Shelter and Solidarity: A Deep Dive with Artists and Activists

75 Years After Hiroshima with Avi Chomsky, Marie Cruz Soto, Joseph Gerson & Gar Alperovitz, August 6, 2020

Avi Chomsky, Marie Cruz Soto, Joseph Gerson & Gar Alperovitz consider the legacy of the Hiroshima, its roots in Empire and colonial rivalries. They also examine resistance to empire from Vieques to Okinawa and across diasporas and homelands. Joe Ramsey hosts the conversation he co-produced with Linda Liu, Kira Moodliar, Suren Moodliar and Tim Sheard. The episode is sponsored by Hardball Press, the Community Church of Boston, Socialism and Democracy, and encuentro5.

Elections, Democracy, & the Left with Victor Wallis & Medea Benjamin, July 30, 2020

This episode is a deep dive with Victor Wallis (author of Democracy Denied and Red-Green Revolution) about how the Left can and should relate to elections and to threats to democracy in the United States. Victor is joined in conversation by nationally renowned organizer Medea Benjamin (Code Pink).

What are the opportunities and dangers represented by the 2020 Election? Questions and issues explored include: how should socialists relate to the Republican and Democratic Parties? To third party efforts? What can we learn from history in terms of how the Left can effectively engage the electoral process without getting sucked into compromised politics that undermine our goals and values? What are the threats to electoral democracy in the USA today and why is it important to defend the ballot box and defeat the Right, even while recognizing the compromised nature of the Democratic Biden ticket? What needs to be done to defend democracy in the USA, via the ballot box and beyond?

Victor Wallis is a socialist scholar and long-time editor of the journal Socialism & Democracy. He is a frequent to contributor to Monthly Review, New Political Science, and Capitalism, Nature, Socialism, and is author of three books: Democracy Denied: Five Lectures on American Politics, Red-Green Revolution: The Politics and Technology of Eco-Socialism, and Socialist Practice: Histories and Theories.

In a Time of Pandemics, What Are We Watching? And Why? July 16, 2020

S&S’s second social hour explores what we are watching and/or reading these days and attempts to tease out the ‘whys.’ Other than the persistently grim march of the news, what kinds of media and narratives have we been drawn to lately? Whether it’s escapist fantasies or pandemic-themed movies, are we looking for solace, distraction, frisson, or even models for how to navigate crisis? Are there certain genres and texts we find ourselves avoiding altogether and others that we can’t help but binge in one sitting? Join us as we talk to each other about the media we are paying attention to, as well as try to understand our individual and collective motivations for doing so. With co-hosts Linda Liu and Joe Ramsey.

What Must Fall, What Must Be Built – Demita Frazier, Ross Caputi, & Suren Moodliar, July 9, 2020

Demita Frazier, Ross Caputi, and Suren Moodliar in a conversation with host Joe Ramsey about monuments and public art in a moment of rebellion. 

Condition Critical: Reports from the Hospital and Nursing Home Front Lines, April 23, 2020

In this third episode, hosts Joe Ramsey and Tim Sheard interview Tre Kwon and Jesse Martin about emergency conditions facing front line workers and those in their care. Both decry the tendency of employers and government to cut corners in pursuit of profits at the expense of those in need of care and their caregivers.

Police, Race, Labor & the Left with Cedric Johnson and Clare Hammonds, July 2, 2020

Nationally renowned scholar Cedric Johnson (author of the forthcoming book on Race, Policing and Anti-Capitalist Politics) joins us for a deep dive discussion into what comes next following the recent uprisings against police violence, and the broader state of Left politics in the US. We will also be joined by labor scholar and activist Clare Hammonds, co-editor of the new book Labor in the Time of Trump. Cedric Johnson is an associate professor of African American studies and political science at the University of Illinois at Chicago and author of From Revolutionaries to Race Leaders: Black Power and the Making of African American Politics (2007) as well as editor of The Neoliberal Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, Late Capitalism and the Remaking of New Orleans (2011). Clare Hammonds is a Professor of Practice in the Labor Resource Center of UMass Amherst. She is co-editor of the new book Labor in the Time of Trump and her research interests include union organizing, low-wage care work, and public sector labor relations.

The Battle for the Future of Higher Education; Organizing for May Day, April 30, 2020

Shelter & Solidarity show 4, a two-part episode, addresses higher education and also the organizing for May Day in a time of global pandemic and economic depression. In the first part, Joe Ramsey interviews Anna Kornbluh, Ben Manski, Barbara Madeloni, and Chris Newfield. Together they address the paradoxes of increased militancy and reduced organizational capacity. Framing the conversation is the notion of the “shock doctrine.” In this context, they provide insights into the formation of demands and its relationship to organizing. These are treated in a nuanced way and reflect different emphases and starting points for organizers. Their dialogue segues seamlessly into a broader conversation in the second part, “Organizing for May Day,” in which they are joined by Adam Kaszynski and Jonathan Feinberg. In discussing their organizing, Kaszynski and Feinberg, ground preparations for May Day in terms of the shop floor experiences of IUE-CWA Local 201 and in the immigrant and working-class communities of Lynn Massachusetts.

The Anti-Racist University? Race, Class, and Contingency in Higher Education, June 25, 2020

This episode is a panel discussion of the contradictions of anti-racist work in the University, with a particular focus on race, class, and contingency. The panel addresses the place institutions of higher education occupy in our racialized class society, assesses the official “anti-racist” strategies universities promote, and highlights the anti-racist work of on- and off-campus activism within the context of austerity, corporatization, and adjunctification.

Panelists include Southern California and community college-based adjunct union organizer Bobbi-Lee Smart (as co-host), as well as Philadelphia-based rank-and-file faculty and community organizer Wende Marshall, contingent faculty scholar of anti-racism Damon Dees, and Seattle-based adjunct activist Benedict Stork. 

Among the questions considered:

What good are public statements against racism issued from institutions ensconced in a racialized system of inequality?

How can an academy historically and presently structured by and operating through exploitation hope to address systemic racism?

How are corporate elites and neoliberal administrators (and even some faculty) responding to the current crisis in ways that perfume rather than uproot the fundamental inequalities that run through and around our colleges and universities?

What would truly egalitarian, anti-racist praxis look like for those based in higher ed ?

What are the structures of colleges and universities that need to be transformed if we are to ever realize the universalist promise of the University?

Can the University itself be reformed apart from a larger change in society?

How can and how must academic activists and organizers transform ourselves and our organizations in order to make anti-racism and social equality more than virtue signaling and corporate rhetoric?

How so might contingency itself create opportunities for organizing the increasingly precarious faculty majority--on campus and off--in ways that reconnect us to communities and struggles that for too long have been locked out of the official agenda of academic politics?

Immigrant Struggles for Justice During the COVID-19 Crisis, May 7, 2020

In our fifth episode of Shelter & Solidarity, we are scholar-activists Aviva Chomsky (author of Undocumented‘They Take Our Jobs!’ and Twenty Other Myths about Immigration), Joseph Nevins and Mizue Aizeki (co-authors of the book, Dying to Live: A Story of U.S. Immigration in an Age of Global Apartheid), as well as veteran organizerAlma De Jesus (of AF3IRM) for an urgent but deep dive into the current crisis. How can we support immigrant communities, public health, and human rights in this COVID-19 pandemic moment?

What Are We Reading? What Are We Learning? May 14, 2020

Our sixth episode is a social hour!

S&S’s first social hour! Framing questions: What book has most resonated with you during this unprecedented time, and why? Share with others what you are enjoying and what you are taking away from the text. Reading and sharing what’s valuable on the page can help us cope with–and deepen our grasp of– the challenges we face in this difficult historical period. Help us buoy spirits as well as build shields for future battles.

Books discussed include:

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