SLU professor Frances Fox Piven has been no stranger to press in her 86 years — many of which have been spent as a rabble-rousing leftist activist and respected leftist intellectual. Last week, Prof. Piven got yet one more feature to add to the list: a NYTimes profile by Alex Traub that describes her role in an evolving left, and the leadership she’s providing to a new generation of activists:
“She’s someone whose body of work shows that you don’t have to drift off into this La-La Land of intellectualism,” [Jacobin editor Micah] Uetricht said. “People should be going on strike. People should be withdrawing their labor power or causing chaos in society. That’s where their power comes from.”
Probably the most influential vector for Ms. Piven’s ideas is the social-justice incubator Momentum, a training program for progressives that formed in 2014.
Trainees include members of the Sunrise Movement, whose occupation of Ms. Pelosi’s office with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sparked conversation about the Green New Deal. It was just the sort of disruption Ms. Piven advocates.
“What tactics we use is exactly the question that Piven is addressing,” said Lissy Romanow, 35, Momentum’s executive director. Part of Ms. Piven’s appeal, she said, came from her view that social movements are required for big left-wing victories — a perspective suited to a generation disillusioned with liberal business as usual.
The Times article focuses on Dr. Piven’s reverential status among labor organizers and activists, and how she has influenced the current progressive movement — which it says is “full of Pivenites.” In July, she will be headlining the Socialism2019 Conference “No Borders, No Bosses, No Binaries”, to be held in Chicago.
As the 2020 presidential election approaches, what do progressives hope to see from candidates when it comes to foreign policy? On Friday, May 10th, members of the SLU community and beyond gathered to explore the tricky of how to develop a foreign policy that makes sense for the current world and keeps true to progressive values.
The conversation brought together Katrina vanden Heuvel, Publisher of The Nation, and Aziz Rana, Professor of Law at Cornell University, with the New Labor Forum’s Steve Fraser moderating.
Progressive activists and political leaders in the U.S. have been slow to elaborate a vision regarding foreign policy. Although anti-interventionism and support for decreases in military spending are widely shared stances on the left, they do not comprise a comprehensive foreign policy platform.
What accounts for the lack of attention toward developing a progressive foreign policy platform? What principles and policies would make up such a platform? What would a non-imperial vision of the U.S. in the world look like? What current alliances would such a platform call into question? What are the current possibilities and the substantial obstacles to advancing a contemporary progressive vision for foreign policy? What can we expect from the growing progressive wing of Congressional Democrats?
The New Labor Forum has a bi-weekly newsletter on current topics in labor, curated by the some of the most insightful scholars and activists in the labor world today. Check out some highlights from the latest edition below.
This installment of New Labor Forum Highlights brings a sneak peek at the May 2019 issue just before it rolls off press. In the cover article, linked here, Nick Serpe assess whether millennials, indeed, constitute a political category. Not since the 1960s has a cohort of young people felt so drawn to a radical critique of American society. Back then it was a college age population growing up in a period of post-war prosperity. Today, it’s a somewhat older cohort in their mid-twenties to thirties, coming of age in far more austere circumstances. In both cases, however, a sizeable fraction of American youth did and are now again concluding that something is profoundly wrong in the “homeland.” Demographics don’t lie. But what we make of them is not so straight-forward. Generational analysis is a tricky business that Serpe explores to unravel the enigma.
Also linked here, you’ll find a poem from the May issue by Javier Zamora, who left El Salvador as an “unaccompanied minor,” wholly dependent on the aid of an MS13 member to cross the U.S./Mexico border. Zamora survived the dangerous passage and the tenuous existence of an undocumented child in the U.S., and has gone on to become an award-winning poet.
We hope you’ll decide to support New Labor Forum by subscribing to the print and/or online journal, and thereby gain full access to articles, columns, reviews, and poetry essential grappling with the contemporary “labor question” writ large.
Table of Contents
Beyond Generational Politics: Do Millennials Constitute a Political Category?/ Nick Serpe, New Labor Forum
“Second Attempt Crossing”/ Javier Zamora, New Labor Forum
Photo features Diversity Scholarship recipients from 2017 plus staff.
In 2012 the Murphy Institute launched a scholarship program designed to promote diversity in union leadership and labor education. The Joseph S. Murphy Diversity in Labor Scholarship program awards two-year scholarships of up to $30,000 for graduate students and up to $20,000 for undergraduate students. The scholarship is available to students applying to the M.A. in Labor Studies program, or the B.A. in Urban and Community Studies program with a concentration in labor studies.
This year, for the first time, the Diversity Scholarship is being celebrated as a signature program of the new CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies. The 2019 fundraiser and awards gala will take place on Thursday, May 23rd from 5:30-7:30 PM at the School. Bhairavi Desai, Executive Director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, will be the guest speaker. The event will also feature the announcement of the 2019 Rising Leaders and the recipients of the 2019-20 scholarship awards.
SLU’s Worker Education in collaboration with the Tech Incubator at Queens College and iQ4 is offering a free four-session course “Threat Within: Cybersecurity Virtual Internship Case Study” in summer 2019.
This cybersecurity applied learning course is a non credit course, free of charge, to the SLU students and staff. The course is not highly technical and is designed to introduce students regardless of their major to cybersecurity, as an academic discipline and a career alternative.
This is an opportunity for students to develop/enhance their soft skills using cybersecurity as the use case. Students will be working in teams and presenting their weekly assignments to iQ4 volunteer, industry mentors.
Students will receive an iQ4 Certificate of Completion, upon completing the four session course, along with a Skills Passport, and a online next gen resume from iQ4.
After last month’s economic democracy conference at SLU, new ideas and conversations are bubbling up in New York City and beyond. How can we implement some of our best ideas about democratizing our workplaces and our economy?
Last Friday I went into the city for a daylong conference on Economic Democracy and System Change at CUNY’s School of Labor and Urban Studies. Deputy Mayor Philip Thompson opened the day with a talk about why we need economic democracy, how economic democracy differs from the socialism and social democracy of the twentieth century, and what the city is doing to promote it.Continue reading Notes on Our Economy→
A conversation about workers, communities and social justice