Frederick Douglass in Brooklyn

A presentation and discussion with editor Theodore Hamm

A collection of speeches by Frederick Douglass in Brooklyn, New York

This new volume to be published January 3, 2017, compiles original source material illustrating the complex relationship between Frederick Douglass and the city of Brooklyn. Most prominent are his speeches at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Plymouth Church, and other leading Brooklyn institutions. Whether discussing the politics of the Civil War or recounting his relationships with Abraham Lincoln and John Brown, Douglass’s towering voice sounds anything but dated. An introductory essay examines the intricate ties between Douglass and Brooklyn abolitionists, while brief chapter introductions and annotations fill in the historical context.

‘A fascinating collection of Frederick Douglass’s controversial speeches in Brooklyn, N.Y., this volume compiles original source material that illustrates the relationship between the abolitionist and the then city of Brooklyn.”
—Publishers Weekly

Theodore Hamm is chair of journalism and new media studies at St. Joseph’s College in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. His previous books include Rebel and a Cause, The New Blue Media, and Pieces of a Decade (co-edited with Williams Cole). Hamm’s writings about New York City history and politics have appeared recently in the Village Voice, Vice News, the New York Daily News, and Jacobin. He lives in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

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We Make Our Own History: On Marxism and Social Movements

We Make Our Own History: On Marxism and Social Movements in the Twilight of Neoliberalism
Talk and Discussion with Alf Gunvald Nilsen

We live in the twilight of neoliberalism: the ruling classes can no longer rule as before, and ordinary people are no longer willing to be ruled in the old way. Pursued by global elites since the 1970s, neoliberalism is defined by dispossession and ever-increasing inequality. The refusal to continue to be ruled like this — “ya basta!” — appears in an arc of resistance stretching from rural India to the cities of the global North.

We Make Our Own History — a book co-written by Laurence Cox and Alf Gunvald Nilsen — investigates this scenario through an exploration of how social movements are forging new visions of a future beyond neoliberalism and by reclaiming Marxism as a theory born from activist experience and practice. In this talk, Alf Gunvald Nilsen will discuss some of the main arguments and ideas put forward in the book with reference to changing movement landscapes in different parts of the world-system.

Alf Gunvald Nilsen is associate professor of sociology at the University of Bergen (Norway) and Visiting Senior Researcher at the Society, Work and Development Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa). He is the author of Dispossession and Resistance in India: The River and the Rage (Routledge, 2010) and the co-editor of numerous books on social movement theory and research, including Marxism and Social Movements (Brill/Haymarket, 2013) and New Subaltern Politics: Reconceptualizing Hegemony and Resistance in Contemporary India (Oxford University Press, 2015).

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The Long French Revolution in Literature and Life: 1789-1871

For Marxist and democratic historians, France remains the ‘model’ country for the analysis of class struggles and political revolutions, which overthrew the established order in 1789, 1830, 1848 and 1871 (and profoundly threatened the bourgeois order again in 1968). We will examine these successive revolutions chronologically through the eyes of both radical historians and novelists.

When considering the Sans Culottes and the French Revolution we will look at this first great revolution from the point of view, not of the “great men” who led it, but of the popular classes that made it and tried to ensure that it met the needs of the French people. Their role on the great events — the taking of the Bastille, the September

Massacres among others — will be examined using Kropotkin’s The Great French Revolution as the source text, as well as excerpts from the soon to be published translation of Jean Jaures’ A Socialist History of the French Revolution. The French Revolution was the first popular uprising to run out of steam and regress, and we will read Anatole France’s novel The Gods are Thirsty to examine these phenomena.

We will then read novels by Stendhal, Balzac and others while concurrently reading Marx’s major writings on France, Class Struggles in France, The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte and The Civil War in France. Other contemporary accounts of the revolutionary waves of France in the 19th century will be consulted.

MITCH ABIDOR is the translator of several books, including the forthcoming edition of Jean Jaures’ A Socialist History of the French Revolution and Emmanuel Bove’s novella A Raskolonikov and the author of Communards: The Paris Commune of 1871 as Told by Those Who Fought for It.

CRAIG CHISHOLM is a poet and editor at Gigantic Sequins. He has been a key participant in ongoing workshops on the relationship of literature to revolutionary movements and has just completed a summer of reviewing literary works as they related to World War I.

RICHARD GREEMAN is a Marxist scholar long active in environmental and labor struggles, splits his time between France and New York City. He is best known for his studies and translations of the novelist and revolutionary Victor Serge (1890–1947).

Suggested tuition: $95 / $125 • No one turned away for inability to pay

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