Summer Conferences of Interest to Our Movements

Ah summer! Time for conferencing, summitting and gathering for organizers, activists, and left-leaning academics. New Labor Forum has done the hard work of curating some of the more important upcoming events on our radar that we think you’ll be interested in. While attending a conference is usually a major expense, increasingly the organizers are using livestreamed video and social media to make remote, online participation a reality. All of the events listed below are also agenda-setting opportunities for their constituencies, so it’s worth following to see what  new thinking is emerging.

We’re not ranking by order of importance, and would love to see the events we missed that you think ought to be mentioned. We’ll be updating the link to this list with your suggestions here. Get ready to learn more about Left Forum, The People’s Summit, Allied Media Conference, the Labor and Working-Class History Conference, the Working-Class Studies Association Annual Conference, the National Urban League Conference, Netroots Nation, and the Personal Democracy Forum.

Left Forum. Formerly known as the Socialist Scholars Conference, this gathering of 4000 leftists has a very wide range of workshops and speakers. This year’s lineup includes Linda Sarsour, Molly Crabapple, Sekou Odinga, and Jeremy Scahill. Hundreds of panels and workshops over 3 days, as LF has an emphasis on ideological and movement diversity. (New York, June 2-4 leftforum.org, @LeftForum)

The People’s Summit. Now in it’s second year, this gathering of 4500 in Chicago features Bernie Sanders and the political constellation gathered behind him, including Our Revolution, National Nurses United, and Democratic Socialists of America. Prominent speakers include Bernie Sanders, Shawn King, Naomi Klein, and Nina Turner. This year’s focus is on political education workshops aimed at candidates and electoral organizers. (Chicago, June 9-11 thepeoplessummit.org, @pplsummit)

Allied Media Conference. Held every summer in Detroit, the conference brings together a vibrant and diverse community of people using media to incite change: filmmakers, radio producers, technologists, youth organizers, writers, entrepreneurs, musicians, dancers, and artists. They define “media” as anything you use to communicate with the world. Plenary speakers include Malkia Cyril, Alicia Garza, and Sterling Toles. AMC is visibly led by people of color, especially from grassroots community media and organizations. (Detroit, June 15-18 www.alliedmedia.org/amc, @AlliedMediaConf)

Labor Studies Conferences
Working-Class Studies Association Annual Conference. The WCSA 2017 conference seeks to take stock of the legacy, present, and future possibilities of the idea of “class struggle.” What does working class mean in an era of deindustrialization, precarious work, and predatory capital mobility? What new sites of working-class struggle can come to the fore with the weakening of trade unions and the erosion of the shop-floor and public space as places of working-class organization and contestation? Speakers include Michael Zweig, Maka Suarez, and Carmen Hernandez. (May 31-June 3, Indianapolis https://scholarworks.iu.edu/conferences/index.php/wcsa/WCSA17/schedConf/cfp)

2017 LAWCHA Conference: Scales of Struggle – Communities, Movements, and Global Connection. For four days, a diverse range of scholars, labor activists, teachers, artists, and labor educators will engage in a lively, probing discussion of the present moment and successes and failures of other times and places. They will consider how workers have created new forms of struggle ranging from work-based organization to social movements, from direct action to educational campaigns, from local alliances to transnational coalitions to meet these challenges. Presenters are largely from academia and include Joshua Freeman, Pablo Alverado, and Rebecca Fowler. (Seattle, June 22 – 25 lawcha.org/wordpress/annualmeeting/seattle-washington-2017, @lawcha_org)

Broad Political & Constituency Conferences
Personal Democracy Forum. This annual event ‘thinks bigger’ than many, looking at the relationship between technology, citizens, and our political system. Look forward to seeing top technologists, campaigners, hackers, government officials, journalists, opinion-makers, and academics for two days of game-changing talks, workshops, and networking opportunities – celebrating the power and potential of tech to make real change happen. Speakers include Jose Antonio Vargas, Faiz Shakir, Tufekci Zeynep and Catherine Bracy. (New York, June 8-9 pdf17.com)

National Urban League Conference. This is the largest annual civil rights conference, with an expected 20,000 thousand participants. This year’s theme is ‘Saving Our Cities.’The conference will focus on: social and economic inequality across America, improving education in disadvantaged communities, increasing jobs and job training, health and quality of life issues that threaten the lives of African Americans and other minorities, and creating quality affordable housing options (St. Louis, July 26-29 conference.iamempowered.com, @NatUrbanLeague)

Netroots Nation. For more than a decade, Netroots Nation has hosted one of the largest annual conferences for progressives, drawing nearly 3,000 attendees from around the country and beyond. Attendees include online organizers, grassroots activists and independent media makers. Some are professionals who work at advocacy organizations, progressive companies or labor unions, while others do activism in their spare time. NN is probably the most important agenda setting event for left of center Democrats and the online organizations they are active in.
(Atlanta, August 10-13, netrootsnation.org, @Netroots_Nation)