The Sinking Middle Class with David Roediger

A presentation and discussion with author David Roediger

In the 2020 elections, both major US political parties stressed their support for the “middle class.” David Roediger corrects this in his pointed and persuasive polemic The Shrinking Middle Class. Roediger demonstrates that such an obsession is relatively new in US politics, starting with Bill Clinton’s attempt to win back the so-called Reagan Democrats, aided by legendary pollster Stanley Greenberg. Their efforts were marked by covert appeals to white racism and the avoidance of wealth redistribution — features that remain prominent to this day.

Drawing on rich traditions of radical social thought, Roediger debunks the thinly sourced idea that the United States was, for much of its history, a “middle-class” nation and the still more indefensible position that it is one now. The increasing immiseration of large swaths of middle-income America, only accelerated by the current pandemic, reveals the fallacy that is a major obstacle to progressive change.

DAVID R. ROEDIGER teaches American Studies at the University of Kansas. His books include Seizing Freedom, The Wages of Whiteness, How Race Survived U.S. History, and Towards the Abolition of Whiteness and Working toward Whiteness. His book The Production of Difference (with Elizabeth Esch) recently won the International Labor History Association Book Prize.

“Brilliant and insightful… Explores the ways in which appeals to save the middle class in electoral politics harm the very constituencies they purport to help.”
—George Lipsitz, author of How Racism Takes Place

The Brutish Museums: The Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence and Cultural Restitution

A presentation with discussion with author Dan Hicks

The story of the Benin Bronzes — carried off by the British in 1897 — sits at the heart of a heated debate about cultural restitution, repatriation and the decolonization of museums. In The Brutish Museums, Dan Hicks makes a powerful case for the urgent return of such objects, as part of a wider project of addressing the outstanding debt of colonialism.

Walk into the Met Museum on NYC’s “Museum Mile” and the curated plunder of American imperialism adorns the halls and galleries. Dan’s book calls for western museums to wash their hands of colonial bloodshed. More importantly it is a call to action for all of us — museum workers, artists, casual observers and anti-imperialist activists — to empty these palaces of plunder and simply send the looted items back.

DAN HICKS is Professor of Contemporary Archaeology at the University of Oxford and Curator at the Pitt Rivers Museum. His award-winning research focuses on the restitution of African cultural heritage from Euro-American collections, focusing on the place of ideas of cultural whiteness in ongoing histories of colonial violence.

“A startling act of conscience. An important book which could overturn what people have felt about British history, empire, civilisation, Africa, and African art. It is with books like this that cultures are saved, by beginning truthfully to face the suppressed and brutal past. It has fired a powerful shot into the debate about cultural restitution. You will never see many European museums in the same way again. Books like this give one hope that a new future is possible.” — Ben Okri

“Dan, your words brought tears to my eyes. I salute you” — MC Hammer

All events are sliding scale. No one is denied admission for inability to pay. Should you be unable to contribute at this time, please write to info@marxedproject.org to receive a code to participate in this important event.

The time stated is for 2 to 4 pm USA EST, or 7 to 9 PM GMT. Please see special offer for event plus book. 

Black Reconstruction

Black Reconstruction: An American Revolutionary Period
with the Revolutions Study Group

13-week session

Some have called the U.S. Civil War the “second American revolution” or the completion of the first American revolution. Others claim that the war of independence and Civil War were not revolutions, but had tremendous revolutionary potential. By whichever historical claim, the great social revolution of that momentous period following the Civil War was surely the “reconstruction” of social relations in the former slave states. In his groundbreaking study (1935), W.E.B. DuBois reveals that this social revolution was both initiated by slaves in the midst of the war and carried through by the emancipated Black population during and after the period when federal troops occupied the former Confederate states. DuBois is concerned to refute the multiple slanders imputed to “Reconstruction” during the counter-revolutionary “Jim Crow” period that followed and to record the real advancements of democracy and social reform made under Reconstruction and partly lost when it was defeated. We will read DuBois’ Black Reconstruction (Oxford University Press, 2007) in whole, and for more recent research, the middle part of Steven Hahn’s A Nation Under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South (Harvard University Press, 2003). Both books are readily available new and used, as e-books, and in libraries. Email to info@marxedproject.org for a reading syllabus.

THE REVOLUTIONS STUDY GROUP (originally at the Brecht Forum) has been meeting for 10 years. Individual participants have come and gone, however the group has held together, studying in depth a wide range of history including the French Revolution, the Russian Revolutions of 1905 and 1917, the Mau-Mau Revolt in Kenya, the Haitian Revolution, the European Revolutions of 1848, the May movement in France of 1968 and the Hot Autumn of Italy the following year, the Spanish Civil War, the Mexican Revolution, the Socialist (2nd) International, the German revolutionary period of 1918-1924, and the Chinese revolutionary process of the 20th Century.

The listed fees are sliding scale. No one is denied admission for inability to pay.

 

TONIGHT, FEBRUARY 11 ONLY: The class will meet at The Brooklyn Commons, 388 Atlantic Avenue. A or G trains to Hoyt-Schermerhorn stop is a short walk from this venue.

 

Moving Against the System

Moving Against the System:
The 1968 Congress of Black Writers and the Making of Global Consciousness
With editor and author David Austin

In 1968, as protests shook France and war raged in Vietnam, the giants of Black radical politics descended on Montreal to discuss the unique challenges and struggles facing their Black brothers and sisters. For the first time since 1968, David Austin brings alive the speeches and debates of the most important international gathering of Black radicals of the era.

Against a backdrop of widespread racism in the West, and colonialism and imperialism in the ‘Third World’, this group of activists, writers and political figures gathered to discuss the history and struggles of people of African descent and the meaning of Black Power.

With never-before-seen texts from Stokely Carmichael, Walter Rodney and C.L.R. James, these documents will prove invaluable to anyone interested in Black radical thought, as well as capturing a crucial moment of the political activity around 1968.

David Austin is the author of the Casa de las Americas Prize-winning Fear of a Black Nation: Race, Sex, and Security in Sixties Montreal, Moving Against the System: The 1968 Congress of Black Writers and the Making of Global Consciousness, and Dread Poetry and Freedom: Linton Kwesi Johnson and the Unfinished Revolution. He is also the editor of You Don’t Play with Revolution: The Montreal Lectures of C.L.R. James.

 

Tickets are sliding scale / No one is turned away for inability to pay

 

Black Marxism

Black Marxism: The Making of The Black Radical Tradition
Nicholas Power

Eight more sessions beginning October 18 through December 6, 7:30-9:30 pm

As always, capitalism has crises. Again, a new generation turns toward Marxism. How do we apply this wide ranging and controversial revolutionary tradition to our current times? Writer and professor, Cedric Robinson╒s magnum opus, Black Marxism will be our lodestar for this class. We will discuss Robinson’s critique of Marx’s Eurocentric frame of reference and explore how and if Marxism has value for today’s multi-cultural left which at times turns much to anarchism, whether conscious or not of the Marxist tradition. We will also cover the Marxist legacy of C.L.R. James, Langston Hughes and Richard Wright on their own and as Robinson studied their relationships to Marxism.

Nicholas Power is a poet, journalist and Associate Professor of Literature at SUNY Old Westbury. His second book The Ground Below Zero: 911 to Burning Man, New Orleans to Darfur, Haiti to Occupy Wall Street was published by Upset Press in 2013. His writings have appeared in The Indypendent, The Village Voice, Truth-Out and Alternet.

Admissions are sliding scale. We do not turn anyone away if all they can pay is less or are without the ability to pay. $10 per session.

See Something, Say Something (To Benefit Ramsey Orta)

THIS EVENT WILL BE AT VERSO’S LOFT AT 20 JAY STREET, BROOKLYN
Bearing Witness in the Age of Ongoing Police Brutality

With: Kathleen Foster, Nabil Hassein, Ramsey Orta, Josmar Trujillo and Kazembe Balagun

To “bear witness” is to speak truth in the face of power. For many, the Black Lives Matter movement and moment have been defined by everyday folks who have used the tools of social media to document police brutality. These actions have sparked protests and demands of police accountability, while developing a visual record of violence faced by communities of color.

In See Something, Say Something we take the advice of the MTA in asking how ordinary New Yorkers are using community patrols, documentaries and community mapping to make our hoods safer.

This event is a Benefit for Ramsey Orta, who videoed the police murder of Eric Garner, and is scheduled to go to jail October 3. Tonight╒s proceeds will go to Mr. Orta and his family.

Re-Discovering Fanon: Preview to a work in progress

Re-Discovering Fanon: Preview to a work in progress
An evening with outtakes and director Rico Speight

Re-Discovering Fanon will make evident Fanon’s unrelenting hatred of racism and his uncompromising determination to set forth a dialectic of disalienation in order to bring about a new humanity. Using quotes from his writings, archival footage, still images, and interviews with scholars, colleagues and family members, the documentary will probe the question, “Who was Frantz Fanon?”

Rico Speight is an independent producer/director/writer of film and theatre; he is also a film and video editor and educator. His production credits include documentaries, narratives, television productions, web productions and live theatre. His documentary, Who’s Gonna Take the Weight?, the first installment of a two part series on the parallel lives of African American and Black South African young people was released in 1997; in 1999, that documentary screened at the 52nd Cannes International Film Festival. In 2007, Speight released a follow-up production titled, Where Are They Now?, that is a sequel to Who’s Gonna Take The Weight?

For Re-Discovering Fanon, Rico traveled to Martinique in 2005 and conducted extensive research for the documentary; in November of 2007 he began actual production in Martinique, interviewing members of Fanon’s family in Fort de France. He currently lectures on film production at Sarah Lawrence College and is a freelance television studio director for CUNY Television and NYU-TV in New York City.