Power of the Healthcare Wedge



Medicare for All and Working Class Consciousness

With Jenny Brown, Mark Dudzic and Christie Offenbacher

at The People’s Forum, 320 West 37th Street Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues), NYC

The working class of the United States — all those still working and all those of the class discarded, disenfranchised and deemed redundant by the capitalists — is suffering a multitude of nightmares and insecurity because the basic human right to complete healthcare is denied. Our bodies and minds have long been deemed territory to mine for profit seeking by capitalists including the health and hospital corporations, pharmaceuticals, insurance companies, financiers, and numerous other sectors.

As necessary services required by women continue to be taken away, and deaths by opioids and suicide, including children, grow larger every year, the bourgeoisie’s life expectancy extends while that of millions of working Americans declines. And now we are at a point in the US where some capitalists have laid claim to owning the DNA sequences of individuals.

Bringing together lab workers, doctors, physicians assistants, maintenance staff at hospitals, those who construct our places of treatment and recovery, mental, dental and visual health workers with the class at large, and left movement organizations — all of whom have real interests in taking on this fight — could break the lock-hold American capital has ideologically, legislatively, and juridically, and begin to open the way for further empowerment against the barbarous interests of these ruling neo-liberal capitalists. To accomplish this requires a national movement that can step up and unify us into a grand struggle. We of the MEP are just a small organization; it is the issue that is grand. We are committed to do our part through our programs to encourage dialogue, discussion and debate, and learning from each other and history, towards advancing the struggle for universal health care and movement building in the US.

Following presentations by Christie, Jenny and Mark, we can address some of the many questions facing our movement including:

  1. What are the principal opportunities and threats facing the Medicare for All movement at this time?
  2. How does our understanding of these opportunities and threats inform our work in our unions, communities and in society at large to help us realize our organizing priorities towards broadening this movement?

About the Speakers:

JENNY BROWN is a women’s liberation organizer and former editor of Labor Notes. She is co-author of the Redstockings book Women’s Liberation and National Health Care: Confronting the Myth of America. She is author of Birth Strike: The Hidden Fight over Women’s Work, forthcoming from PM Press in March. She writes, teaches, and organizes with the dues-funded feminist group National Women’s Liberation (womensliberation.org).

MARK DUDZIC has a long history in the labor movement. He has had jobs such as sanitation worker near Buffalo, NY, cannery worker in Alaska and warehouse worker and taxi driver in NYC, eventually graduation from CUNY in 1982. He became the National Organizer of the Labor Party after the death of Tony Mazzocchi in 2002. He is currently the National Coordinator for the Labor Campaign for Single Payer Healthcare.

CHRISTIE OFFENBACHER is a clinical social worker and therapist in Brooklyn. She serves on the political education committee in her branch of the NYC Democratic Socialists of America, and as a Regional Coordinator with DSA’s national Medicare for All campaign.

 

Suggested donation: $6 / $10 / $15 / sliding scale  *  No one turned away for inability to pay

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Choke Points

Logistics Workers Disrupting the Global Supply Chain
A discussion with editors Jake Alimahomed-Wilson and Immanuel Ness

Presented by The Marxist Education Project with The Left Front

An important new book from Pluto Press (plutobooks.com)

Global capitalism is always a precarious system. Relying on the steady flow of goods across the world, trans-national companies such as Wal-Mart and Amazon depend on the work of millions in docks, warehouses and logistics centers to keep goods moving. This is the global supply chain. If the chain is broken, capitalism grinds to a halt. This talk concerns the book of the same name, looking at case studies across the world to uncover a network of resistance by these workers who, despite their importance, face extreme exploitation and economic violence.

Experiencing first hand wildcat strikes, organized blockades and boycotts, the authors have explored a diverse range of organizing and related activities, from South China dockworkers to the transformation of the port of Piraeus in Greece, and from the Southern California logistics sector, to dock and logistical workers in Chile and unions in Turkey.

Join us for an evening of discussion on the potential strength our class has the ability to utilize in facing capital dominance during our period where capital has of necessity created this points that really give us the means of “choking” their power.

“This phenomenal collection is a must-read for anyone interested in the dire state of the contemporary global economy. It offers an unprecedented analysis of supply chain capitalism through case studies from around the world that are beautifully written and carefully researched.”—Deborah Cowen, University of Toronto

“Beyond analyzing logistical choke points as abstract sites for capital to route around or locations in which workers acquire untimely power, this volume takes us straight into these crucial nodes of labor struggle. Choke points in global supply chains are revealed as spaces of hazard and calculation, violence and negotiation, victory and loss, passion and organization.” —Brett Neilson, Research Professor, Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University

Jake Alimahomed-Wilson is Professor of Sociology at California State University, Long Beach. He is the author of Solidarity Forever? Race, Gender, and Unionism in the Ports of Southern California (Lexington Books, 2016) and co-author of Getting the Goods: Ports, Labor, and the Logistics Revolution (Cornell University Press, 2008).

Immanuel Ness is Professor of Political Science at City University of New York. He is author of Southern Insurgency (Pluto, 2015), Guest Workers and Resistance to U.S. Corporate Despotism (Univ. of Illinois Press, 2011), and numerous other works. He is editor of the International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Working USA: The Journal of Labor and Society.

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Tales of the 1%: The Organizer

In turn-of-the-twentieth-century Turin, an accident in a textile factory incites workers to stage a walkout, which becomes a long strike, developing into an occupation. The capitalists summon in the army. The organizer (Marcello Mastrioanni) rallies the workers, converting fear into strength through collective action.

The Organizer is a dramatically political statement from director Mario Monicelli. More commonly known for lighter films like Big Deal on Madonna Street, Monicelli created an expression of the necessity of collective action that is both gritty and entertaining. In making this period piece about a factory strike in turn-of-the-twentieth-century Turin (the rapidly industrializing Italian city that would come to be called “Italy’s Detroit”), Monicelli strove for the utmost realism, casting the film with actual workers and shooting on location in one of the area’s huge textile factories.

“I wanted to show all of that. The truth about what happens in the working world.”
—Mario Monicelli, interviewed in 2006

Discussion with the Capital Studies Organizing Task Force, workers and allies who gather frequently to study the three volumes of Marx’s Capital, in order to be concrete in our analysis of capital and to better inform the class struggles against capitalists and their collaborators.

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Manuals On Organizing, Version 1

The 21st Century Anti-Capitalist Organizing Task Force presents a reading of Assembly and No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age

How can we develop a strong anti-capitalist movement as capitalists impose a level of austerity that the working class has not experienced since the Great Depression? Over the next several terms, this reading group will read works that help explore a spectrum of theories and methods for raising class consciousness and general organizing.

We will read these books with a critical eye, looking for what we can relate to our personal experiences and what is useful in our organizing work in the struggle for socialism and against bourgeois barbarism.

We will be reading Jane McAlevey’s No Shortcuts, and Assembly by Michael Hart and Antonio Negri. The latter is the latest entry in their series of books about how to be effective during the current conjuncture and beyond.

11 sessions remain. For January 30 read the Preface and Chapter 1 of Assembly along with the Introduction to No Shortcuts. Versions 2 (April – June), and 3 (September-December) and beyond will take up other significant works.

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Reading Capital Politically Continues

5 More Sessions: July 19, 26, & August 2, 16, 23 (no class August 9)

“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of contending classes.” —Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto

For 150 years, Karl Marx’s Das Kapital has fascinated, frustrated and or confounded readers. It is most often read as a work of political economy whose aim is to understand how the capitalist economy works or even philosophically for its method (the influence of Hegel and his method continues to be debated). However Marx himself intended Capital to serve as a “weapon” in the hands of the working class. This makes Capital first and foremost a political work. But what does it mean to read Capital politically? To answer this question, this class will examine Reading Capital Politically by Harry Cleaver (the most well known American exponent of what has come to be labelled “class struggle” or “Autonomist” Marxism after the Italian “Autonomia” movement of the 1970s). For the autonomists, Marx’s maxim that class struggle is the “motor force” of history is to be taken literally and not viewed as simply some literary metaphor. But what does this mean in the real world? How does this work? And, how should we read Capital politically?

Reading for this class will include:

Reading Capital Politically by Harry Cleaver (https://libcom.org/files/cleaver-reading_capital_politically.pdf)
Capital Volume 1, Chapter 1 (https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch01.htm)
CyberMarx by Nick Dyer-Witheford Chapter 4 (on Autonomist Marxism) https://libcom.org/library/cyber-marx-nick-dyer-witheford

Dan Karan has been studying Marxism for 40 years and was a student of John Gerassi, Jean-Paul Sartre’s official biographer.

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Marxism / Leninism • Reform / Revolution • Role of a Vanguard Party

Abhinav Sinha, India (Mazdoor Bigul- “Workers Bugle”)
Immanuel Ness, Journal of Labor and Society
Jackie Di Salvo, Baruch College

Our panelists assert that the failure of the socialist movement in the US is rooted in a binary
between the opportunism of right wing reformism and ultra-leftist utopianism. As the storm
clouds of fascism grow more ominous, and right wing reformists and their social democratic allies
join forces with the Democratic Party sectarian ultra-leftists also offer no concrete vision for the
future—leading to a dead end for any practical social transformation. Anarchists and syndicalists
may document the militancy and spontaneity of the working class, but have no sense of building
class power to counter the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Today, as most political efforts are
moribund, disciplined and principled anti-capitalist socialist organization is more urgent than at
any time in the US since the 1930s. How do we develop a political organization capable of
avoiding the same traps of the past? Are communist parties inevitably social democratic and
bureaucratic? Can existing parties in the US be saved? In this panel, Marxist organizations come
together to learn from the experience in India and elsewhere. This public event is both a
workshop and a frank and sober discussion about the road ahead.

No one is turned away for inability to pay

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Working The Phones: Control and Resistance in Call Centers

An author presentation & discussion with Jamie Woodcock

Co-sponsored and hosted by Interference Archive

Call centers have become synonymous with low-paid and high stress work, dictatorial supervisors and terrifyingly precarious job contracts. However, rarely do we have access to the experience of workers in this context. For Working the Phones, Jamie Woodcock spent time working undercover in a UK call center in order to provide insights into the daily experiences of call center workers, and to understand and analyze methods of control and resistance that exist within the highly regulated environment. Call center work has become emblematic of the shift towards a post-industrial service economy, and all the issues that this produces, such as the destruction of a unionized work force, isolation and alienation, loss of agency and, ominously, the proliferation of surveillance and control which affects mental and physical well-being of the workers. The talk includes three parts: first, it makes an argument for the use of workers’ inquiry as a method to study contemporary work conditions, in this case involving an undercover activist ethnography; second, it draws on heterodox and critical Marxist theory to understand the transformation of work; third, it focuses on the challenges of resistance and organization in contemporary work through a concrete example.

Jamie Woodcock completed his PhD at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is currently a fellow at LSE. His research interests include: digital labour, technology, management, critical theory, and the sociology of work. Working the Phones: Control and Resistance in Call Centres is published by Pluto Press, further information: https://t.co/O4wr47ZGF3

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Highlights of Capital, Volume 1

A 10 Session Class and Discussion with Juliet Ucelli
Thursdays, 5:30 to 7:30 pm
February 9-April 6, 2017

Capital is the indispensable sourcebook on Marx’s method for analyzing the economy, politics and struggles. Many of us have less time to study it because, as Marx predicted, we have to work longer hours— and often more than one job—in order to survive. Fortunately, even a basic familiarity with the key concepts of Volume I offers many tools for understanding capitalism’s dynamics. With current conditions, we’ve been offering this highlights approach, breaking down key concepts and sections:

• use value, value and surplus value;
• why capitalism has needed conquest, enslavement and white supremacy;
• why capitalism drives technological innovation, overwork and unemployment and leads to ecological destruction;
• how working-class people (employed and unemployed) have historically won improvements in living and working conditions.

Participant reports and life experiences are welcome!

The course provides a basic grounding for participants to pursue further study on their own or collectively. We’ll refer to new resources such as on-line and visual aids and current articles that illustrate capitalism’s developmental tendencies, which Marx calls its laws of motion.

Juliet Ucelli has taught labor economics and class/race/gender for labor unions, and was a public high school social worker. She writes on Eurocentrism in Marxist theory, the politics of inner city public schooling and Marxist understandings of human development.

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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.

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It Spread Like Wildfire! A Celebration

A Teach-In and support meeting around capital’s new assault against university labor and how faculty and student actions secured a temporary victory.

Spread like Wildfire: Faculty Lockout, Student Walkout. An evening with Members of the LIUFF discussing their struggle and the most recent and egregious attack on Higher Education and how faculty with students have secured a temporary victory.

Join us in a discussion on the fight for academic freedom , equal pay for equal work, and the ongoing struggle of contingent faculty and the omnipresent student debt crisis.

Michael Pelias, LIU Brooklyn
Vidhya Swaminathan, LIU Brooklyn
Melissa Antinori, LIU Brooklyn
Manny Ness
and more to speak

Join The Institute for the Radical Imagination, The Marxist Education Project, Theater or The Oppressed, and other organizations and groups for a night of solidarity with the teaching faculty workers who were locked out of their jobs at Long Island University. Historically, this is the first time that capital has locked out an entire teaching body at a university.

There will be report backs from union members, students and members of the community.

Speakers and other organizational sponsors to add.

We have been one, we shall be all!

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