operate with inadequate democratic control and accountability on the part of their most powerful economic organizations - corporations, financial institutions and governments.
 
At the root of these conditions is an implicit, dominant theory of economic purpose: namely to achieve continuous economic growth, as measured principally by GDP, by relying on “free markets”, without regard to the impact on overall human and ecological well-being. At the core of a New Economy is the need to decouple the achievement of well-being from limitless economic growth, by structuring economies that:
·      Fully realize individual potential through the advancement of human rights, including the right to thriving livelihoods, freedom from unjust persecution, quality education, effective social safety nets, affordable nutritious food, clean water, secure health care, and adequate shelter. 
 
·      Protect and nurture the richness of the natural world in ways that confront and rectify intensifying threats to humans and other species, including those associated with climate change, biodiversity loss, eco-system degradation, and polluted air and water
 
 The following Principles are designed to guide the actions of all economic actors and organizations whose decisions and actions affect, or are affected by, the pursuit of a New Economy.
 
Principles
1. Measuring progress - Economic progress shall be measured in terms of the well-being of all living species and ecosystems.  
2. Respecting natural limits - The economy shall draw from, and inject into, ecosystems only what is compatible with maintaining a sustainable healthy and resilient natural world. 
3. Democratizing the economy – All institutions that manage, regulate and execute economic activity, including private corporations, shall be democratically controlled in order to serve long-term societal goals.
4. Ensuring economic progress - Governments shall work to ensure prosperous and resilient economic outcomes by making adequate investments in research, education, physical infrastructure, and technology, whenever markets fail to do so. .
5. Localizing control - Economic policy shall favor subsidiarity, i.e., the localization of economic decision-making and control to the greatest extent possible consistent with democracy, equity, and efficiency.
6. Taming finance - All monetary systems and financial institutions shall be regulated as essential public utilities for the benefit of society as a whole.
7. Reducing inequality - Increasing economic inequality shall be understood to be inherently and profoundly antithetical to achieving human and ecological well-being, and shall be rapidly reversed.
8. Providing adequate livelihoods - Individuals shall be ensured of opportunities for decent paid work, employee ownership and the right to organize, and accorded recognition for work performed outside the formal wage economy that is fundamental to enriching  community and family well-being.
9. Re-defining globalization - International economic relations that impinge upon human and ecological well-being shall rest upon the same principles as those applicable to economic activities within nations so that economic justice becomes enshrined in such relations.
10. Fostering new values - Economic values shall be diverted, by all fair and reasonable means, away from the materialism fostered by promoters of a consumer society, and shifted toward values that prioritize flourishing communities, individual happiness, and a healthy and resilient natural world.
The editors of the Principles for a New Economy are Neva Goodwin, Richard Rosen, and Allen White. Principles for a New Economy was co-authored by the Core Principles Working Group, with the support of the New Economy Network. The members of the Working Group are: Gar Alperovitz, David Brodwin, Peter Brown, John Cavanagh, John Fullerton, Neva Godwin, Richard Heinberg, David Korten, Asher Miller, Noel Ortega, Richard Rosen, Gus Speth, Sarah Stranahan, Stewart Wallis, Allen White, and Susan Witt.
For questions and comments please contact: neva.goodwin@tufts.edu; rrosen@tellus.org or awhite@tellus.org

Alperovitz: America Beyond Capitalism

When they say, "there's no alternative..."

Saturday, December 3, 2011, 6:00 p.m.  As discontent with the economic and political status quo mounts in the wake of the “great recession”, America Beyond Capitalism is a book whose time has come. Gar Alperovitz’s expert diagnosis of the long-term structural crisis of the American economic and political system is accompanied by detailed, practical answers to the problems we face as a society. Unlike many books that reserve a few pages of a concluding chapter to offer generalized, tentative solutions, Alperovitz marshals years of research into emerging “new economy” strategies to present a comprehensive picture of practical bottom-up efforts currently underway in thousands of communities across the United States.

Linda Fischer: Global Crisis! Global Resistance!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011, 7:00 p.m. A wave of revolt is sweeping the world. In North Africa, uprisings topple dictators; in China, mass strikes defy repression; in Wisconsin, workers occupy the capitol building for weeks; and as European capitalism plunges deeper into crisis, workers and youth are responding with general strikes, mass occupations, and powerful protests. Meanwhile, the super-rich demand even more tax cuts, budget cuts, and layoffs. But a growing majority in Europe are declaring “We won’t pay for your crisis!"

Raúl Zibechi: Dispersing Power

Monday, November 8, 2010, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. Join Uruguayan activist-intellectual and journalist, Raúl Zibechi, for a wide-ranging conversation about social movements and social change. The point of departure is his latest work, Dispersing Power: Social Movements as Anti-State Forces. It considers the largely indigenous social movements organizing in El Alto, Bolivia that both brought Evo Morales to state power and continue their challenges to the state. This event is co-sponsored with Boston Bolivarianos, the Global Economic Alternatives Network and the journal Socialism and Democracy.

Sergio Reyes & Omar Sierra on Latin America's New Constitutions

Saturday, September 11, 2010, 7:00 p.m. Join Sergio Reyes (Boston May Day Committee and Latin@s for Social Change) and Omar Sierra (sociologist and Consul General of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela) for a survey of the radical changes and advances in Latin American constitutional development. Using his firsthand impressions of the process in Bolivia and a textual analysis of the new constitution of the Plurinational Republic of Bolivia, Reyes will provide his assessment and lead the conversation. Additional speakers and experiences will be announced shortly. Sponsored by the Boston May Day Committee.

Venezuela Speaks! Voices from the Grassroots

Venezuela Speaks! coverThursday, January 28, 2010, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. While Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez continues to capture headlines, a much larger story involving a wider cast of characters has gone largely ignored. Venezuela Speaks!, published by PM Press, is a collection of interviews with activists and participants from across Venezuela’s social movements. From community media to land reform, cooperatives to communal councils, from the labor movement to the Afro-Venezuelan network, Venezuela Speaks! sheds light on the complex realities within the Bolivarian Revolution.

Unions & Politics: Making the Right Choice

A Discussion with Michael Schippani

Thursday, September 4, 2008, 7:00 p.m. A leading researcher who worked for the United Auto Workers, Michael Schippani is also a long-time labor organizer and thinker about economics and workers' rights. A BC graduate, Schappani currently serves on a Michigan Workforce Development Board and has served Governors Dukakis and Cuomo on labor policy. This event kicks of the "Labor Leads Conversations" hosted by Massachusetts Global Action.