Creative Alternatives to Capitalism Conference

Creative Alternatives to Capitalism Conference

05/23/2014 - 05/24/2014
All Day

May 23 and 24, 2014.

Elebash Recital Hall, Graduate Center, CUNY,
Rose Auditorium, Cooper Union


 Working Program

Day 1 (Elebash Recital Hall, Graduate Center, CUNY) 

10:00-10:20 Welcome

David Harvey

10:30-12:00 PANEL: Solidarity Economies

Meliha Safri, moderator; Marguerite Mendell, Mike Menser; Craig Borowiak

12:00-1:00 LUNCH

1:00-2:30 PANEL: Labor

Sujatha Fernandes, Ruth Milkman, reps from Domestic Workers United, Taxi Workers’ Union,(Rachel LaForest, RTTC?)

2:30-4:00 PANEL: Housing

(Rob Robinson, organizer); Gabriella Rendon, moderator; Jaron Benjamin, Council on Housing;  Lahni Rahman, (Common Law NYC?): Manissa Maharwal, GC, anti-eviction network, Max Rameau, Take Back the Land


6:00-8:00 PANEL: the Contradictions of AntiCapitalism  (W(h)ither the State?)

David Harvey, TBA


Day 2 (Rose Auditorium, Cooper Union)

12:00-1:30 PANEL: Living Sin Patron – The Recuperation of Life & Work

Marina Sitrin, CPCP, moderator;

Claudia Acuña, the co-author of Sin Patron, a book that records and describes the hundreds of recuperated workplaces in Argentina, and member of a self-organized magazine and website as well as café/bar in Argentina ( Punto de Encuentro);

XX from New Era Windows (formerly Chicago Window and Doors) a workplace that was occupied by the workers and is now owned and run collectively, using assemblies and directly democratic decision making;

Debbie Litsa, from Greece, who has participated in a number of autonomous and self organized projects, from  the Solidarity Clinic, a free medical clinic run horizontally, with patients and staff making decisions together to the Solidarity Initiative supporting the workers of Vio.Me, as well as the organizing against the privatization of water and the land in the region around Thessaloniki.

Sin Patron (without a boss) describes a new social creation taking place around the world. Coined by people in the recuperated workplace movement in Argentina, it has come to mean not only working literally without bosses and hierarchy, but represents a new way of relating based on solidarity and the creation of a value system outside the framework of capitalist value production. This new way of working and relating is taking place in everything from metal and print shops, hotels and restaurants to emergent self-organized groups and collectives, from Argentina, Brazil and Greece, to Chicago in the US.

1:30-3:00 PANEL: Envisioning the Urban Union

Miguel Robles-Duran, Teodor Celakoski, (Andrew Ross?)

3:30-4:30 PANEL: Commoning  

George Caffentsis, Peter Linebaugh

4:30-6:00 PANEL: Food, Land and Energy Struggles

Rob Robinson, moderator; someone from MABY, ‘Dinma Nwanye-Ajanaku, SERAC, someone from La Via Campesina; Anuradha Talwar, (Miloon Kothari, former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing).

6:00-7:00 PANEL: Alternative Cities

David Harvey, Miguel Robles Duran

7:30-10:00: Gathering at 16 Beaver: Commoning

Sponsored by The Center for Place, Culture and Politics, Graduate Center, CUNY; Office of Public Programs, Graduate Center, CUNY; Advanced Research Collective, Graduate Center, CUNY; Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art; National Strategy Center for the Right to Territory (CENEDET), Ecuador



Mass Incarceration, Deportation, Stop and Frisk: The Urban Ecology of the Prison-Industrial Complex

5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
LaGuardia Community College

Please join the Social Science Department in welcoming
Professor Ruth Wilson Gilmore to
LaGuardia Community College  (room E-501) on
Tuesday, May 6th from 5-7 pm.


Dr. Gilmore will be presenting the third annual Robert Fitch Memorial Lecture in room E-501.

Her talk is entitled: “Mass Incarceration, Deportation, Stop and Frisk: The Urban Ecology of the Prison-Industrial Complex.”

 Doug Henwood will introduce Dr. Gilmore.

LaGuardia is located in Long Island City.
31-10 Thomson Avenue

By Subway:
7 train to 33rd Street station
7, E, M, G trains to Court Square station

Ruth Wilson Gilmore is Professor of Earth & Environmental Sciences, and American Studies, and Director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics, at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York; she is also a Visiting Professor at the Maumaus School of Visual Arts in Lisbon. Her prize-winning book is Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California, published in 2007. In a front-page review, the San Francisco Chronicle said “Now, if you want to understand why progressive California leads the Western world with its regressive system of punishment, Gilmore’s “Golden Gulag” is the first must-read book of the 21st century.” Recent publications include “Race, capitalist crisis, and abolitionist organizing: an interview” with Jenna M. Loyd (in Loyd et al., eds, Beyond Walls and Cages, 2012), “What is to be Done?” American Quarterly June 2011; and “Forgotten Places and the Seeds of Grassroots Planning” (in Hale, ed., Engaging Contradictions, 2009).

Doug Henwood edits the “Left Business Observer,” a newsletter he founded in 1986. He is also a contributing editor of The Nation, and hosts a radio weekly program on KPFA (Berkeley). His book Wall Street was published by Verso in June 1997 and is now available for free download. His latest book, After the New Economy, was published in 2003 by The New Press. He is working on a book about the current American ruling class, “whoever that might be.”

Robert Fitch taught as an adjunct faculty member in the Social Science department at LaGuardia Community College between 1993 and 2011.  Dr. Fitch was an inspirational and versatile teacher who taught many different courses in two disciplines: Sociology and Political Science. In addition to LaGuardia, he taught at NYU, John Jay and Long Island University. Dr. Fitch was also a prolific writer and a tireless activist. He is best known for his 1993 book, The Assassination of New York, as well as his 2006 book, Solidarity for Sale: How Corruption Destroyed the Labor Movement and Undermined America’s Promise. This lecture is being delivered in honor of his memory.

Putting the Law In Its Place – Reflections On the Queer Political Project In India

5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Room C204

Wednesday, April 30th
5:00 – 7:00 pm
Room C204, CUNY GC

Akshay Khanna works at the intersections of anthropology, activism, theatre and development indiapraxis. S/he has been associated with the Queer movement in India and elsewhere for over 15 years, has worked as a human rights lawyer, focusing on issues arising out of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and contributed to drafting the law against domestic violence in India. Akshay is currently a Research Fellow with the Participation, Power and Social Change team at the IDS, and the convenor of the Sexuality and Development Programme. S/he has been centrally involved in developing a programme of work and an intellectual agenda around ‘Unruly Politics’ along with colleagues and students at the IDS.


Co-Sponsored by: Political Science Program; Anthropology Program; Sociology Program; The Center for Place, Culture and Politics; The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies; Women’s Studies Certificate Program; QUNY and the Social and Political Student Theory Association (SPTSA).

Food Justice, Food Sovereignty: Building Global Solidarity towards a Just Food System

Food Justice, Food Sovereignty: Building Global Solidarity towards a Just Food System

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Room 9204

Emerging from the Civil Rights Movement, Food Justice embodies the struggles of local communities in the United States for racial justice in the food system. Outside the US, peasants and indigenous people defend the idea of Food Sovereignty, the right of local communities to define their own food policies – what to plant and what to eat. Despite their different origins, both Food Justice and Food Sovereignty represent the goal of moving towards a more Just Food System.

Commons Against and Beyond Capitalism

Commons Against and Beyond Capitalism

5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Room 9205

The concept of “The Commons” has become ubiquitous in the political, economic, and even the real estate language of our time; conservatives and anarchists alike use it in their political interventions. How, then, might the term’s meaning and significance be clarified to help point beyond the capitalist horizon? On April 10, join George Caffentzis, Silvia Federici, and AK Thompson to discuss this question.

Transnational Movement Building

Transnational Movement Building

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Room C202

Emilio Spataro–from the Guardianes del Ibera movement, Corrientes, Argentina–joins us in a discussion on bringing students, environmental and social justice activists in the USA together with rural communities in Argentina to stop Harvard University from destroying one of the world’s largest wetlands and exploiting indigenous communities.

April 9, 2014
Room C202, CUNY GC

A reception will be held at 9:00pm in Room 6107.


The SHAME (Stop Harvard’s Argentine Mismanagement and Exploitation) Tour is coming to New York City to educate Harvard Alumni, environmental and social justice activists, as well the general public about how one the United States’ premier universities is exploiting workers, farmers and communities in Argentina.  Harvard owns two industrial forestry companies that are causing huge problems for communities in the Ibera wetlands. From environmental degradation to exploiting workers, these Harvard owned companies are having a negative impact on the area and on people’s lives.  The SHAME Tour is bringing two local activists from the area to the US to tell their story and the story of Harvard’s involvement in the area.

This event will feature Emilio Spataro, an organizer working with local farmers and low-income people in Corrientes Argentina and Adrian Obregon, a resident of Montaña who is a leader in the local small producers association and a liaison to the larger Argentine campesino movement. This event is being organized and facilitated by Paul Getsos a long-time organizer and author who met Emilio and other leaders from Corrientes, when he was on a Ford Foundation/Social Justice Infrastructure Grant studying social movements in Argentina.  The event is co-sponsored by the Responsible Endowment Coalition (REC).

Book Launch: New Labor in New York

Book Launch: New Labor in New York

4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Sociology Lounge, Room 6112

Join Ruth Milkman in celebrating the launch of her new edited volume, New Labor in New York: Precarious Workers and the Future of the Labor Movement.

BDS and Academic Freedom

BDS and Academic Freedom

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Skylight Conference Room, 9th Floor

Panelists: Professor Bill Mullen (Purdue), Radhika Sainath (Palestine Solidarity Legal Support), Sherry Wolf (International Socialist Review), Professor Ashley Dawson (College of Staten Island/Graduate Center, CUNY)

Moderator: Christopher Stone (Hunter/Graduate Center, CUNY)

April 2, 2014
Room C202-205, CUNY GC

This event will be livestreamed and recorded here:


Following the official endorsement of the American Studies Association of the call from Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israel, concerns over “academic freedom” have been repeatedly invoked as reasons to oppose academic boycotts. Moreover, official statements by university presidents, attempts by New York, Maryland state legislatures, and now the US Congress, to outlaw such political affiliations demand that the significance of “academic freedom” and its functionality in the US university system be interrogated and reaffirmed.

This panel discussion specifically addresses the question of academic freedom and political affiliation from the different perspectives of academics and activists working with and around BDS in the US academe today. Panelists interrogate how the pursuit of “academic freedom” has been used to both open and close debate, how it frames the call for solidarity with Palestinian students and scholars, structures relationships with dissenting opinions, and how it applies in a US university system increasingly dependent on a contingent workforce of graduate students and adjunct labor.

Professor Bill Mullen is Professor of American Studies and English at Purdue.  He is a member of the Advisory Board for USACBI (United States Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel) and faculty adviser to Purdue Students for Justice in Palestine.

Radhika Sanaith is a staff attorney at Palestine Solidarity Legal Support and Cooperating Counsel at the Center for Constitutional Rights. She is a contributor and co-editor of Peace Under Fire: Israel / Palestine and the International Solidarity Movement (Verso 2004).

Sherry Wolf  
is associate editor of the International Socialist Review, a member of Adalah-NY, the NY Campaign for the Boycott of Israel, and Queers Against Israeli Apartheid. She is also the author of Sexuality and Socialism: History, Politics and Theory of LGBT Liberation (Haymarket 2009).

Professor Ashley Dawson is Professor of English at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center and at the College of Staten Island/CUNY.  He is the author of Mongrel Nation: Diasporic Culture and the Making of Postcolonial Britain (Michigan, 2007) and co-editor of Dangerous Professors: Academic Freedom and the National Security Campus (Michigan, 2009), among others. He is also the editor of Social Text Online and of the AAUP’s Journal of Academic Freedom.

Co-sponsored by: The Adjunct Project; American Studies Certificate Program; the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics; Critical Palestine Studies Association; Haymarket Books; International Socialist Organization at the Graduate Center; Latino and Latin-American Students Association (AELLA); Middle Eastern Studies Organization (MESO); Mise en Scene; Post-Colonial Studies Group; RevAmStudies Group; QUNY; Social and Political Theory Students’ Association; the Space Time Research Collective; and Thought Club.

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