Calling All Marxists! Life After Capitalism 2004 Conference

by | Aug 27, 2004

“The protests around the Republican National Convention are shaping up to be perhaps the largest this country has ever seen. Organizers are quietly discussing the possibility of having over 1 million people converging in the streets of New York City.” That’s the message from the organizers of the Life After Capitalism 2004 Conference, a series […]

“The protests around the Republican National Convention are shaping up to be perhaps the largest this country has ever seen. Organizers are quietly discussing the possibility of having over 1 million people converging in the streets of New York City.”

That’s the message from the organizers of the Life After Capitalism 2004 Conference, a series of workshops and training sessions scheduled in New York City “a week prior to the major demonstrations” that seek “to bring together and give voice to the non-sectarian anti-capitalist left in the United States.”

The price of the kick-off session, “Beyond Bush: An Evening of Visionary Resistance,” is “$10 to $20 on a sliding scale” with “ticket discounts available for low-income groups.” Note that discounts go to low-income “groups,” not low-income individuals. Those classified by class as bourgeoisie, in short, need not apply, even if, as individuals, they’re broke.

Over three days and nights, conference attendees are treated to an array of workshops that deliver a straight dose of utopian Marxism and class warfare — “Visions for a Post-Capitalist Society,” “Class Struggle in the 21st Century,” “Participatory Economics,” “The Barter System in Argentina,” “Art and Revolution,” “Anti-Capitalist Multi-Racial Coalition Building,” “Life Beyond the Prison Economy,” etc. There’s even “Zapatismo in Your Community” for those who think it’s time to get out the ski masks and launch an anti-globalization attack on their local Starbucks.

And bring the kids. “Childcare will be provided by The Radical Teachers” at all sessions. “We are committed,” explains the Radical Teachers, “to providing a fun, creative, collective environment where children’s voices can be heard.” There’ll be no discussion with the kids about how the collective environments in China or Russia didn’t produce a lot of creativity or fun, or how the key planners at the top of the collectives slaughtered millions of their own citizens to make sure that certain voices would never be heard.

Included in the list of participating organizations are Bring The Ruckus!, Unemployed Workers Movement of La Matanza, Green Party USA, International Forum on Globalization, Colors of Resistance, Institute for Anarchist Studies, Argentinian Social Movements, The Prison Moratorium Project, California Environmental Justice Network, and Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.

You can bet that Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting never reported on why West Germany consistently outperformed East Germany by every measure, whether in terms of job creation, individual liberty, income growth, or the elimination of poverty. You can be sure too that Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting never fairly or accurately reported why those tens of thousands of Cubans on rafts and inner tubes were all heading in one direction, towards capitalist Miami, and none was ever spotted paddling towards Havana.

You can also be certain that Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting never accurately reported that the more than 5,000 people who risked their lives by trying to climb over the Berlin Wall, and the nearly 200 who were shot and killed by the border guards, weren’t trying to escape from capitalism.

Those interested in attending the Life After Capitalism 2004 Conference are asked to register with the Continuing Education & Public Programs department at The Graduate Center at CUNY in New York City. CUNY, The City University of New York, as described in its promotional materials, is “the nation’s leading urban public university serving more than 400,000 students at 19 colleges in New York City.” Last year, CUNY received $2.2 billion in state support.

One would hope that someone at The Graduate Center would have enough sense to post a sentence on his office door that Henry Grady Weaver wrote in 1947 in his book The Mainspring of Human Progress: “Why did men, women and children eke out their meager existence for 6,000 years of recorded history, toiling desperately from dawn to dark, barefoot, half-naked, unwashed, unshaved, uncombed, with lousy hair, mangy skin and rotting teeth — then suddenly, in one place on earth there is an abundance of things such as rayon underwear, nylon hose, shower baths, safety razors, ice cream sodas, lipstick and permanent waves?”

Today, the average American family consumes about twice as many goods and services as families living in Weaver’s day. You’d think that one of the intellectuals at CUNY would organize a counter-conference to explain that this unparalleled march of human progress was due more to John Deere than Karl Marx.

Ralph R. Reiland is the B. Kenneth Simon professor of free enterprise at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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