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The Next Four Years: Building Our Movements in Dangerous Times
Sat December 3, 2016 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm UTC-4
Thank you for attending The Next Four Years conference or watching the livestream! Please fill out the feedback and follow up form. The livestream video can be viewed here; edited video will be posted in the next few days. We’ll convene an organizing meeting Thursday, January 12, 7pm to plan next steps.
Social and racial justice organizer; Founder of Color Lines and War Times; Co-author of “Organizing on Shifting Terrain“
Paul Robeson Ford
Union Baptist Church, Cambridge
Neighbor to Neighbor
American Friends Service Committee
Attorney; State Representative-Elect
Movement Intersections Panel
Massachusetts Moral Revival
Movement for Black Lives
Our Revolution Massachusetts
|Special video greeting|
With the election of Donald Trump, the peoples’ movements and the political revolution will face enormous challenges in the next four years. We therefore call for a post-election conference on Saturday December 3 to identify and capitalize on all opportunities for organizing open to us in an increasingly undemocratic, hawkish and xenophobic environment. “The Next Four Years: Building Our Movements in Dangerous Times” will help us to frame our issues and public messaging, to forge a common vision, to increase greater integration of our movements, and to build an action plan that will inspire and motivate more and more people to get involved.
Bernie Sanders’ campaign ignited a widespread hope that our corrupted democracy, where money and power rule, could be taken back and transformed into a society based on the welfare of all. For many of us, it was the first time our values and needs were made front and center. We were elevated and inspired by a common agenda of fairness and justice.
The campaign has helped us remember our potential power if we mobvilize ourselves and encourage others to take part. The time is now for us to think strategically and to continue to expand the political revolution. We are now faced with an unprecedented threat from the far Right, which has captured the Republican Party, and now, the White House, Congress and soon, the Supreme Court.
|8:00||Registration, Coffee, Literature Tables Open|
|9:30||Bob Wing – Keynote Address|
|2:00||Movement Intersections Panel|
If we are to realize our hope for solidarity, cooperation, justice, security and a truly democratic society we will need to build a vibrant social movement of large numbers of people. Together we will confront the obstacles to building a society that values life over death: runaway economic inequality; climate catastrophe, and war, racism and violence, at home and abroad.
The pervasive inequality in the United States is the major driver of the inherently unjust pain and unfairness that afflicts our society in the early 21st Century. It is the root cause of a range of catastrophes, including a hollowed out democracy; climate change; environmental degradation; rampant militarism, foreign military interventions and wars. The strangling impact of racism is exacerbated by economic decline for large sectors of national minorities, especially African Americans and Native Americans. African American youth are unemployed, jailed, and often brutalized at frightening levels. As we have seen in the rash of recent murders at the hands of police, these consequences are often lethal for minority communities. These murders have triggered nationwide protests, which we support.
This economic decline has also strongly impacted large parts of the white working class, leading many to support the Bernie Sanders campaign, but moving large swaths of others into reactionary and dangerous directions. To be successful, we need to address these developments.
Increasing inequality is built into the model of economic development which characterizes the global economy that rules most of the world today, and in which the USA has long played a dominant role. A hallmark of this global economy is constant expansion built on a fossil fuel energy system, dominated by wealthy fossil fuel conglomerates. These (and other military, industrial, finance) corporations end up wielding vast political power that undercuts democracy in the USA and in other nations.
The continuation of this fossil fuel system guarantees devastating climate change, the signs of which are all around us. Meanwhile, the Pentagon has been called in to secure this global fossil fuel economy and US dominance over this and other sectors of global economic systems. The wars and war preparation carried out in service of this energy empire generates vast amounts of carbon emissions, making the US military the largest source of carbon emissions in the world. The Pentagon is joined at the hip to climate injustice and to the inequality built into the global economy. We cannot address climate change or the economic inequality without opposing US military interventions and the huge defense budget that funds this war-making.
Workshops #1 (12:00 noon)
Workshops #2 (3:15 pm)
The crises that we have outlined above are inseparable and mutually reinforcing, requiring cooperation and collaboration among many diverse movements. They cannot be successfully addressed piecemeal. In order to build a truly just, secure and democratic society, we will need to build a strong grassroots movement that involves millions of new people.
We applaud the efforts of movement builders in the MOVEMENT FOR BLACK LIVES, in Bernie Sanders’ OUR REVOLUTION, Rev. Barber’s MORAL MONDAYS, and other promising efforts. We will give special importance to engaging young people and others who have been inspired by the vision of a political revolution for climate justice, good jobs at good pay, criminal justice reform, tuition-free college, campaign finance reform and housing and health care for all.
At this conference, we will make our contribution through the following steps:
1) Showcase and better integrate five campaigns that are linked, and fundamental, to an overall movement that addresses economic inequality, racial injustice, a society that is on a constant war-footing, and environmental degradation of the earth and all life. The five broad campaign areas are:
Healthy Planet/Climate Justice
Economic Justice: Jobs, Education, Housing
Social Justice: Racial, Criminal Justice, Immigrant Rights, Health Care
Peace, Peace Economy, Abolition of Nuclear Weapons
Strengthening our Democracy, including electoral movement building
2) Continue to develop a Massachusetts based movement infrastructure that allows us to act together strategically
3) Begin creating a bold common agenda that promises work, hope, dignity and real security to our families, and the possibility of handing a healthy planet on to our children
Please join us on December 3 at Simmons College in Boston!
Registration: General admission – $35 in advance, $40 at the door; Member of cosponsoring organization – $25 in advance, $30 at the door; student/low income – $10. Registration fee includes lunch, morning coffee, and reception. Register online here. Or, make check payable to Massachusetts Peace Action Education Fund, write “Next 4 Years” on the memo line, and mail to 11 Garden St., Cambridge, MA 02138.
Simmons College Main Building
Registration and coffee in Common Grounds Cafe, ground floor; plenary session in Paretsky Conference Center, 3d floor, with overflow space in room C103. Workshops on 1st, 2nd, and 3d floor; lunch in Common Grounds and in Fens Cafe.
Please take Public Transportation to Simmons if you possibly can!
Public Transportation:Take the MBTA Green Line “E” train to MFA Station, or the Orangle Link to Ruggles Station, and walk 5 minutes on Ruggles St., or take the 47 bus. Read the Simmons directions page.
Driving Directions: See the Simmons directions page.
Parking: Simmons parking garage. The first 180 people will receive the discounted rate of $18 for the day; others will be charged $30. Enter from Avenue Louis Pasteur and take white ticket; pick up yellow discount ticket at conference registration table, and pay with credit card at machine as you exit (cash is not accepted). Without the yellow ticket, the cost will be $30.
From “The Fenway” proceed past Emmanuel College on your right and take your next right onto Avenue Louis Pasteur. Follow Avenue Louis Pasteur for about 1/3 of a mile and take a left into Simmons College. Parking garage will be on your left as you proceed down the driveway.
From garage, follow signs to the “Main Campus Building”. Inside MCB walk up two half flights of stairs or take elevator to Common Grounds, where you will register.
On map below, #1 is Main Campus Building where the conference will be held; #4 is the management buiding and parking garage. Google Map
The conference will be livestreamed and video recorded. Go here to view the livestream.
Student Note-Takers will participate in workshops but we have enough people signed up already.
Sponsored by Massachusetts Peace Action Education Fund, American Friends Service Committee, and Progressive Democrats of America.
Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine
Alternatives for Community & Envrionment
Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT)
Biodiversity for a Livable Climate
Black Lives Matter Cambridge
Black Lives Matter Worcester
Boston Homeless Solidarity Committee
Boston Teachers Union
Boston’s Gates Millennium Scholars Alumni Association
Cambridge Residents Alliance
Clean Water Action
Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES)
Common Good Capitalism Movement
Community Change Inc
Corporate Accountability International
Democratic Socialists of America
Dorchester People for Peace
Freedom Road Socialist Organization
Friends Meeting at Cambridge – Peace and Social Concerns Committee
Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility
Greenpeace Feisty Doves
Jewish Voice for Peace – Boston
Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants
Mass Jobs with Justice
Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition
Massachusetts Interfaith Worker Justice
Massachusetts People’s Budget Campaign
Massachusetts Social Democrats
Milton for Peace
Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts
New England War Tax Resistance
No Fracked Gas in Mass
No TPP Boston
Norfolk Lifers (Life without Parole
North Shore Coalition for Peace & Justice
Our Revolution Massachusetts (ORMA)
Poor People’s United Fund
Progressive Asset Management
Unitarian Universalist Mass Action Network
Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East – Massachusetts
United for Justice with Peace
Veterans for Peace – Samantha Smith Chapter
Veterans for Peace – Smedley Butler Brigade
Walpole Peace and Justice Group
Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice and the Environment
We the People Massachusetts
Winchester Multicultural Network
Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom – Boston Branch