April 11, 2013

April 20th: First EcoSocialist Conference

The Ecosocialist Conference
Saturday, April 20th 2013 @ Barnard College (118th & Bway), New York City
Suggested donation: $5-20, no one turned away for lack of funds. Free childcare provided upon request. Please contact michaelware1205@gmail.com to reserve or for more info.
Registration opens at 9:30am. Opening plenary at 10am followed by three workshop sessions and a closing plenary from 6-7:30pm. Post-conference dinner and drinks (unfortunately not included) immediately afterward.
Conference Schedule and Speakers
9:30 – 10am: REGISTRATION
10 – 11:30am: OPENING PLENARY
Why Capitalism Is Killing the Planet
Jill Stein, 2012 Green Party presidential candidate
Richard Smith, author and independent socialist
11:30am – 1pm: WORKSHOP SESSION 1
1) Agriculture and food: sustainable or profitable?
                Fred Magdoff, Monthly Review, author
                Brian Tokar, Institute for Social Ecology, author and activist
                Nancy Romer, Coordinator, Brooklyn Food Coalition
                Dianne Rocheleau, agroecologist/geographer and author
2) Fossil Fuel Divestment: Student Power in the Climate Justice Movement
                Joe Shortsleeve, Barnard Columbia Divest
                Hannah Forrester, ISO Columbia, Barnard Columbia Divest
                Belinda Rodriguez, NYU Divest, 350.org
3) Free of Tar Sands and Fracking
                Cecile Lawrence, Green Party of New York State, social justice activist, author
                John Riddell, author, Canadian anti-tar-sands activist
                awaiting confirmation from additional speakers

1 – 2:30pm: LUNCH
2:30 – 4pm: WORKSHOP SESSION 2
1) The Fight for Indigenous Rights
                Brian Ward, ISO DC
                awaiting confirmation from additional speakers
2) Race, Gender and Environment Justice
                Heather Kangas, ISO Baltimore
                Abbie Bakan, author and activist
                awaiting confirmation from additional speakers
3) Lessons from Super-storm Sandy
                Peter Rugh, journalist, environmental activist
                Nastaran Mohit, immigrant rights activist and Occupy Sandy Health Outreach coordinator
                awaiting confirmation from additional speakers

4:15 – 5:45pm: WORKSHOP SESSION 2
1) Natural Allies: The Labor & Climate Justice Movements
                Jeremy Brecher environmental labor activist
                Sean Sweeney, labor activist
                Steve Downs, Solidarity, member of TWU Local 100
2) Carbon Taxes and Market Approaches: Can Capitalism Be Sustainable?
                Daniel Piper, Socialist Action
                Howie Hawkins, Solidarity, the Green Party of New York State
3) Both Red and Green: A History of the Green Left
                Richard Greeman, ecosocialist author, teacher and activist
                Josh, Deep Green Resistance NYC

What is EcoSocialism and How Do We Get There?
                Chris Williams, ISO NYC, author of Ecology and Socialism
                awaiting confirmation from additional speakers

To endorse and participate in conference planning, contact ecosocialistconference@gmail.com
Supporting Organizations
                Chicago Socialist Party
                Climate and Capitalism
                Ecosocialist Horizons
                Freedom Road Socialist Organization
                Freedom Socialist Party
                International Socialists (Canada)
                Monthly Review
                New Politics
                Our Place in the World: a Journal of Ecosocialism
                Red Wedge Magazine
                Shut Down Indian Point Now!
                Socialist Action
                Socialist Project (Canada)
                Socialist Worker
                The Green Party of the State of New York
                The International Socialist Organization
                The National Lawyers Guild
                The Young Democratic Socialists
The extreme weather of 2012 and recent news that climate change is worse than previously thought have made it a front-page issue again. The Obama campaign’s silence on the issue and worldwide government paralysis have added to activists’ frustration and fueled participation in 350.org’s historic February 17th demonstration and campus fossil fuel divestment campaigns. This has also opened the door to a more radical analysis of global warming and environmental destruction.
For a radicalizing and substantial fringe of people touched by the ideas of Occupy, an ongoing economic crisis and growing ecological crisis, they recognize that it’s not enough to limit your analysis to only fossil fuel corporations (though that’s a good start) or absolve politicians based on the lobbying power of those particular companies. And if that’s the case, then we need far bigger goals than just limiting their investment opportunities with college endowments (though again, it’s a good place to start). Ecosocialists must quickly offer a more holistic explanation that centers round the operation of capitalism and therefore helps to explain why Obama isn’t our ally and why we need an entirely different society.
Everything about the world is driving people toward a socialist critique of the ecological crisis and the need to form alliances with workers to take on the system, rather than Democrats and billionaires.
To that end, the Ecosocialist Contingent is hosting the Ecosocialist Conference on Saturday, April 20, 2013 in New York City. We are looking for groups who agree with the Ecosocialist Statement to endorse, build and participate. The conference, like the February 17th action, represents a move to a more collaborationist left. We hope this conference and this network of left groups and publications grow into something visible enough to attract thousands of new activists towards socialism and powerful enough to push the climate justice movement toward revolutionary conclusions.

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