The CPCP Annual Conference 2023: The State. Abolitionist? Fascist? Communist? Bourgeois?

Friday, May 5th 6PM – 8:30PM 
Saturday, May 6th 10:30AM – 6PM 
The People’s Forum
320 W 37th Street (between 8th and 9th)
New York, NY 10018 

Register for Day 1 (in person only):
Register for Day 2 (in person or livestream:

To join Day 2 of the conference over livestream, click here.

The State. Abolitionist? Fascist? Communist? Bourgeois?

In imagining and forging the future there is much talk of the state, but often with little detail.  What should public goods consist of, and how might they be organized? Can the need for coercion (eg to pay taxes for public goods) be realized without the carceral and its underlying apparatuses of organized violence? What forms of sovereignty and its delegation (above or below) are possible and desirable?  We are particularly interested in lessons from people struggling for resource sovereignty in the global south — across the entire scope of dispossession: land, water, housing, freedom to move or stay put. We are also interested in creative approaches to reflecting on the state — including fiction, film, visual and aural arts.

6:00PM: The Measures Taken, written by Bertolt Brecht
staging and concept: Jurrell Lewis and Lucas Kane
directed by Lucas Kane
performers: Malachi Brown, Ava Kaplan, Nashwa Zaman, Adi Blaustein Rejto, Kaiden Talesh
Music: Malachi Brown and Livia Reiner
costumes: Willa Schwabsky and Zelda Mazor-Freedman
set design: Eliza Williamson
Painting: Adi Blaustein Rejto

10:30-10:50 Welcome and inspiration

10:50-12:40 Time Future From Time Past: Lessons From Kerala
Mythri Prasad-Aleyamma, Nissim Mannathukkaren, and Rekha Raj

12:45-2:45 Municipal Futures
Kazembe Balagun, Maliha Safri, Miguel Robles-Durán, and Josep Bohigas Arnau

2:45-3:45 Lunch by The People’s Cafe

3:45-5:35 Leftism Resurgent: Latin America’s Pink Tide
Raquel Rolnik, Carolina Bank Muñoz, and Gianpaolo Baiocchi

6:00 Closing roundtable
Ruth Wilson Gilmore, David Harvey and others

About the speakers:

Gianpaolo Baiocchi is a sociologist and an ethnographer interested in questions of politics and culture, critical social theory, and cities. He has written about and continues to research instances of actually existing civic life and participatory democracy. His most recent work is Popular Democracy: The Paradox of Participation (Stanford University Press, 2016), which he co-authored with Ernesto Ganuza. The Civic Imagination: Making a Difference in American Political Life (co-authored with Elizabeth Bennett, Alissa Cordner, Stephanie Savell, and Peter Klein; Paradigm Publishers, 2014) examines the contours and limits of the democratic conversation in the US today. He is also the author, along with Patrick Heller and Marcelo K. Silva, of Bootstrapping Democracy: Experiments in Urban Governance in Brazil (Stanford University Press, 2011) and Militants and Citizens: Local Democracy on a Global Stage in Porto Alegre (Stanford University Press, 2005). He is the editor of Radicals in Power: Experiments in Urban Democracy in Brazil (Zed Press, 2003). An engaged scholar, Baiocchi was one of the founders of the Participatory Budgeting Project and continues to work with groups improving urban democracy. He heads Gallatin’s Urban Democracy Lab, which launched in 2014 and which provides a space for scholars and practitioners to collaborate and exchange ideas for cultivating just, sustainable, and creative urban futures.

Carolina Bank Muñoz‘s work focuses on immigration, labor, work, and Latin America. She is most recently the co-author of A People’s Guide to New York City with Penny Lewis and Emily Tumpson Molina (UC Press 2022). Her previous books include Walmart in the Global South with Bridget Kenny and Antonio Stecher (University of Texas Press 2018), Building Power from Below: Chilean Workers Take on Walmart (Cornell ILR 2017) and Transnational Tortillas: Race, Gender and Shop Floor Politics in Mexico and the United States (Cornell ILR 2008), which was awarded the Terry Book prize. Her current research project looks at Black migration to Chile and the politics of national identity. Apart from scholarly endeavors, she is Chair of her union chapter at Brooklyn College and is also active with the Immigrant Student Success Office (ISSO).

Josep Bohigas holds a degree in Architecture from the ETSAB (UPC), an Official Master’s Degree in Communication and Design from Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), and studied at the AAD Master’s program from Columbia University.

He is an associate professor at the ETSAB, co-director of the Master’s degree in Lighting Design at the UPC Foundation, and a guest lecturer at various universities around the world.

He was co-director of the BOPBAA Architecture studio from 1991 to 2015, winning various architectural competitions and building several projects including the extension to the Thyssen Museum in Madrid, a Housing block in the Forum area in Barcelona and the El Molino theatre in Barcelona. He has received several awards for professional recognition in Architecture and Design, including three FAD awards (1998, 2000, 2007) and three City of Barcelona awards (2007, 2014, 2016).

Throughout these years of teaching and working professionally, he has as well, directed and curated many cultural activism programmes, including Barraca Barcelona 2003, APTM 2005, EME3 2009, Arquitectes de Capçalera 2014 and Piso Piloto 2015, which have examined and highlighted new solutions to the housing problem.

Since January 2016, he is the general manager of the Urban Development Agency Barcelona Regional.

Ruth Wilson Gilmore is director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics. She writes about racial capitalism; organized violence; organized abandonment; changing state structure; the aesthetics and  politics of seeing; labor and social movements; and the urgency of abolition as a green, red, and internationalist project of liberation. Gilmore is author of Abolition Geography: Essays Towards Liberation (Verso 2022); and Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California (UC Press 2007); and, co-edited with Paul Gilroy, Stuart Hall: Selected Writings on Race and Difference. (Duke 2021). Change Everything: Racial Capitalism and the Case for Abolition is forthcoming from Haymarket. Gilmore’s internationalist work features in the Antipode documentary Geographies of Racial Capitalism with Ruth Wilson Gilmore (2020). She co-founded many grassroots organizations. Awards include the 2020 Lannan Cultural Freedom Prize (shared with Angela Y. Davis, and Mike Davis), and the 2022  Marguerite Casey Freedom Scholar Prize.

David Harvey is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Geography at the City University of New York (CUNY) and author of various books, articles, and lectures. His most recent books are A Companion to Marx’s Grundrisse (Verso, 2023) and The Anti-Capitalist Chronicles (Pluto Press, 2020). He is the author of Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism (Profile Books, 2014), one of The Guardian’s Best Books of 2011, The Enigma of Capital and the Crises of Capitalism (Oxford University Press, 2010). Other books include A Companion to Marx’s Capital, Limits to Capital, and Social Justice and the City. Professor Harvey has been teaching Karl Marx’s Capital for nearly 40 years. His lectures on Marx’s Volumes I and II are available for download (free) on his website. He was director of the Center for Place, Culture and Politics from 2008-2014. Follow him on Twitter.

Nissim Mannathukkaren is Associate Professor in the International Development Studies Department at Dalhousie University, Canada. His main research interests are focused on nationalism, post-truth, Left/communist movements, development and democracy, modernity, Marxism, and the politics of popular culture, with a geographical focus on India. He is the author of two books, Communism, Subaltern Studies, and Postcolonial Theory: The Left in South India (Routledge, 2021) and The Rupture with Memory: Derrida and the Specters that Haunt Marxism (Navayana, 2006). His research has been published in journals such as the Modern Asian Studies, Citizenship Studies, Journal of Peasant Studies, Third World Quarterly, Journal of Critical Realism, International Journal of the History of Sport, Economic and Political Weekly, Dialectical Anthropology, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, and Sikh Formations. He is an op-ed columnist in the Indian English-language press.

Mythri Prasad-Aleyamma is a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She received her Ph.D. from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her research focuses on the politics of labor, migration, and urban transformation in contemporary India. It traces the different types of recruitment of migrant and local labor in Kerala that reflect political contests and settlements between trade unions, corporate construction companies, and recruitment agencies. Another strand of her research focuses on the politics of indigeneity in Arunachal Pradesh in the North-East of India in the context of urban land governance, dam building, and migration. She has published articles and essays in Antipode,Contemporary South Asia, Society and Space magazine,and Economic and Political Weekly.

Miguel Robles-Durán is an Associate Professor of Urbanism and Chair of the graduate urban programs at The New School / Parsons School of Design in New York City. He co-directs the transnational urban consultancy Urban Front and the NYC/Rotterdam based design cooperative Cohabitation Strategies (CohStra). Since 2020 he hosts Cities After… a bi-weekly podcast and YouTube program about the capitalist contradictions of our urban world that reaches an audience of over 330,000 listeners, produced by Democracy at Work (d@w). He has authored and co-authored numerous publications about capitalism and urbanization. Robles-Durán has developed over a dozen urban advocacy projects in Europe, North and South America, his work has been exhibited in multiple venues around the world, including The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), MAK Museum Vienna, La Biennale di Venezia, the Istanbul Design Biennial, the Shenzhen Biennial, Chicago Architecture Biennial, the Rotterdam Biennial, and the Lisbon Architecture Triennial.

Raquel Rolnik is a professor, architect and urban planner, with over 35 years of scholarship, activism and practical experience in planning, urban land policy and housing issues. Based in São Paulo, she is a professor at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism of the University of São Paulo and currently the head of Design and Planning Department. In her career, she has held various government positions including Director of the Planning Department of the city of São Paulo (1989-1992) and National Secretary for Urban Programs of the Brazilian Ministry of Cities (2003-2007) as well as NGO activities, such as Urban Policy Coordinator of the Polis Institute (1997-2002). From May 2008, Ms. Raquel Rolnik was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council as UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing for a six years mandate, ending June 2014. Since 2019 she organized a Research Action Lab (LabCidade), based in FAUUSP, were a Observatory of Evictions is one of the main projects. The project includes a permanent cartography of evictions which are taking place in metropolitan São Paulo as well as the building of a network of organizations around both making visible those processes, advocating for compliance with the right to adequate housing and imagining alternative planning and projects (observatoriode She is author of several books, including Urban Warfare: Housing and Cities in the Age of Finance (Verso 2018) and A Cidade e a Lei (studio Nobel), and São Paulo Historia Conflito e Territorio (Tres Estrelas) among others. She has a blog, a weekly radio program, and a permanent presence in public debate on housing and urban Brazil.

Maliha Safri is a professor in the economics department at Drew University. Her research has focused on class and political economy, and in particular the ways that people engage in collective practices in work, housing, and food.  She has published articles in SignsAntipodeRethinking Marxismthe Economist’s Voice, Organization, and edited books. Maliha Safri was also a recipient of a National Science Foundation grant, and has a forthcoming co-authored book (Solidarity Cities: Confronting Racial Capitalism and Mapping Transformation) on that research on urban solidarity economies in the U.S.

About the performers:

Malachi Brown (he/him) is a cellist and composer born and raised in Norfolk, Virginia. Malachi studied music composition and cello performance at Old Dominion University and Ithaca College. Currently, Malachi plays with Protestra, and Sound Off: Music for Bail; he also manages and performs with the Atrium Quartet. In addition to his musical activities, Malachi is a film and theater actor. Malachi currently resides in New York City.

Ava Kaplan (she/her) is a librarian at Bronx Community College and a member of the PSC-CUNY union.

Lucas Kane (he/she/they) is a brooklyn-based film and theater maker. In 2019 and 2020, he worked as an assistant director to Peter Brook at the Bouffes du Nord Theater on the productions of Why? and La Tempête. Since then, their focus has been on using theater as a means to facilitate political discussion, producing works in non-traditional settings for a range of audiences on the left.

Livia Reiner (she/her) is a songwriter and performer who has worked with Overtone Industries (LA) Annie Dorsen (NY) and Leslie Buxbuam Danzig. Her original work can be found on bandcamp.

Adi Blaustein Rejto (they /she) is a painter, paint maker, and performer. Adi is currently an MFA candidate at Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts and an organizer with the Adjunct Faculty Union-AFT at Rutgers.

Kaiden Talesh (he/they) is an actor, parent, and organizer based in Brooklyn NY.

Nashwa Zaman (she/her) is an artist, filmmaker, performer and arts community facilitator based in NYC.

This event is organized and sponsored by the Center for Place, Culture and Politics at the Graduate Center, CUNY, and cosponsored by The Center for The Humanities at the Graduate Center, CUNY and The People’s Forum. It is free and open to the public.