Art and Class: Dissociation in Cultural Production

In 2006, even before the financial crisis, critic and art historian Claire Bishop claimed that art was making a ‘social turn.’ Since, as inequality continues to deepen, we have seen Occupy-offshoot Arts & Labor avow to represent ‘art workers and the 99%,’ and high art magazine Frieze hire union labor for its annual festival after […]

Class Struggle in North America: A Panel Discussion on Continental Crucible: Big Business, Workers and Unions in the Transformation of North America. 2nd edition, 2015

The neoliberal offensive of big business in North America has created more inequality, more poverty, and fewer rights for workers in all three countries — Canada, Mexico, and the United States. The increased continental integration of the labor market and production processes has been part of this process of deepening the rights of capital and […]

Fiction and the Crafting of Alternative Class Imaginaries in the US

Our panel presents three accounts of the role of radical fiction-writing in critiquing and imagining alternatives to dominant master-narratives. In “One Worker’s Utopia is Another’s….” Jim Catano shows how 19th century Utopian visions such as Edward Bellamy’s “industrial armies” (Looking Backward) attempt to address the “sweat = bread” dictum by considering 1) kinds of work […]

Fighting Inequality in the Progressive Era

As inequality—of income, wealth, and power—has mounted in the contemporary United States, we have heard calls for a “new Progressive Era.” In 2009, the New America Foundation’s Phillip Longman and Roy Boshara called for a new era of anti-monopoly politics and social interventionism in a book they called The Next Progressive Era. In November 2011, […]

The Spirit of Youth and the City Streets: Teenagers, Rebellion, and Social Change

In 2014, following the lead of Republican lawmakers nationwide, the school board of Jefferson County, Colorado announced plans to re-shape its Advanced Placement (AP) US history curriculum to “promote patriotism” and “respect for authority,” while downplaying inequality and discouraging civil disobedience. In response, hundreds of students at several area high schools put civil disobedience back […]

Saving Public Postal Service: How Did This Become an Issue in the U.S. Today, and Where Do We Go From Here?

This panel examines the period from 1970 to the present. In March 1970 over 200,000 postal workers nationwide went on strike, won a living wage and full collective bargaining rights with the U.S. Postal Service–to the present, where a financial crisis has cut jobs and service. Multi-media presentations are by researchers who are also postal […]

Organizing around Race, Class, and Community Empowerment in DC

This panel will include leaders from three DC-based community organizations, Jennifer Bryant from ONE DC, Nikki Lewis from DC Jobs with Justice, and Parisa Norouzi of Empower DC, and will be chaired by Maurice Jackson, who is currently writing a history of Black DC. It will focus on the challenges and opportunities facing DC organizers […]