This March 18-20, the Left Forum returns to Pace for its third year in a row. The renowned conference—which each year brings together the largest gathering of left-leaning intellectuals in the United States—was originally known as the annual Socialist Scholars Conference, but has undergone more than just a change of name in recent years. Since its development in 1981, the event has become one of the largest scholarly Leftist conferences. In 2004, it changed its name to the Left Forum, which “opened up the conference further to writers, poets, political activists, union organizers, students, journalists, [artists], whose work reﬂected a desire to bring about social, political and economic progress,” says Professor Robert Salerno, PhD, who is in charge of the event. Last year, the conference drew a crowd of more than 3,500 people to Pace’s downtown campus, including noted speakers Rev. Jesse Jackson and Noam Chomsky and more than 200 participants from the University.
This year, the Forum will feature numerous panels, debates and presentations, focused around the theme of working Toward a Politics of Solidarity. “Most people on the left believe that people need to reclaim their political power,” says Salerno, “and how to do that will be some of the strategies discussed at this year’s forum.”
This year’s Forum features more speakers and panels than last year, including a number of Pace students and alumni—who will be forgoing soaking up the sun over spring break (which is taking place at the same time.) Alumna and counseling center staff member Kelly Herbert, who heads up Pace’s LGBTQA Task Force will be presenting, and alumna Ashley Marinaccio ’07, will be speaking of the power of theater to bring about social change. Numerous Pace professors will also be addressing an array of issues—both social and political—and the effects these issues have around the world as will Pace students in a panel on From Silence to Solidarity: Unpacking the Silence and How to Break It.
The event opens with a plenary panel that includes world-renown journalists and advocates: best-selling author and columnist Barbara Ehrenreich; Cornel West, an advocate for social change and racial justice; economics editor of the BBC World News, Paul Mason; and Laura Flanders, a regular contributor to MSNBC.
Learn more about the Left Forum events in last week’s issue of the Pulse.