events at red emma's
Wednesday April 1, 2:00PM
Live on Red Emma’s Instagram (@redemmas), 2:00PM-2:45PM Eastern Time/11:00PM-11:45PM Pacific/18:00-18:45 UTC
Analysis will read the fantastic children’s book “A Is for Activist,” by Innosanto Nagara, online for kids and caretakers to enjoy! What’s it about? “A is for Activist is an ABC board book written and illustrated for the next generation of progressives: families who want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and everything else that activists believe in and fight for.” Innosanto will join us for the conversation. Let’s have some radical fun!
Innosanto Nagara http://aisforactivist.org/
Wednesday April 1, 7:00PM
Thursday April 2, 7:00PM
The story of how a national grassroots network fought a resurgence of the KKK and other fascist groups during the Reagan years, laying the groundwork for today's anti-fascist/anti-racist movements.
"Smash fascism! Read this book!"––Tom Morello, songwriter and guitarist with Rage Against the Machine
"Studying the John Brown Anti-Klan Committee will give readers an understanding of the complexity of deconstructing the weapon of white supremacy from the inside out. Thank you Hilary and James for the precision of this analysis, and the true north of this star."––adrienne maree brown, author of Pleasure Activism and Emergent Strategy
In June 1977, a group of white anti-racist activists received an alarming letter from an inmate at a New York state prison calling for help to fight the Ku Klux Klan's efforts to recruit prison staff and influence the people incarcerated. Their response was to form the first chapter of what would eventually become a powerful, nationwide grassroots network, the John Brown Anti-Klan Committee, dedicated to countering the rise of the KKK and other far-right white nationalist groups.
No Fascist USA! tells the story of that network, whose efforts throughout the 1980s––which included exposing white supremacists in public office, confronting neo-Nazis in street protests, supporting movements for self-determination, and engagement with the underground punk scene––laid the groundwork for many anti-racist efforts to emerge since. Featuring original research, interviews with former members, and a trove of graphic materials, their story offers battle-tested lessons for those on the frontlines of social justice work today.
Tuesday April 7, 7:00PM
Pecinovsky's book contains six capsule biographies of American left-wing thinkers.
Arnold Johnson: A “consistent and vigorous” defender of the Bill of Rights and the Peace Offensive
- Throughout his political career, Johnson articulated a unique defense of the Bill of Rights, a defense intimately intertwined with African American Civil Rights, peace and free speech. His activities, like those of his comrades, can easily be characterized as part of a strategic Red-Black alliance, a decades long formal and informal collaboration that brought Black luminaries and activists into the CPUSA’s Red orbit. This chapter centers Johnson’s defense of the Bill of Rights as not only a fight for the legal rights of communists but also as a fight for Civil Rights and peace, as the Party (with Johnson as head of its Peace Commission) made considerable contributions to the 1960’s peace movement. The chronology is the late 1940’s into the 1970’s.
Charlene Mitchell: Presidential politics, the National Alliance and the fight against Reaganism
- Mitchell’s 1968 presidential election campaign, the Party’s own short-comings in initiating the campaign, the emergence of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, and Mitchell’s analysis of the various movements that emerged during the early Reagan Administration are discussed in this chapter. Significant attention is given to the political context of the late 1960’s, as the youth and student upsurge, Black Power movements and feminism all coalesced to impress upon the Party a unique opportunity to present Mitchell as potentially embodying a revived Communist Party, one reflective of emerging movements. Significant attention is also given to Mitchell’s work as head of the National Alliance and her assault in 1982. The chronology is the late 1960’s into the late 1980’s.
Gus Hall: The ‘Right to Speak,’ young communists and strategic relationships
- In the early 1960’s, Hall and the CPUSA embarked on an ambitious and deliberate campaign to rebuild their hounded and depleted ranks among youth and students. Far from being marginal, communists were an essential component of the youth and student upsurge and the free speech movements of the time, initiating new and important organizational formations. In all, it is estimated that communists, like Hall, collectively spoke with at least 100,000 students during the early 1960s, as tens of thousands organized on their university and college campuses for the right to hear Reds speak. Hall saw this fight for the right to hear communists led by students as a strategic relationship, an opportunity to rebuild and replenish the Party’s ranks though the Progressive Youth Organizing Committee, the W.E.B. DuBois Clubs and the Young Workers’ Liberation League, while shifting political discourse away from war in Vietnam. The continuing work of communists among youth and students into the 2000s after Hall’s death is also briefly discussed in this chapter. The chronology is the 1960’s through the 1980’s and into the early 2000’s.
Henry Winston: Sight, Vision and Black Liberation
- Winston’s imprisonment in 1956 is placed in political and historical context as communists led an international campaign eventuating in his release. As Organizational Secretary, Winston’s late 1940’s and early 1950’s analysis of the immediate impact of the emerging Red Scare on the Party and its membership provides a new perspective on the U.S. government’s early failure at isolating Reds. This chapter also looks at Winston’s analysis of the 1960’s Black Freedom movements and tactics employed by more adventurist elements. Highlighted are some of Winston’s criticisms of the Party in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s as he continued to articulate a “three pronged” approach to organizing well into his last years. Throughout his life, Winston argued for a robust approach to Party building, an approach centered on grassroots electoral work, industrial concentration and mass struggle. To him, a wedding of these tactics generated optimal results for Party growth and influence. The chronology is the early 1960’s into the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Judith LeBlanc: Indigenous Marxism, Changing America and United for Peace & Justice
- Le Blanc’s analysis of Native American oppression, from the Occupation of Wounded Knee, through the 1980’s and into the Standing Rock movement, is discussed in this chapter. To LeBlanc, the emphasis on Native American oppression was often connected to the struggle for workers’ rights to form and join unions and to protect the environment – a call decades ahead of its time. This chapter also focuses on LeBlanc’s role in the Party’s public access TV show, Changing America, a unique attempt by communists to reach into the then emerging demand for independent media. Throughout the early 2000s LeBlanc also helped lead United For Peace & Justice (UFPJ), a nation-wide coalition dedicated to building opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The chronology is the late 1970’s into the 1980’s, 1990’s and 2000’s.
W. Alphaeus Hunton: The National Negro Congress, the Council on African Affairs and Black Liberation
Thursday April 9, 7:00PM
Distinguished historian Ellen Carol DuBois explores the links of the woman suffrage movement to the abolition of slavery. After the Civil War, Congress granted freed African American men the right to vote but not white and African American women, a crushing disappointment. DuBois shows how suffrage leaders persevered through the Jim Crow years into the reform era of Progressivism. She introduces new champions Carrie Chapman Catt and Alice Paul, who brought the fight into the 20th century, and she shows how African American women, led by Ida B. Wells-Barnett, demanded voting rights even as white suffragists ignored them.
Suffrage: Women’s Long Battle for the Vote is sure to become the authoritative account of one of the great episodes in the history of American democracy.
Saturday April 11, 7:00PM
Hey everyone—in partnership with Verso Books and The Democracy Collaborative, we are moving forward with this event online! Join us virtually by registering here — we'll be sharing the recipe for our truly excellent Green New Deal cocktail on Instagram in advance of the event so we can all convene as originally scheduled, and raise an alcoholic/nonalcoholic glass together as we hear from Daniel and Thea about how we fight for the planet in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis.
Planet to Win explores the political potential and concrete first steps
of a Green New Deal. It calls for dismantling the fossil fuel industry,
building beautiful landscapes of renewable energy, and guaranteeing
climate-friendly work, no-carbon housing, and free public transit. And
it shows how a Green New Deal in the United States can strengthen
climate justice movements worldwide.
In the twenty-first century, all politics are climate politics. The age of climate gradualism is over, as unprecedented disasters are exacerbated by inequalities of race and class. We need profound, radical change. A Green New Deal can tackle the climate emergency and rampant inequality at the same time. Cutting carbon emissions while winning immediate gains for the many is the only way to build a movement strong enough to defeat big oil, big business, and the super-rich—starting right now.
We don't make politics under conditions of our own choosing, and no one would choose this crisis. But crises also present opportunities. We stand on the brink of disaster—but also at the cusp of wondrous, transformative change.
“A Planet to Win comes at the perfect moment, challenging us to find hope and build a more just world in the face of catas-trophe. The authors outline transformative solutions to the climate crisis that are economically viable and politically possible—if we organize and fight to win.”
—Varshini Prakash, Executive Director, Sunrise Movement
“The climate crisis presents an enormous, existential challenge to our species. But we don’t have time to be overwhelmed. The enormity of the task requires even bigger ideas, strategies, and tactics. In this book, some of our sharpest, most lucid voices on climate make a critical intervention in the burgeoning movement to save our planet. Read their book and join the struggle.”
—Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, author of From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation
“Urgent, clear-eyed, and energizing, this book is a powerful example of the radical collaborative thinking we desperately need to avoid climate dystopia and win a world where the many can survive and thrive.”
—Astra Taylor, Director of What Is Democracy?
“Climate change is now deadly serious; that’s why this deadly serious book is so welcome and so crucial right now. No more nibbling around the edges—it’s time to actually seize this moment.”
—Bill McKibben, author of Falter, cofounder of 350.org
“An excellent orientation to the ecological crisis we face and the Green New Deal that is the necessary start of our response. This book puts its finger right on the pulse of our moment.”
—Kim Stanley Robinson, author of New York 2140
Wednesday April 15, 7:00PM
A searing exposé of the effects of the mass incarceration crisis on families — including the 2.7 million American children who have a parent locked up
In The Shadow System, award-winning journalist Sylvia A. Harvey follows the fears, challenges, and small victories of three families struggling to live within the confines of a brutal system. In Florida, a young father tries to maintain a relationship with his daughter despite a sentence of life without parole. In Kentucky, where the opioid epidemic has led to the increased incarceration of women, many of whom are white, one mother fights for custody of her children. In Mississippi, a wife steels herself for her husband’s thirty-ninth year in prison and does her best to keep their sons close.
Through these stories, Harvey reveals a shadow system of laws and regulations enacted to dehumanize the incarcerated and profit off their families — from mandatory sentencing laws, to restrictions on prison visitation, to astronomical charges for brief phone calls.
The Shadow System is an eye-opening account of the way incarceration has impacted generations of American families; it delivers a galvanizing clarion call to fix this broken system.
"My brother was imprisoned for 30 years. I know firsthand just how devastating the impact of imprisonment is on a family. Sylvia A. Harvey's The Shadow System is an emotionally powerful and devastating analysis of how the prison system punishes and profits from families caught in its clutches. This urgent book makes us aware that some of the heaviest costs of incarceration are borne by children and families."—Michael Eric Dyson, New York Times bestselling author
Thursday April 16, 7:00PM
Advertising Shits in Your Head is a new toolkit that calls adverts what they are—a powerful means of control through manipulation—and highlights how people across the world are fighting back. Co-authors Matt Bonner and Vyvian Raoul (UK) will diagnose the problem and offer practical tips for a DIY remedy. This session and book is a call-to-arts for a generation raised on adverts which offers practical solutions and guidance on how to subvert the ads.
“Advertising Shits in Your Head provides a history of the practice (going back to the early ‘70s), alarming research and theory on the effects of the industry, advice about how to take part (including legal information) as well as several stunning case studies. This is essential reading for all who want to fight back against the ‘most powerful and sustained system of propaganda in human history.’“
—Jamie Kelsey-Fry, New Internationalist
Thursday April 23, 7:00PM
Five of the authors featured in this essay anthology discuss their work: Peter B. Levy, Say Burgin, Kristopher Burrell, Laura Warren Hill, and Crystal Moten
Did American racism originate in the liberal North? An inquiry into the system of institutionalized racism created by Northern Jim Crow.
Jim Crow was not a regional sickness, it was a national cancer. Even at the high point of twentieth century liberalism in the North, Jim Crow racism hid in plain sight. Perpetuated by colorblind arguments about “cultures of poverty,” policies focused more on black criminality than black equality. Procedures that diverted resources in education, housing, and jobs away from poor black people turned ghettos and prisons into social pandemics. Americans in the North made this history. They tried to unmake it, too.
Liberalism, rather than lighting the way to vanquish the darkness of the Jim Crow North gave racism new and complex places to hide. The twelve original essays in this anthology unveil Jim Crow’s many strange careers in the North. They accomplish two goals: first, they show how the Jim Crow North worked as a system to maintain social, economic, and political inequality in the nation’s most liberal places; and second, they chronicle how activists worked to undo the legal, economic, and social inequities born of Northern Jim Crow policies, practices, and ideas.
The book ultimately dispels the myth that the South was the birthplace of American racism, and presents a compelling argument that American racism actually originated in the North.
Wednesday April 29, 6:30PM
or watch via YouTube:
Baltimore has a long history of grassroots organizing as well as hyper-segregation and police violence. Legal scholar Garrett Power has referred to the racialized geography of Baltimore as an “apartheid city” referencing the kinds of segregation and racism found in South Africa. Baltimore’s hyper-segregated neighborhoods that are over policed and underserved provide the root causes of a divided city with an expanding murder rate, health disparities, and civil unrest.
In 2015, Baltimore exploded in anger and rage after officers in the Baltimore Police Department killed Freddie Gray, a 25-year old African American resident of West Baltimore. Gray’s spine was severed while being transported in a police vehicle, part of a longer trajectory of police brutality and violence. The rage of historic disinvestment led to the Baltimore uprisings of 2015. This panel looks at how the history of organizing has changed post-uprising and asks the following questions:
- What is the landscape of organizing in Baltimore in a post-uprising environment?
- What are the ways in which grassroots organizers and leaders have come together to advocate for investments in housing, education, and alternative forms of development?
- What are the things that keep us apart and in competition rather than solidarity?
- What are strategies for rebuilding and reinvesting in systemically disinvested and red-lined communities?
- How and in what ways can we learn from one another’s struggles and collaborate rather than compete? What are the ways in which we can build a larger movement for justice in Baltimore and cities like it in the 21st century?
- How and in what ways is COVID19 exacerbating pre-existing inequalities?
- How and in what ways will Baltimore City movements respond to the diverse needs of our most disenfranchised citizens?
- What might post-COVID19 landscape of organizing look like?