SW’s syllabus to Socialism

July 2, 2018

The Socialism 2018 conference taking place this weekend in Chicago is the largest annual gathering of the revolutionary left in the U.S. — with as many as 2,000 people attending forums, activist panels and cultural events on topics ranging from the recent wave of teachers’ strikes to the revolution and counterrevolution in Syria.

The conference will be an important forum for debates among socialists about topics from how to take on gun violence to the relationship of electoral politics to class struggle — and also an incredible opportunity for radicalizing people from all corners of the country looking to immerse themselves in Marxist theory and history.

We have a question for those of you planning to attend Socialism 2018: Are you ready?

We don’t mean, have you packed your bags or figured out how you’re getting there (although, you know, take care of that). No, we mean, have you’ve figured out which of the more than 150 sessions you’re going to attend? Are you ready to participate in the discussion? Have you gotten through the reading list for the meetings?

If the answer to any of those last questions is no, don’t worry: Socialist Worker has your back. Here’s a quickie syllabus as the countdown is coming for Socialism: one SW article for every session. Oh, you’re welcome. And if you aren’t yet planning to come to the Socialism conference, it’s not too late to change your mind and register!

Thursday | 1 p.m.

Mukund Rathi on Marxism and Law
“Protecting the right to take away workers’ rights” | Mukund Rathi

Hannah Utain-Evans on Sexual Relations and the Class Struggle: The Politics of Alexandra Kollontai
“The women’s question” | Alexandra Kollontai

Phil Gasper on The Fallacies of “Scientific” Racism: From Thomas Jefferson to the Alt-Right
“Making science serve the people” | Eugene Dardenne

Leela Yellesetty on Karl Marx: From Extreme Democrat to Revolutionary
“How Marx became a Marxist in five easy steps” | Todd Chretien

In line to contribute to the discussion at Socialism 2016
In line to contribute to the discussion at Socialism 2016 (Josh On | SW)

Alpana Mehta on From Manifest Destiny to the War on Terror: The Forging of American Empire
“A Manifest Destiny massacre” | Brian Ward

Cami Q on Lenin’s State and Revolution
“State and revolution” | Shaun Harkin

Coco Smyth on The Portuguese Revolution
“The hope of Portugal’s revolution” | Chris Harman

Thursday | 3 p.m.

Boots Riley and James Schamus on A Discussion of Film, Art and Organizing with Boots Riley and James Schamus
“Boots’ rhyme and reason” | Alexander Billet

Haley Pessin on “I’m Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired”: The Radical Legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer
“When the whole world was watching Mississippi” | Marlene Martin

Haley Swenson on Marxism and Intersectionality
“A Marxist case for intersectionality” | Sharon Smith

David Whitehouse and Diana Macasa on Empire and Resistance: Korea’s Hidden History
“Trump’s bluff, bluster and bombast in Singapore” | David Whitehouse

Neil Loehlein on All Fall Down: The Infrastructure Crisis in the United States
“An infrastructure plan to boost profits” | Neil Loehlein

Geoff Bailey on Students for a Democratic Society and the Student Revolt
“The spark that lit the 1960s campus revolt” | Interview: Joel Geier

Lance Selfa on Was Antonio Gramsci a Reformist?
“Would Gramsci be #WithHer?” | Todd Chretien

Dorian B on Chile 1973 and the Parliamentary Road to Socialism
“How I learned about September 11” | Orlando Sepúlveda

Kristen Sheets on Economics of the Madhouse: Capitalism’s Booms and Slumps Cycle
“Global slump and the new normal” | Interview: David McNally

Thursday | 7:30 p.m.

Denise Romero on A World Without Borders? Marxism, Nations, and Migration
“The Coward-in-Chief’s cruel war on migrants” | Danny Katch

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz on Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment
“Refusing to accept s society steeped in violence” | Alex MacMillan and Danny Katch

Eric Kerl on Organize Your Own? White People and the Fight Against Racism
“Recipe for a red-state revolt” | Eric Kerl

Anand Gopal on Revolution and Imperialism in the Middle East: Eyewitness to the Syrian Uprising
“Does the U.S. want regime change in Syria?” | Interview: Anand Gopal

Paul D’Amato on What Kind of Party Do We Need?
“Organizing for the battles ahead” | Paul D’Amato

SW-sponsored meeting
Nicole Colson on Poverty, Pain, and Pill Mills: Social Crisis and America’s Opioid Epidemic
“Will the real opioid pushers ever be punished?” | Nicole Colson

Friday | 9:30 a.m.

Jesse Hagopian on Black Lives Matter at School
“A lesson in how to fight for Black lives” | Danny Katch

Sherry Wolf on Prelude to Revolution: May ‘68 in France
“1968: Revolution reaches the heart of Europe”

Lorrie Beth Slonsky on No More “Stairs and Stares”: The Power of the Disability Rights Movement
Bringing Marxism to discussions of disability” | Keith Rosenthal

Claire Douglas on Marxism, Exploitation and Oppression
“Can the working class unite?” | Jen Roesch

Dennis Kosuth on China: From Colonial Subject to World Power
“A ‘new era’ for China?” | Charlie Hore

Behzad Tehrani on Iran’s Unfinished Revolution
“Why the left has to stand with Iran’s uprising” | Ashley Smith

Sean Larson on Socialism from Below
“The two souls of socialism” | Hal Draper

Jon Van Camp on Against All Hope: Resistance During the Holocaust
“I will remember everything I have seen” | Hanna Lévy-Hass

Sasha Scott and Lindsay Caesar on Reform or Revolution: Can Technology Solve the Climate Crisis?
“Can we reach an ecological civilization?” | Chris Williams

Alex Buckingham on “Right to Work”: What It Is, Where It Came From and How to Defeat It
“The right’s “right to work” onslaught” | Joe Richard

Amelia Adams and Tim Adams on Housing Struggles and the Working Class
“The housing struggle then and now” | Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Hadas Thier on Debating Marx’s Theory of Crisis
“Karl Marx and the case of the never-ending theft” | Hadas Thier

Friday | 11:30 a.m.

Jen Roesch on From Apathy to Rebellion: What Makes Workers Fight?
“The myth of the leaders and the led” | Alan Maass

Lichi D’Amelio on Capitalism and the Gender Binary
“LGBT politics from ACT UP to Trump” | Sherry Wolf

Megan Behrent on “It Can’t Happen Here”: Dystopian Fiction and Alternate Histories in the Trump Era
"Our own terrifying Gilead" | Leela Yellesetty

Bridget Broderick on Neuroplasticity: Human Horizons and Capitalist Constraints
"People First" puts money first" | Don Lash

Rafael Bernabe on Puerto Rico in the American Century
“The crisis before the crisis in Puerto Rico” | Marcia Rivera Hernández

Brian Ward on The Rise of Red Power and the American Indian Movement
Remembering the Wounded Knee occupation | Brian Ward

Sean Petty on The Theory of the Trade Union Bureaucracy and the Rank-and-File Strategy
“Building rank-and-file power” | Paul D’Amato

Alan Maass on How the ’50s Became the ’60s: The Making of a New Left
“1968: The year that changed everything” | Alan Maass

Paul Le Blanc on The Revolutionary Ideas of Leon Trotsky
“The legacy of Leon Trotsky” | Shaun Harkin

Eva María on Did Socialism Fail in Venezuela?
“Did socialism fail in Venezuela?” | Eva María

Wael Gamal on Egypt: The Political Economy of Revolution and Counter-Revolution
“From the revolution, we learned to be united” | Interview: Mahienour el-Massry

Aaron Amaral on The Paris Commune: Reform or Revolution
“Marx’s vision of socialism” | Brian Jones

Lider Restrepo on The Fire Last Time at the Bedside: The Explosion of Struggles for Health Care Justice in the 1960s and 70s
“A health-care struggle built on solidarity” | Meagan Day, Kristen Sheets, Erica West and Emma Wilde Botta

Friday | 2 p.m.

SW-sponsored meeting
Danny Katch on A Nation under the Gun: Gun Violence and Gun Control
“How do socialists take on gun fundamentalism?” | Danny Katch

Annie Zirin on Artists Against War
“Making everything new” | Annie Zirin

Bill Mullen on Israel: Colonial-Settler State
“Israel’s 70-year history of ethnic cleansing” | Ethan Ackelsberg

Samuel Farber on Cuba in 1968
“The Cuba that Castro created” | Samuel Farber

Marlene Martin and Kevin Moore on Malcolm X and the Making of Black Revolutionaries
“Malcolm X: A revolutionary life” | Lee Sustar

Hannah Fleury on Gender and Disability
“Bringing Marxism to discussions of disability” | Keith Rosenthal

Colin Barker on Revolutionary Rehearsals of the 21st Century
Revolutionary Rehearsals at Haymarket Books | Edited by Colin Barker

Dave Peters and Amy Gaidis on With Friends Like These: The Democrats and Social Movements
“The ghost of liberal Democrats past” | Lance Selfa

Elizabeth Terzakis on Year One of the Russian Revolution
“The Russian Revolution” | SW series

Michelle Farber and Hayley Archer on Whose Clinics? Our Clinics! Defending Abortion Rights
“The lessons of our counterprotests” | Jen Roesch

Axel Fair-Schulz and Charles Peterson on Germany 1918-21: Lessons from the Lost Revolution
“Revolution in Germany” | Todd Chetien

Antonis Davanellos, Alain Savard and Genilda Sousa and on Lessons from Global Mass Struggles: Quebec, Brazil, Greece
“Greece’s radical left after SYRIZA” | Interview: Antonis Davanellos
“Quebec Solidaire sets a course for the left” | Benoit Renaud
“The shape of resistance in Brazil” | Interview: Valério Arcary

Friday | 4 p.m.

Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!: Covering the Movements Changing America
“Inside the media propaganda mill” | Nicole Colson and Alan Maass

Khury Petersen-Smith and Brian Bean on What Do Socialists Say About White Privilege?
“Fighting racism and the limits of ‘allyship’” | Khury Petersen-Smith and Brian Bean

Dave Zirin, interviewed by Barbara Smith on Jim Brown: Last Man Standing
“The athlete-activists of the ‘60s” | Dave Zirin

Zach Zill and Mark Hannan on Before the Next Hurricane Hits: Socialist Solutions to Capitalist Climate Disaster
“Climate chaos and the capitalist system” | Speech: Paul Fleckenstein

Carlos Enriquez, Kristen Kelly and Juan Miranda on All Eleven Million: The Fight for Immigrant Rights
“The Democrats caved. Now we have to act.” | Editorial

Democratic Socialists of America-sponsored meeting
Elizabeth Lalasz and Dustin Guastella on From TrumpCare to Medicare For All: The Growing Movement for Single-Payer Health Care
“What’s the next step toward Medicare for All” | Sean Petty

Jacobin-sponsored meeting
Joe Richard, Alex Press and Sean Petty on Ain’t No Trick: U.S. Labor’s Struggle to Survive
“What will it take for unions to survive Janus?” | Roundtable

Lillian Cicerchia and Ellie Hamrick on Socialism and Women’s Liberation
“Marxism, feminism and women’s liberation | Sharon Smith

Genilda Souza and Gloría Trogo on Crisis and Resistance in Brazil
“The shape of resistance in Brazil” | Interview: Valério Arcary

Hector Agredano, Luis Rangel and Josie Chávez on Politics and Resistance After 2018: The Elections in Mexico
“Will this election in Mexico be fraud-proof?” | Héctor A. Rivera

Alex Macmillan, Dayna Long and Scarlett Moore on How to Build an ISO Branch
“The socialist alternative to a world of injustice” | Danny Katch

Benoit Renault, Eva María and Neil Davidson on Quebec, Scotland, and Catalonia: The Struggle for Self-Determination
“What do we say about the national question?” | Paul D’Amato

Saturday | 9:30 a.m.

Jacobin-sponsored meeting
Meagan Day and Yoni Golijov on Who’s Afraid of Bernie Sanders?
“A socialist FAQ on Bernie Sanders and the left” | Ashley Smith and Alan Maass

SW-sponsored meeting
Elizabeth Schulte on From #MeToo to No More: How Can We End Sexual Harassment and Assault?
“What we learned when women said #MeToo” | Roundtable: Leia Petty, Jen Roesch and Elizabeth Schulte

Fred Magdoff on Capitalism vs. Agriculture
“Capitalism’s environmental crisis” | Chris Williams

Brian Jones on Slavery and Capitalism
“Slavery and the roots of racism” | Lance Selfa

Joel Geier on U.S. Imperialism under Trump
“Will Trump set off the Middle East powder keg?” | Ashley Smith

Dana Blanchard on A Haint is Stalkin’ the Mountains: West Virginia’s Turbulent History of Class Struggle
“What I learned in West Virginia” | Dana Blanchard

Demetrius Noble on Athletes in Revolt: Black Lives Matter in Sports
“Taking a knee to stand with the struggle” | Roundtable: Rory Fanning, Jesse Hagopian, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Elizabeth Terzakis and Dave Zirin

Bekah Ward on In Our Genes? Human Nature and “Evolutionary Psychology”
“Are people naturally xenophobic?” | Phil Gasper

Shaun Harkin on James Connolly at 150: A Socialist Rebel for Today
“Ireland’s Easter Rising against colonial rule” | Shaun Harkin

Destiny Gowdy and Todd St. Hill on Black Workers and the Rise of the CIO
“Blacks and the Great Depression” | Lee Sustar

Amanda Achin and Jonah Ben Avraham on Anarchism, Marxism and Authoritarianism
“Organization without authority?” | Paul D’Amato

Gilbert Achcar on Is Karl Marx Relevant to the Middle East?
"Egypt's military rulers tighten their grip" | Alan Maass

Colin Patrick on Dialectical Materialism for Activists
“Marxism and the making of history” | Paul D’Amato

Saturday | 11:30 a.m.

Jacobin-sponsored meeting
Eric Blanc and Emily Comer on Teachers on the Move: Lessons from West Virginia and Beyond
“Hearing the voices of the teachers’ rebellion” | Roundtable

Jessie Muldoon on Your Free Time Isn’t Free: Social Reproduction, Social Isolation and the Marxist Theory of Alienation
“Marxism and the fight for women’s liberation” | Sharon Smith

Stacey Sexton and Fermin Valle on Capitalism Goes to College: A People’s History of Higher Education in the U.S.
“Turning colleges into corporations” | Bill Mullen

Neil Davidson on States, Markets and Power: Revisiting the Question of Neoliberalism
“Neoliberal monstrosities” | Interview: David McNally

Paul Heideman on Class Struggle and the Color Line
“Socialism’s forgotten roots in Black America" | Brian Jones

Antonis Davanellos on Lessons of the Struggle in Greece
Greece’s radical left after SYRIZA | Interview: Antonis Davanellos

Lee Wengraf and Trevor Ngwane on Extracting Profit: Imperialism, Neoliberalism, and the New Scramble for Africa
“The U.S. war in Africa” | Lee Wengraf

Anthony Arnove on Against Prefiguration
“How do anarchists see change happening?” | Paul D’Amato

Justin Akers on Radicals in the Barrio: How Mexican Labor Radicalism Shaped U.S. History
“Mexican-Americans stand up to Jim Crow” | Justin Akers Chacón

Ronnie Almonte on King’s Last Year
The unfinished struggle” | Brian Jones

Rachel Reiser on Marxism and Ideology
“What do ideas do?” | Todd Chretien

Scott McLemee on State Capitalism in Russia: Two Analyses
“Socialism, Stalinism and Eastern Europe” | Phil Gasper

Saturday | 2 p.m.

Ashley Smith on Syria and the Left
“Anti-imperialism and the Syrian revolution” | Ashley Smith

Demita Frazier on Decolonizing Socialism: Getting Racially Organized So We Can Get Free
“A Marxist case for intersectionality” | Sharon Smith

Wayne Au on Marxism and Education
“Welcome to the education-industrial complex” | An SW contributor

Fainan Lakha and Katie Feyh on History and Politics of Trans Liberation
“An epidemic of deadly anti-trans violence” | Rachel Cohen

Ibram X. Kendi on Stamped from the Beginning: The Long and Enduring History of Racist Ideas in America
“Race, class and Marxism” | Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Todd Chretien on Vanguard Party, Democratic Centralism, and Workers’ Revolution
“How is Leninism relevant today?” | Paul Le Blanc

Trevor Ngwane on South Africa: How Apartheid Was Defeated
“South Africa’s new revolt against austerity” | Trevor Ngwane

Lee Sustar on From Great Recession to the Trump Boom: Ten Years after the Crash of 2008
“What’s the agenda behind Trumponomics?” | Lee Sustar

Mike Corwin on The Tragedy of the Chinese Revolution 1925-27
“Who made China’s revolution?” | Dennis Kosuth

Keith Rosenthal on Capitalism and Disability: The Theoretical Contribution of Marta Russell
“Bringing Marxism to discussions of disability” | Keith Rosenthal

Tyler Barton on Make Them Pay: The Social Cost of the Extractive Industries
“The West and ‘African corruption’” | Lee Wengraf

Ann Coleman on Lenin, Bukharin, and Imperialism
“Imperialism: The highest stage of capitalism” | Phil Gasper

Saturday | 4 p.m.

John Carlos and Wyomia Tyus in conversation with Dave Zirin and Elizabeth Terzakis on 1968-2018: Sports and Resistance, Then and Now
“The athlete-activists of the 1960s” | Dave Zirin

Monique Dols, Mercedes Martínez and Stephanie Nieves-Rios on After the Storm: The Struggle Against Disaster Capitalism in Puerto Rico
“Puerto Rico faces the neoliberal storm” | Natalia Segura

Jacobin-sponsored meeting
Ella Mahony and Jen Roesch on The Future of the Socialist Left
“Is the left saving the Democratic Party?” | Editorial

SW-sponsored meeting
Ahmed Shawki on The Origins of the International Socialist Organization
“The ISO and the soul of International Socialism” | Alan Maass and Todd Chretien

Lucy Herschel and Heather Ramirez on Trump’s War on Immigrants
“Turning families into felons” | Christopher Baum

Alex Schmaus and Emmaline Bennett on Student Struggles Today
“Radical Columbia” | Dorian Bon

Gilbert Achcar on Has the Arab Spring Lost Its Spring?
“Five years after the Arab Spring” | Gilbert Achcar

Amy Muldoon, Paul Le Blanc and Sam Farber on The Bolsheviks in Power 1917-28
“The legacy of 1917” | Alan Maass

Deepa Kumar, Sarah Jaffe, Josie Chávez, Gloría Trogo and Natalia Tylim on The Global Struggle Against the War on Women
“Resisting the backlash against women” | Leia Petty

Kip Hedges, Joe Evica, Helen Zhao and Karla Tobar on Organizing the Unorganized
“Causes of the union defeat at Nissan” | Joe Richard

Clare Fester and Steve Leigh on Marx and the Future Socialist Society
“The future socialist society” | Leela Yellesetty

Will Russell and Caitlin Sheehan on The Sleeping Giant Awakens: How Workers Can Transform Society
“Can the working class still change the world?” | Kyle Brown

Saturday | 8 p.m.

Dylan Wegela, Emily Comer, James Miller, Carla H., Larry Cagle and James Miller; moderated by Jesse Sharkey on Rank-and-File Teachers Speak: How We Organized the Rebellion
“Hearing the voices of the teachers’ rebellion” | SW roundtable

Frances Fox Piven in conversation with Sarah Jaffe on The Importance of Being Unruly
“The new challenge to inequality” | Frances Fox Piven

brian bean on Officer, Officer, Overseer: The Socialist Case Against the Police
“Can the police be reformed?” | David Whitehouse

Heather Ann Thompson on Prisoner Rebellions: From Attica to Today
“Rebellion at Attica” | Lee Wengraf

Erica West and Emily Shaw on Not for Profit? The Nonprofit Industrial Complex
“Why the NGOs won’t lead the revolution” | Leela Yellesetty

John McDonald on Caped Crusaders, Masked Vigilantes and Billion Dollar Franchises: The Political Economy of Superheroes
“A universe of its own” | John McDonald

Emma Wilde Botta and Jessica Hansen-Weaver on Capitalism and Women’s Health
“They put a price tag on women’s health“ | A midwife

Spencer Rapone in conversation with Rory Fanning on A War Resister in the Ranks
“Objecting to their wars” | Trey Kindlinger

Joseph Daher on The Kurdish Question and the Syrian Revolution
“Revolution and counterrevolution in Syria | Joseph Daher

Donna Murch on Black Liberation and 1968
“1968: When King’s murder set off the uprisings” | Khury Petersen-Smith

Sunday | 9:30 a.m.

Sumaya Awad on The Arc of Palestinian Resistance: From the First Intifada to Ahed Tamimi
“Siege and resistance in Gaza” | Interview: Toufic Haddad

Stephanie Schwartz and Corrie Westing on The politics of pregnancy
“Criminalizing pregnant women” | Interview: Lynn Paltrow

Pranav Jani on Marxism, Colonialism and Revolution
“Is Marxism Eurocentric?” | Lance Selfa

Elizabeth Wrigley-Field on CSI Is Lying to You: Junk Science in Criminal Convictions
“Killing an innocent man” | Nicole Colson

Charlie Post on The New Deal and the Failure of the “Popular Front”
“The uses and abuses of ‘unity’” | Paul D’Amato

Dana Cloud on Socialism and Queer Liberation
“Roots of the LGBT Struggle” | Elizabeth Schulte

Gillian Russom on Zetkin, Trotsky and the United Front Against Fascism
“Fascism must be defeated” | Clara Zetkin

Matt Swagler on Struggling for More Than Independence: Africa in 1968
“Trying to get Africa right” | Andy Wynne

Anna Winston on From Reconstruction to Jim Crow
“Reconstruction after the war” | Bill Mullen

Kate Seidel on Socialist Organizing in the Post-Soviet Countries
“Russian voters have choices but no alternative” | Kate Seidel

Avery Wear on TUEL: Early Communist Union Strategy and Lessons for Labor Radicals Today
“Socialists rooted in the struggle” | James Daugherty

Sunday | 11:30 a.m.

Eric Ruder on Marxists, Elections, and the State
“Marxists and elections” | Paul D’Amato

Jacobin-sponsored meeting
Jonah Birch and Paul Heideman, with Dao Tran on “Run Comrade, the Old World Is Behind You”: Lessons of 1968
“1968: A revolutionary year” | SW series

Ragina Johnson on Marxism and Native Liberation
“Solidarity with the indigenous movement” | Ragina Johnson and Brian Ward

Leia Petty on Introduction to the International Socialist Organization
“Now’s the time for socialist organization” | Danny Katch

Akua Ofori on From Slavery to the #MeToo Era: Black Women’s Struggle Against Sexual Violence
“Our side can never accept silence about abuse” | Akua Gyamerah

Larry Bradshaw on Being a Socialist at Work
“Where workers have power” | Gregg Shotwell

Everett Pelzman on What Will It Take to Defeat the Far Right?
“In defense of anti-fascism” | Paul D’Amato

Natalia Tylim on Ida B. Wells and the Crusade Against Lynching
“Ida B. Wells and the campaign against lynching” | Talk: Marlene Martin

Alessandro Tinonga on Death Squad President: Duterte, Dictatorship, and Resistance
“Duterte reaches for more power” | Alessandro Tinonga

Michael Ehrenreich on Nothing to Lose But Our Chains: The Abolitionist Movement
“The resistance to history’s enormous crime” | Alan Maass

Nate Moore on The Spanish Revolution and Civil War
“Workers’ power in Spain” | SW series: Geoff Bailey

Further Reading

From the archives