By all accounts, “Our Economy!”—the first-ever faculty conference of the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies—was an overwhelming success! More than 300 individuals attended, representing over 100 institutions and organizations. That number included dozens of SLU staff, faculty, and students. More than 50 speakers and presenters participated on 18 panels. And … an additional 500+ people viewed the livestream event on Facebook! Many connections and relationships created, fostered or were strengthened by this collaborative event.
On Friday, October 12th, members of the wider SLU community gathered to ask big questions about the future of the labor movement.
For more than a quarter century, workers and the U.S. labor movement have sustained significant setbacks, including the broad expansion of “right-to-work” conditions; the increasing use by employers of vehicles that enable them to shirk standard employer responsibilities; and the Supreme Court’s tendency to prioritize employers’ property rights over worker rights. Despite these trends, 61 percent of Americans view unions favorably; organizing and unionization among young workers is surging, with three-quarters of new union members in 2017 being under 35 years old; and 2018 saw the largest wildcat strikes in decades, with teacher walkouts in West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Arizona challenging wage stagnation and school funding cutbacks. What does this imply about the possibilities and struggles ahead for labor? What are strategic options that would enable organized labor to succeed at mass organizing and to join forces with racial and economic justice organizations to become a movement?
It was a wide-ranging and probing conversation featuring Lauren Jacobs, Deputy Director, The Partnership for Working Families; Marilyn Sneiderman, Executive Director, Center for Innovation in Worker Organization, Rutgers University;
Larry Cohen, Chair, Board of Directors, Our Revolution, former president of Communications Workers of America (CWA); Maritza Silva-Farrell, Executive Director, ALIGN NY; and SLU’s own Penny Lewis.
On Friday, September 14th, members of the SLU community came together to grapple with the vexing — and structural — questions at the heart of our politics: Can democracy be saved from the grips of capitalism? What factors most threaten meaningful civic engagement and what changes are needed to bolster our democracy and create a more equitable society?
On Friday, September 15th, members of the Murphy Institute community gathered for a discussion about gerrymandering. In light of the Supreme Court’s decision to hear Gill v. Whitford, a case that deals with the legality of partisan gerrymandering, this panel explored the history of gerrymandering and the effects of recent changes in technology, data mining, and dark money.
Missed the event or want to see it again? You can watch it here:
David Daley, author, Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy and former Editor in chief of Salon.com
Lauren Jones, National Civil Rights Counsel, Anti-Defamation League
Michael Li, Senior Counsel for the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program
Deuel Ross, Assistant Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
Jerry G. Vattamala, Director, Democracy Program, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)
Moderator:John Mollenkopf, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, CUNY Graduate School and consortial faculty, Murphy Institute
This year’s Left Forum featured a panel exploring Antonio Gramsci’s work as a major critic of capitalism. Part of a series on major critical thinkers, the panel explored how engagement with Gramsci’s work can advance and sharpen left strategies and tactics in our times. Check it out below.
Laura Flanders, The Laura Flanders Show
Kate Crehan, Professor Emerita, College of Staten Island and the Graduate Center, City University of New York
Chris Hedges, columnist for Truthdig and host of On Contact
On November 18th, the Murphy Institute hosted a forum providing an examination of the 2016 electoral season, in which working-class anxiety and rage assumed a central role. A group of prominent journalists including Laura Flanders, Harold Meyerson, Jamilah King and Julio Ricardo Varela assessed what the primaries and the general election say about the current political landscape, especially with regard to racial, gender and class voting patterns.
A conversation about workers, communities and social justice