Monday Night — 02.06.06 — state of the unions — for more years series

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Monday Night — 02.06.06 — state of the unions — for more years series
1. About this Monday Night
2. NYU/GSOC grad student strike — link to Radio show
3. About CAMEL
4. About Sarah Hines
5. Useful Links to Unions and World Social Forum
6. Useful links Transit Workers Strike
7. About “For More Years” Series
1. About this Monday Night
What: Discussion
Where: 16 Beaver Street, 4th floor (directions below)
When: Monday Night 02.06.06 @ 7:30 PM
Who: Open To All
1. What is the present state of New York City?
2. What can we do about it?
We would like to take the occasion of Bloomberg’s speech last week, and Bush’s this week to assess our present.
Whether it is a mayor easily buying his way to a second term (with little public outcry), failures to stop the green tides of gentrification in any number of neighborhoods, the NYU’s aggressive handling of the GSOC strike, or the tabloid vilification of TWU workers.
New York is not alright.
As it increasingly becomes a playground for primarily the rich (rich artists among them), we would ask our friends jetting back from Davos for a mini-forum on the city without invoking it in isolation. Instead, how might artists and other cultural producers involved in an increasingly professionalized global art circuit engage the concept of locality in a productive or positive manner?
It seems especially apparent following the RNC in 2004 there is a great degree of politicized desire on the part of many, but an equal degree of disorganization. At the same time activism has a thematic foothold in many gallery practices, grassroots organizing is most often rehearsed cynically as a symbolic gesture. What do we (who read these emails) really want and what would it mean to formulate those demands, to really ask for them? How might artists/cultural workers/your term here plug-in to other struggles at a moment when art is a major component of the urban redevelopment scheme of
“open for business” New York?
The discussion could take a number of turns. Since New York presents itself as “the world’s second home” this is obviously a global conversation.
This Monday is organized together with CAMEL.
2. NYU/GSOC grad student strike — link to Radio show
Here’s the link to a one hour radio show on the NYU grad student strike
which aired last Tuesday on “Global Movements, Urban Struggles” (Tuesdays
10-11 am, WBAI/Free Speech Radio News, New York 99.5 FM).
It’s got some great sound from the Jan 24th rally in support of the strike
(including Roger Toussaint from Transport Workers Union Local 100 and New
York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn), and sharp discussions with GSOC
members Jenny Shaw and Michael Palm, as well as NYU Professors Molly Nolan
and Timothy Mitchell, who put the strike into the context of larger economic
we will hopefully have some guests from the NYU/GSOC.

3. About CAMEL
CAMEL is a collective whose members are drawn from across the American and European Continents whose activities focus on the interrelations, including the tensions, between art and activism, autonomy and social intervention. Maintaining an interest in a broad range of international movements, our primary focus is the exploration of organizing artists politically on the municipal level, taking New York City as a starting point.
4. About Sarah Hines
History teacher at Jonathan Levin High School in the Bronx, anti-war
and anti-death penalty activist, member of the International Socialist
Organization, contributor to the International Socialist Review and
the Socialist Worker.
This Monday Sarah will talk about the CTV (old corrupt bosses aligned union
federation that collaborated with the coup attempt in 2002) vs. the
UNT, with a focus on the way in which activists have built the UNT,
its base, its activities including push for workers’ co-management and
self-management, and its relationship to the Bolivarian process/Chavez.
5. Useful Links to Unions and World Social Forum
spanish-language website affiliated with radicals inside the UNT
very useful english-language website
that has many articles about the evolving situation and events in
Venezuela, including articles about factory takeovers and the UNT.
some specific articles:
Venezuelan Workers of Occupied Factories Hold Conference
Tuesday, Oct 25, 2005
Worker Takeovers Recover Venezuelan Sovereignty from the US, Says Chavez
Saturday, Oct 29, 2005
The struggle for workers’ control at Venezuela’s CNV. A new Venepal?
Friday, Apr 08, 2005
an interview Sarah Hines conducted last summer with Gonzalo Gomez of Aporrea.org
6. Useful links Transit Workers Strike
New York City Transit Workers’ Strike and Continued Contract Negotiations:
2 Articles from the magazine Labor Notes regarding the Strike:
1. New York Transit Workers Reject Proposed Contract
by Steve Downs
2. A Transit Worker’s Perspective on the Strike and ‘No’ Vote
by Eileen Sutton
Labor Notes is a non-profit organization based in Detroit and Brooklyn which publishes a magazine and engages in other advocacy and education for labor activists and pro-democracy movements within labor unions.
More reading regarding the strike:
The Revolutionary Transit Worker is a newsletter from within TWU 100 providing news and analysis of contract negotiations and criticism of the union’s leadership.
7. About “For More Years” Series
What is meant by the injunction, “Four More Years”? 4 more years of what? 4 years for whom? Why not 10 or 16 more years? And what of the 4 or 12 years which just passed? The series will address what we or our invited guests deem to be critical questions confronting cultural activists today.
What if anything can be learned from the past 5 years? If we assumed that behind the “Defeat Bush” agenda rested a tremendous potential for socio-political transformation, what can be made of this potential post “victory,” today? Thus, the series will with modest steps examine the future of activism, media criticism, and critical cultural practice especially at a moment when “culture” is being explicitly recognized by the right and the left as the key terrain in the struggle for hegemony. It will consider plans and proposals as well as analyses of past interventions (including of course all of the sweat and ink spilled over the past 4 years about art and defeating bush). It will also traverse philosophical questions pertaining to mourning, resistance (again), revolution (?), and the status of the image and representation in this war without end, in our current, open-ended, state of exception.